Yuvraj Singh’s cricketing career is not short of being a typical Bollywood story. Drama, action, romance, tragedy, emotions, comebacks, setbacks, it has had everything so far. But one thing is for sure that whenever the left-hander is at the crease, we all want him to do well each time.
He is one of the crowd-favorites and that’s because of his heroics in two of the biggest triumphs of the country. The southpaw played pivotal roles in India’s historic victories in the 2007 World T20 and the 2011 ODI World Cup.
In the inaugural World T20 played in South Africa, he did something that every cricketer only dreams of. A poor 21-year-old Stuart Broad was smashed out of the park on six consecutive deliveries of an over. The incident happened on this very day – September 19, 2007, exactly 10 years back.
Let’s relive the iconic moment
It was the Super-6 match between India and England at the Kingsmead, Durban. India had lost to New Zealand in the game prior to that and hence, it was a do or die match for the MS Dhoni-led side to keep their chances alive for a place in the semi-final.
It was India who won the toss and elected to bat first. The openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir provided a ballistic start and powered the score to 136 in the 15th over. Sehwag got out for 68 and soon after his Delhi mate departed for 58. Robin Uthappa and MS Dhoni were the No.3 and No.4 batsmen respectively.
Yuvraj Singh was getting itchy in the dug-out just outside the ground. It was as if he knew he was on to something special that night and was desperate to make his way in. His wish got fulfilled when Uthappa was dismissed in the 17th over.
He got going with a powerful cover drive off Tremlett that raced off to the fence like a tracer bullet as Ravi Shastri likes to call it. Then, Andrew Flintoff got a beating as he was tonked over point and then over square leg for consecutive boundaries. In no time, Yuvraj reached 14 off 6 balls.
Flintoff’s word charged Yuvraj up
At the end of the 18th over, the score reached 171/3 and the commentators were speculating a score in the vicinity of 200. Flintoff wasn’t impressed with the hammering he received and had a few words to say to Yuvraj. The left-hander, being a Punjabi, wasn’t going to hold back and reacted to Flintoff’s rudeness.
The duo was seen exchanging a few words in the middle. Yuvraj called the pacer near him but he kept going backward. The umpire Billy Doctrove intervened and separated the two. The altercation filled the Indian batsman with anger and it was Stuart Broad who had to face the consequences.
Broad’s darkest night
The young Broad ran in to bowl the penultimate over of the innings and was smacked by Yuvraj over deep mid-wicket off the first ball. Shastri on air said, “Those few words with Flintoff just charged him up a bit.” The wrath continued and a flick of the wrist sent the ball over backward square leg for another six.
Long-off was the place where the 3rd six traveled and Shastri continued, “Yuvraj doing to Broad what Mascarenhas did to him.” Broad switched to around the wicket but it didn’t matter as a full toss outside was tonked over the point fence off the fourth ball.
The fourth six gave everyone the belief that the improbable could really happen. The fifth six over deep mid-wicket only strengthened the belief as the commentator shouted, “Fiveeeeee”. Broad’s switch to over the wicket didn’t work and he seemed clueless and there was a long meeting between him and the captain Paul Collingwood before the final ball of the over.
The only person until then to hit six sixes in an over was Herschelle Gibbs but it was in an ODI against Holland and the feat had never been done in the shortest format of the game. There was every chance that Yuvraj was going to create history in the Rainbow Nation.
As the Englishman ran in to bowl the last ball, the whole of Kingsmead and the millions watching at home were on their feet. A huge swing of the bat and the ball sailed over the deep mid-wicket boundary. The dream turned into reality. Yuvraj and Dhoni punched the gloves in delight and after a long time, the former was seen smiling.
Where there was joy in the Indian camp, there was a shock in the opposition. Yuvraj Singh had completed his half-century off just 12 balls that remains the fastest fifty ever across all formats till date. He went on to hit one more six in the next over to Flintoff and then was dismissed for 58 off 16 balls.
India ended with a massive score of 218/4 to which England fell 18 short. India went on to win the next 3 matches as well and lifted the first ever ICC World T20. But it was a tournament that would be remembered for the one of a kind performance by Yuvraj Singh.