India v Sri Lanka, World T20, final April 6, 2014

Yuvraj innings applies Dementor kiss to India

The driving force behind two of India's world titles had a nightmarish outing, struggling to provide the big hits or Kohli the strike

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Cullinan: Yuvraj didn't read the situation well

Harry Potter readers will be familiar with what a magical creature called a Dementor does. It sucks all happiness, all positivity, all hope from a living being. It does not stop at that. It proceeds to suck the very soul out, leaving only the body behind, practically lifeless. The latter act is called the Dementor's Kiss. Now not even the most cynical person would brand Yuvraj Singh a Dementor even in the extreme emotion of what happened tonight in Dhaka. He has given Indian cricket and its fans numerous reasons and occasions to feel happy and proud about for over a decade. His deeds in limited-overs cricket, especially in the 2011 World Cup, are the stuff of legend.

His effort of 11 off 21, however, was the Dementor's Kiss for India in the World T20 final. It wasn't only the chasm between the number of deliveries he faced and the runs he scored. It was something more critical. It sucked all the momentum from their innings and left them with a total that did register on the scoreboard, but did little else for their prospects. It was so thorough a soul-destroying operation that it sought out whatever momentum Virat Kohli was building, and killed it. This despite yet another epic from Kohli, who must have felt like screaming out in frustration every time Yuvraj failed to hand him the strike.

Twice, Yuvraj consumed half an over to bring Kohli on strike. Two sets of three balls each producing a grand total of two singles. In the 15th and 17th overs, when all batsmen are supposed to be doing in T20 is try to hit the ball out of sight. This with a charged-up, in-form, incandescent Kohli straining to get his chance at the other end.

Denying strike to a batsman in full flow can rob him of his rhythm and the zone he has worked so hard till then to build for himself.

Off the fourth ball of that 17th, Kohli charged the bowler, but could only hit it along the ground to long-on, admonishing himself as he trotted to the other end for a single. How much of that anger was directed at Yuvraj, we will never know. Kohli finds it hard to hide his disappointment even when a team-mate misfields. All we saw was that after the game ended and Yuvraj walked up from his position at deep midwicket to shake hands with team-mates and the opposition, Kohli quietly slunk away when the senior batsman came close to him.

From the man who Kohli had so much faith in that he had made his franchise owner put in the highest bid of the IPL auction for Yuvraj just over a month ago.

India were out of it, barring a miracle, by the time their innings had ended. Yuvraj had left India with little positive vibe at the break, after they had seen their decorated match-winner of years gone past struggle to the extent and for the time he did.

West Indies had been 38 for 2 after 11 overs in the 2012 World T20 final, also against Sri Lanka. From there, Marlon Samuels had catapulted them to 137 for 6. India were 65 for 2 after 11 overs in this final. From there, they managed seven runs less than what West Indies had made, after starting 27 in front. Not only does that show you how inspirational Samuels was that Colombo night, it also rams home how dispiriting Yuvraj was this Dhaka night.

In the 2013 Champions Trophy final, India had ended one short of the 130 they made tonight. But they had been given a late boost by Ravindra Jadeja, and would have drawn hope from that. Hope can be a tenuous thing to maintain, especially in an all-or-nothing clash like a final. To watch someone as experienced on the big occasion as Yuvraj scratch around for nearly half the duration of a T20 innings can be gutting for the entire side.

The delivery that Yuvraj got out to, a high full toss, he would have clobbered for six nearly every time in his glorious past. By the time he holed out, it was the penultimate over, and India had had a gigantic suction pump run over them.

They had not got too many freebies from Sri Lanka till now, and they were not getting anything for what remained of their innings. Kohli, indefatigable but helpless Kohli, turned for an impossible second run off the final ball of the innings, trying to regain something, anything for India, and getting run-out for 77 off 58. But it was too late. The Dementor's Kiss had already been delivered. Most unfortunately for India, it had come from the man who had won them the 2011 World Cup. That is what will be the hardest to digest.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • gmsj on April 10, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    Dont crucify Yuvi, yet

    Yuvi wasnt in form throughout the tournament. He was struggling in the previous 5 matches and it did need a bold but gamblign captain to send him up the order.

    Readers may recall that in last 3-4 years, whether captaining India or CSK, Dhoni had always promoted himself to two drop much to the astonishment of spectators (like 2011 WC final when Yuvi was the MoS). Dhoni had similarly done so in various crunch games of CSK in the IPL.

    I dont understand what Dhoni thought could be achieved by sending Yuvi up the order in the T20 finals when it is a known fact that Yuvi cannot belt wily spinners who bowl run denying length on a sub continent pitch. He has even struggled against Aussie spinners like Hogg in the past. When the ball is coming to the bat, theres no player like Yuvi. But stymie his free flow and u got him. Why Dhoni didnt promote himself or Raina is a million dollar question!

    Why is no one talking of the poor poor start that Rohit and Rahane gave us?

