Yuvraj Singh has been an asset to the Indian team in the shorter formats of the game. The left-handed attacking batsman starred for the national team in two successful World Cup campaigns, including the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup in 2007.
However, when it comes to the Indian Premier League, Yuvraj has, more often than not, fallen short of expectations. During the first two seasons, he played as the icon player for the Kings XI Punjab. But in the third season, he was stripped of captaincy after failing to impress.
After leaving the Punjab-side, twice he was bought for a record fee – once, by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for Rs 14 crore and then, by the Delhi Daredevils for Rs 16 crore. But on both occasions, he flattered to deceive. Finally, it seems like he has found some consistency with his new side the Sunrisers Hyderabad, with whom he won the title last year.
Overall, Yuvraj has scored 2335 runs in 108 matches at an average of 25.38 and strike rate of 130.01. Here, we take a look at five of his best knocks in the IPL.
#5 42* off 24, Kings XI Punjab v Sunrisers Hyderabad at Mohali, May 15, 2016
It was an important match for the Sunrisers Hyderabad as a win would ensure a place in the play-offs and they were facing the Kings XI Punjab in Mohali. With the Punjab side languishing at the bottom of the table, they had nothing to lose and it was always going to be tough.
Hashim Amla’s superlative knock of 96 from just 56 balls along with some inspirational power-hitting from David Miller down the order helped the Punjab side amass 179 runs on the board. Hyderabad started off well with captain David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan playing in tandem.
However, Dhawan’s run-out in the eighth over shifted the momentum slightly. When Yuvraj came to the crease after Warner got out for a well-made 52, there was still work to be done. Deepak Hooda’s dismissal in the 16th over made matters worse and Hyderabad still needed 41 runs from their last four overs.
Hadn’t it been for Yuvraj’s knock of 42 from just 24 balls, which included three boundaries and three huge sixes, Hyderabad would have been looking down the barrel. But yet again, Yuvraj had proved to be the match-winner.
#4 54 off 39 balls, Kings XI Punjab v Delhi Daredevils at Pune, Apr 15, 2015
Having lost both of their first two matches of the new season, off the last ball, the Delhi Daredevils were facing an upward task when they met the Kings XI Punjab in Pune. And more importantly, their most expensive player, Yuvraj, had failed to hit the ground running.
Punjab, buoyed by Virender Sehwag and Wriddhiman Saha, had managed to score a decent 168 off their 20 overs. Chasing 169 was never going to be easy and it wasn’t helped by the fact that Shreyas Iyer and JP Duminy, both, were dismissed early.
However, opener Mayank Agarwal and Yuvraj knitted together a 106-run partnership off 66 balls for the third wicket to pave the way for Delhi’s victory. The latter showed glimpses of his true self and played some exquisite shots. The innings included three massive sixes in four balls from Axar Patel and Anureet Singh.
When Yuvraj was finally dismissed for 54 off just 39 balls, only 10 runs were need from 10 deliveries. Despite losing Agarwal off the very next delivery, Delhi cruised to a win with one ball in hand.
#3 66* off 32 balls, Pune Warriors v Delhi Daredevils at Mumbai, Apr 17, 2011
This particular match probably saw the best of Yuvraj Singh in the IPL with both bat and ball. However, even Yuvraj’s heroics were not enough to save Pune Warriors from losing the match as none of the other players stood up.
Although Pune lost Graeme Smith and Mithun Manhas cheaply, a free-spirited Jesse Ryder gave them a dream start. By the time Ryder got out for a blistering 27-ball 60, Pune had score 98 runs in just under 10 overs. After that, it was the Yuvraj show.
The southpaw hit the bowlers all over the park, scoring freely. He got in stride after hitting Shahbaz Nadeem for a massive six and followed it up with another over long on off Irfan Pathan. However, it wasn’t until the last over that he showed his true colours.
Ashok Dinda conceded 26 runs off the last over, which included three sixes off the last three balls that plummeted the total to 187. However, it was not enough to stop Delhi from crossing the line even as Yuvraj took 4-29 in his four overs.
#2 83 off 38 balls, Royal Challengers Bangalore v Rajasthan Royals at Bengaluru, May 11, 2014
Yet another match in which despite performing brilliantly, Yuvraj ended up on the losing side. In fact, until the last six overs, it was the Yuvraj Singh show. But after that Rajasthan Royals’ Australian duo, Steve Smith and James Faulkner stole the limelight.
Rajasthan did well initially to take the wickets of Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle before they could do any damage. When Yuvraj walked out to bat, Royal Challengers Bangalore were going at under five-an-over. Eleven overs later, it had plummeted to over nine-an-over, courtesy of a 132 run partnership between Yuvraj and AB de Villiers.
Yuvraj shrugged off his poor form with an incredible display which consisted of an array of shots on his way to 38-ball 83. The innings was so destructive that it even overshadowed de Villiers’ 32-ball 58. He hit seven sixes and seven fours in his innings to help Bangalore put up 190 runs on the board.
It was the lethal combination of power and timing that made Yuvraj so destructive. He also took four wickets while giving away 35 runs in his four overs, but still, Rajasthan managed to win the match.
#1 68 off 29 balls, Royal Challengers Bangalore v Delhi Daredevils at Bengaluru, May 13, 2014
Two days after roaring back to form with a 38-ball 83, Yuvraj was at it again. This time it was the Delhi Daredevils bowlers who had to face the music. However, unlike the previous match, Bangalore managed to hold their composure and eke out a comfortable win in the end.
Bangalore did not have a particularly commendable start. In fact, at the start of the 17th over, they were reeling at 117 for four with all their big hitters, bar Yuvraj (who was on 10 off 10 balls at that time), already back in the dug-out. The onus was on Yuvraj to provide the final thrust and he did not disappoint.
The 17th over, which was bowled by leg-spinner Imran Tahir, saw 21 runs being added, including three consecutive sixes. In the next two overs, 23 more runs were added but the best was yet to come. That last over, bowled by Rahul Shukla, in fact, has the distinction of being the most expensive last over in the history of the IPL.
Yuvraj smashed four sixes, the first of which brought up his 50, to help Bangalore score 186 in the first innings. 27 runs were scored off the last over as Yuvraj finished unbeaten at 68 off just 29 balls.