India v Australia, only T20, Rajkot October 10, 2013

Yuvraj blinder overcomes chase of 202

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India 202 for 4 (Yuvraj 77*) beat Australia 201 for 7 (Finch 89, Vinay 3-26) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

In his second comeback after recovering from cancer, a leaner and fitter Yuvraj Singh was called upon to do a job he has done numerous times for India in ODIs - revive a floundering chase, with MS Dhoni for company, and only the lower order to follow. Only, this was a T20 and Yuvraj did not have the luxury of building his innings before accelerating. He duly cut out the building part, and unleashed trademark pick-up sixes and lofted drives to haul in the target of 202 with two deliveries remaining. India were facing an asking-rate of nearly 12 at 100 for 4 in the 12th over, but Yuvraj's response was so forceful, that all Dhoni needed to do was give him the strike. By the end, the partnership was 102 at exactly two runs a ball, Yuvraj's 77 off 35 showing his dominance.

Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli had all failed to kick on from starts and India's innings was in danger of going Australia's way, who had lost too many wickets in maintaining a frenetic pace of scoring, and had run out of steam at the death. Aaron Finch seemed set to carry Australia way over 200 but his exit in the 17th over for 89 off 52 helped India keep the visitors to 201, as only 29 came off the final four. India themselves needed 49 off the final four, but Yuvraj was in such flow that the big shot was always at hand.

Yuvraj first took 18 off Clint McKay in the 14th over, and then, when the pressure escalated again, carted James Faulkner for successive sixes in the 17th. The timing on the boundaries was vintage Yuvraj, as was the effortlessness and grace. George Bailey's preferred field of three men in the ring around point worked to Yuvraj's advantage, as did the fact that Australia bowled too full to him.

Dhoni did his bit, constantly scampering twos and ones as he does in ODI chases, and coming up with the crucial boundary, a typical stretch-and-club to cover, when it came down to six needed off four.

Yuvraj's cool assault meant Finch's innings, and Australia's electric start, were in vain. After being put in, Finch and debutant Nic Maddinson had kickstarted the innings with a 56-run partnership inside five overs. It was the manner in which the openers attacked the offspin of R Ashwin that stood out. The highly-rated Maddinson, 21, calmly stepped out to Ashwin's first delivery and lofted it cleanly over extra cover for four. Finch set about cutting and lofting with intent, and Ashwin's first over cost India 17.

Maddinson made 34 before missing a slog to be bowled. Vinay Kumar got both Shane Watson and George Bailey in the eighth over. Finch, meanwhile, kept battering boundaries, generating immense power and finding gaps consistently. He was swift and brutal on the cut, played the lofted drive repeatedly and when he went to cow corner, it was more timing and placement than slogging.

Glenn Maxwell showed Australia were in no mood to relent even momentarily, swinging Ashwin for three sixes in the tenth over as the score zoomed to 114 for 3 at the halfway stage of the innings. Ashwin's figures read 2-0-41-0, and Dhoni was forced to turn to Virat Kohli's mediums for a couple of costly overs.

Australia stalled after Finch clubbed a high full toss straight to Vinay. The blow split the webbing on the bowler's left hand, but did not deter him from sending down a couple of tight overs. A last-ball six from Faulkner took the score past 200, but Yuvraj hunted it down with the calm of old.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • strikeforce2003 on October 11, 2013, 18:06 GMT

    The other guy, Coulter-Nile, a name outside of a Wibur Smith book, just ain't convincing..,there's just nervous energy in this chap, no thought

  • dummy4fb on October 11, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    R Ashwin has been To complacent as instead of taking Wickets He is leaking runs i chunk, I Would Suggest Dhoni to Have a look at Amit Mishra. We Won the Match but they Still Manage to Score 201 and it Won't Be Chased Everyday as 2014 World T20 is Not So Far in Similar Conditions(Bangladesh).

  • dummy4fb on October 11, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    In Place Isanth Sharma selectors can think Abhishek Nair (If Abhishek little bit expensive, even though he can manage with bat).

  • dummy4fb on October 11, 2013, 14:43 GMT

    It's a brilliant come back by Yuvraj Singh.At first it was a nightmare for Indian bowlers but then changed to Australia as India beat the touring team by six wickets.At some time when India lost 4 wickets for 100 runs I thought the game is over and Aus won the match but Yuvraj has changed everything with his bat.With this I came to know one thing very clearly that the coming Seven ODI seires with Aus at home is going to be very tough for both the sides it's just a battle.

  • CriticAks on October 11, 2013, 14:13 GMT

    Hey guys..My comments were only based on shorter version of the game i.e. T20 and ODIs. Test Cricket is a different ball game and I agree that Ishant Sharma and Ashwin are well suited to longer version of the game.

  • ScottStevo on October 11, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer, what you must also remember is that since 01 Jan 09, India haven't fared much better in Aus! Although, I think Aus will win at least one ODI in this series when we replace some of the obscure selections from last night. Aus can't have Maxwell, Henriques, Coulter-Nile, Faulkner and Doherty in the same side - and I'm assuming (hoping) we won't. Maxwell should be replaced for Ferguson, Henriques out for Voges and Coulter-Nile for Johnson. I think that bolsters both the batting and bowling which will certainly be required if Aus are to win a few matches.

  • BrendonMC on October 11, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    I cannot understand this.Pakistan & Indian conditions ie pitch should be the same,yet Pakistan consistently produces top class bowlers.How come ,is it coaching or does it run in their genes????

  • dummy4fb on October 11, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    @CriticAks. I agree that Ishant Sharma shoukd not be in Indian team for ODIs as he cannot vary his pace or bowl yorkers but i disagree with the statement that he hasnt given a meaningful performance for a long time .He has never played well in ODIs period he is a good test cricket bowler and people only remember that but hes always leaked runs in ODIs and as far as i can recall has had only good performance in the T20 world cup against Austalia years ago and one match in the Champions trophy where basically everyone bowled well .and thats it.As for Ashwin i have felt for a long time that he is not a suitable player for ODIs .He has stopped bowling well even in IPL and his below average fieding and running between wickets makes him a liability.Someone like Bhajji who has delivered time and time again in ODIs and was playing well even when he was dropped would be more deserving or even Tambe,Amit .Again theres a difference between test cricket and ODIS.

  • dummy4fb on October 11, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    Why is Ishant Sharma having such long hair in the hot climate of India? Moreover, the long hair also blocks his vision. I would drop him unless he has short hair.

  • linguboy on October 11, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    @ Mishra is a bowler who doesn't even turn the legbreak then how come he will find a place in the playing eleven??? He may have troubled ZIM batsmen with his googlies but anybody remember Eng 2011. those who remember that tour won't even recommend Mishra. sorry. @CriticAks: For god's sake that's CLT20 is a club level tournament. Remember Nathan Counter Nile who bowled well for MIs, what's his figures yesterday???4-0-44-1. And regarding RR bowlers they were bowling on a green Jaipur track where even Stuart Binny moves the ball a long way. In One match away from home they conceded 202 runs in Delhi in the finals. And Dravid never used Indian bowlers at the death overs. Its always cooper and Faulkner at the death. Please don't post half analysed news.@TheOnlyEmperor: Ashwin concede sixes. yes, so what??? remember Stuart Broad??? 6*6s by yuvraj????By your logic Broad shouldn't be selected even in the Indian team but wait he is a regular in England team and he is the Captain of T20 team.