  • mohammad on April 10, 2014, 3:37 GMT

    If MSD had to take a chance to hit the ball, why the inform Raina was not sent? Did we not watch him sitting on the bench tense and watching helplessly India falling behind. It was not Yuvi's fault, wrong decision by the Captain in batting order. But Indian Fans should be happy that Kholi was dropped early in the Innings. Before blaming the out of form person , check all the events.

  • Harry on April 9, 2014, 17:17 GMT

    Clearly for all the fans and the Indian team - you should have seen this disaster coming especially after the WI game. Gayle and Samuels were chuckling to see Yuvi struggle to take a stupid single to give Rohit the strike and Raina comes in and easily gets the winning runs. Fletcher and MSD blundered by keeping Yuvi in the side for the semis and finals. They should have brought Dhawan back and pushed Rohit or Rahane to the middle order. MSD should have played at No. 4 in this tournament - he would have rotated the strike and a few blows and that adds 20-30 runs in the end. SL could not believe their luck as even with their accurate bowling they would have expected at least 150.

    Here is some advice to selectors - make Kohli T20 captain and replace Yuvi, MSD, Dhawan and Jadeja with youngsters who are athletic and play fearless cricket. 3 seperate teams for Tests, ODI and T20 and Ind will become No. 1 even if they lose initially they will improve.

  • Dummy4 on April 9, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    As Dhoni mentioned, there is no one else in the world who will be more aggrieved about this innings than Yuvi himself. Let us recollect those lovely moments he gave us in the two WC wins in 2007 and 2011. His knock in the final was not his fault. It's the Dhoni/Fletcher management style which caused this embarrassment to Yuvraj. Despite being evident to several million fans that Yuvi was struggling for form, Dhoni/Fletcher still gave him a "chance to fail". They did exactly the same mistake with Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag and Gambhir. When a player is struggling for form, its better that they're left alone to sort out their form - rather than make them fail in front of millions of fans - and finish off their career for good. Will Yuvraj's failure stop this disturbing trend?

  • Dummy4 on April 9, 2014, 15:16 GMT

    clearly the worst innings which no one has ever dreamed in worst of their dream & very sure will never will witnessed again in history of cricket,given the context of the was perfectly setup for India-conditions,opponents,performance for WC final,only some "unhoni" can defeat the Ind which unfortunately comes in form of UV.surely 1st ball duck wud hve been preferred 1000 times better by millions as compared to this the bowling was good when they cud'nt out the worst batsmen b4 21 just 21 balls,he completely thrashed both teams,both teams & millions looking shocked after the knock.. tht too comes from a player considered to be Ind's best in the format,player over 375 I'nationals over a period of 14 yrs..!!! it was more unbelievable as hitting 6 sixes in 6 balls..preferring individual over team/country cost Ind this WC.if the past records matter that much,we shud shw videos of our gr8 performncs 2 opponents based on toss,no need to play at all..!!!!

  • Dummy4 on April 9, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    We knew that he was struggling for form, only the innings against Aus was a throwback to his glory days. MSD did a mistake by not playing himself at No4 but he too had been struggling for form. But would have been better to send himself in at 4 and Raina at 5. Both of them would have given able foil to Virat. At 111 for 2 in 16 overs, the match was evenly poised and we could have got 150 from there. Instead we ended at 130 and the advantage was clearly SL at the break.

    Time waits for no one, did not wait for our fab four, did not wait for Sehwag or Zak. Came up very fast for Bhajji and Gauti whose international careers are kind of over. Yuvi has played a lot and has had a huge contribution but its time he is now replaced since its evident that his best days are over. He should however be lauded for his numerous achievements.

  • aravind on April 9, 2014, 9:25 GMT

    After so much in his life & comeback to do what you do best,but i pretty him,the selectors have lost themself & dhoni testing him @ wrong time cost the t20WC otherwise Ind the best team in the whole tour beating likes of Aus,SA.If u look cricket alone then he should have not been in the playing 11 see those drop catches,mis filed from who set fielding standards for Ind @ point,If you Put the country first then play inform team which gives the results

  • mercy on April 9, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    Of course, Dhoni or the selecting panel has to be blamed and not Yuvi for his failure. Yuvi must hv bn good those days, but his performance now leaves a lot to be desired. Anyways, team India good luck for the future games. God Bless you all!

  • Android on April 9, 2014, 4:01 GMT

    It's not just Yuvis fualt team management, non striker with him should have helped him out. this is cricket not golf and it is a team, sport....

  • kapilesh on April 9, 2014, 3:08 GMT

    Unfortunately Yuvi fans, his bad day which was just a bad day for him resulted in India losing the world cup. I think it is a pretty big price to pay for a player to have his bad day. Also it was not like we didn't see this bad day coming. No one denies his contribution in those two world cups. However Yuvraj was never a big final match player. Even in his legendary 2007 and 2011 world cup victories he didn't do anything exceptional in finals. Really a more practical approach will be nice.