By Sarang Bhalerao
Sep 15, 2013
Yuvraj Singh celebrated his comeback in cricket with a breathtaking 123 off 89 deliveries which helped India A power to 312 for four in the 42-over rain-curtailed encounter against West Indies A at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore on Sunday.
A late-order blitzkrieg from Yusuf — 70 off 32 deliveries (four boundaries and six sixes) helped India A score in excess of 300.
What a comeback this was from Yuvraj. Consider this: His first 20 runs came off 37 deliveries and he didn’t hit a single boundaries. Yuvraj bided his time. He was short of match practice but at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, Yuvraj was a man on a mission. He looked determined to get his eye in, looking for the singles. When he decided to break free nothing was going to stop him.
Yuvraj started his aggression courtesy of a no-ball from Miguel Cummins off the first ball of the mandatory powerplay over. Off the freehit Yuvraj pulled off a Babe Ruth and smashed him baseball style for a six over long-on. From there on it was absolute carnage.
Berserk hitting followed: Yuvraj smashed Nikita Miller for 23 runs. The short ball was dismissed over square-leg, a tossed up delivery followed — it was hit over the bowler’s head for a flat boundary. A fulltoss had “hit-me” written all over it. It was promptly dispatched over mid-wicket for a six. The next one was hit with disdain flat over mid-wicket for a six and Miller was confounded.
Yusuf Pathan took over from there. He had off-spinner Ashley Nurse under immense pressure. Yusuf was hell bent on hitting big shots. Long-on, mid-wicket and square-leg you name the area and Yusuf was hitting the ball over there. Twenty-eight runs came off that over. Ronsford Beaton was the next to suffer. Yuvraj hit him over long-off for a six to bring his 18th List A career. A couple of boundaries followed, a six over bowler’s head was a shot of pristine beauty. Twenty-four runs came off the over. India A had scored 85 from overs 35 to 38. West Indies A fielders were just going through the motions.
Yuvraj hit eight boundaries and seven sixes in his comeback innings. When the innings ended on his 89th delivery for 123 — the masterly exhibition had come to an end. West Indies A were relieved to see him go back but they appreciated the knock displaying the sporting spirit.
Yusuf brought his 16th List A half-century off 27 deliveries and imagine he played second fiddle to Yuvraj at one point.
Earlier, Mandeep Singh scored 67 off 78 deliveries and setup a solid foundation for India A after West Indies A had won the toss and decided to bowl at the overcast conditions. Unmukt Chand was dismissed for one off Cummins. He tried to cut the ball but it was a half-hearted slash. Robin Uthappa looked in fine touch. He tried to pull Andre Russell from outside off-stump. The mishit was held at square-leg.
By the end of 28 overs India A were 130 for two. The game was in the balance. What followed took the game completely away from the visitors. Yuvraj and Yusuf were responsible for the assault.
India A 312 for 4 in 42 overs (Yuvraj Singh 123, Yusuf Pathan 70*) vs West Indies A.
(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)