Yuvraj Singh © IANS
Yuvraj Singh scored 57 off 44 balls © IANS

While the clash between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015 may have been just another match for fans overburdened with cricket, Yuvraj Singh’s 57-run knock provided them the joy they seek from one of India’s former heroes. The knock, however, also rekindled the painful memories of the ICC World T20 2014 in more than one way; the difference being this time, he was a hero for his side. Devarchit Varma explains how. IPL 2015 Points Table & Team Standings

Yuvraj Singh may not be a legend yet, but is a fighter —one who roars back every time he is pushed into a corner. Battered after countless battles on and off the cricket field, but never broken, Yuvraj continues to succeed despite all the hardships that he has faced. Perhaps this trait differentiates this Indian cricket superstar from the others, and despite some of the magic diminishing from his cricket, Yuvraj still continues to be a heartthrob for cricket fans. On Tuesday night, he once again gave a glimpse of it all. IPL 2015 Highest run-scorer: List of best batsmen in IPL 8

The left-handed batsman scored 57 off 44 balls with the help of seven boundaries and two sixes against the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium— a knock that can be termed a tad slow as per the present Twenty20 standards and the madness with which many of Yuvraj’s contemporaries play their cricket. IPL 2015 Most 6s and 4s: List of most dangerous batsmen in IPL 8

But it was an extremely crucial one, as Yuvraj dropped anchor, stayed in the middle till the end, and shepherd a mis-firing Delhi to a defendable total. Delhi Daredevils’ batting has been majorly about their openers providing strong starts and either one of JP Duminy and Yuvraj supporting in the middle, but looking at how their innings panned out on Tuesday night and Yuvraj’s role, one cannot help but recall some of his past encounters which more often than not, have ended on a bad note. IPL 2015 Leading fielders: List of Best fielders in IPL 8

Yuvarj’s innings in the final of the ICC World T20 2014 against Sri Lanka proved to be perhaps the final blow to Yuvraj which ended in his exit from the Indian national sides. As the Indian team struggled against a disciplined Sri Lankan bowling, it was up to Yuvraj and Virat Kohli to help India set a strong total. While they both gave their best in their match, Yuvraj’s persistent struggle against deliveries outside off stump — a lot of which were low full-tosses — resulted in not only severe criticism but also in his house being pelted with stones while his sister-in-law was inside.

On the day, as those around him fell after the other, Yuvraj did not look to play one of those counter-attacking innings that the world knows him for. He defended everything that Harbhajan Singh dished out, as the Mumbai spinner was on top of his performance. Yuvraj also did not look in a hurry to get runs so as to avoid Mumbai from attacking Delhi, but played an innings which displayed the maturity that he has garnered over the years. IPL 2015 Highest wicket-taker: List of best bowlers in IPL 8

The painful memories, however, were rekindled when Yuvraj failed to connect with most of the deliveries from a relatively unknown Hardik Pandya in the 16th over, who kept beating Yuvraj outside the off stump. Yuvraj never looked in control against the innocuous medium-pace. He had done well till then to hang around, but the job was not over yet. As the left-handed kept swinging and missing at deliveries outside off, one could not help but recall the similar struggle in the World T20 final, when Sri Lankans got the better of Yuvraj by troubling him persistently outside off. IPL 2015 schedule: IPL 8 match time table with venue details

But in Tuesday’s IPL 2015 match, Yuvraj came out better, at least against Malinga. He set off with two consecutive fours off Malinga in the ninth over, the villain for the Indian fans who tied up their hero in the 2014 World T20 final. Despite the struggles in the 16th over from Pandya, the Delhi batsman did not get bogged down, and slammed three consecutive fours in the next over from Malinga.

While the first two fours were good cricketing strokes, the third was the cherry on the cake. A short arm jab that did not require the batsman to go for full follow-through with the bat, and the ball ricocheted off the bat so fiercely that it would have taken the fielder along with it had any fielder came in the way. And if Mumbai thought Mitchell McClenaghan would stop Yuvraj, they were wrong Yuvraj hit a couple of sixes against the Kiwi that were reminiscent of his assault on Stuart Broad in ICC World T20 2007!

Yuvraj’s Delhi may not be able to go through to the second round of this IPL, but the magic as well as the painful memories that got rekindled on Tuesday night is something which one cannot ignore. Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015: Complete coverage

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)