Yuvraj makes 'emotional' return
Yuvraj Singh has said his first game for India after his battle with cancer was "a big emotional moment." He bowled two overs for 14 runs, took a catch, and scored 34 runs off 26 balls in the second Twenty20 international against New Zealand in Chennai. However, Yuvraj was dismissed in the final over of the chase and India lost by one run.
"There are mixed emotions," Yuvraj said after the game. "We lost a game that we should have won, but for me personally it was a big emotional moment to get on the field. I had tears in my eyes when we were fielding, luckily the cameras did not catch it. I think I am timing the ball well and it can only get better from here."
Yuvraj's return was much awaited and he got a standing ovation from the spectators when he came in to bat at No. 4. "It was good to see Yuvraj come back and score some runs. It was a big game for him," MS Dhoni said. "I personally feel that he gives us the right kind of balance we need. He is not someone who will bowl all four overs in a T20 game, but he is a variation that I can use especially since we have to play with four specialist bowlers."
India managed 24 runs between overs 14 and 18, making a chase that appeared in control slip out of hand in the last two overs. Dhoni said the slowness of the pitch in the second half of the chase made it tough for the batsmen to score.
"The wicket slowed down and it was difficult to hit," Dhoni said. "It's among the bigger grounds. It was holding up and not all the balls had same bounce. In the end it became quite difficult. But we should have won this game."
Chasing New Zealand's 167, India were boosted by a quick start from Virat Kohli, who opened in Virender Sehwag's absence. Kohli's 41-ball 70 included seven fours and a six, and he was well supported by Suresh Raina and Yuvraj. Sixteen runs came off the 13th over, but Kohli's wicket in the next dried up the boundaries for India.
Dhoni, who scored 22 off 23 balls, said the team was worried about the nature of the wicket towards the end of the match. "After the 10th or 12th over, it got tough. Had it remained the way it was in the first half, we would have fancied our chances."
However, Dhoni expressed satisfaction with the form of India's top-order batsmen and said it bode well ahead of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. "Virat gave us a very good start. After that, Raina and Yuvraj also batted really well. It is a positive for us before the start of the World Cup. To play a few games before getting into the World Cup is very important. Two more games in Sri Lanka ... that means we will get into the groove."
India are scheduled to play two warm-up matches - against Sri Lanka and Pakistan - before their first Group A match against Afghanistan on September 19.