Yuvraj Singh has relived those six sixes in an over against Stuart Broad countless times and can showcase them with an impeccable shadow replay of those strokes.
The precursor to this epic show was his verbal duel with Andrew Flintoff. Yuvraj knows how best to retort. Let his bat do the talking.
Broad’s over would soon earn a place in cricket history. First ball bang out of the Kingsmead. Next into the stands behind square leg. Then flying over cover. Broad tries round the stumps but bowls a full toss. The result is the same, a six over point now. He slams it over midwicket to make it five in five. “I knew what he was thinking. A yorker. I was in a similar situation once,” recalls Yuvraj. Broad trembles. The crowd holds its breath. And Yuvraj explodes to send the ball soaring over midwicket.
Setting the trend
“Honestly, after the fourth six I thought it could be six in six. I had to exploit the onside. The midwicket boundary was shorter. I anticipated the yorker and was glad to receive one. It was great fun because the knock kind of set the trend for the team. We went on to beat South Africa in the next match and nothing was going to stop us from there,” Yuvraj said in a chat with Sportstar .
His 58 against England was followed by a superb 70 off 30 balls in the semifinal against Australia.
A decade has passed since that fascinating assault which put Yuvraj in the grand company of the evergreen Garry Sobers, the first to achieve the feat when batting for Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan in 1968. Malcolm Nash was the bowler who came to grief.
Play positively with freedom
“The T20 World Cup,” remembered Yuvraj, “was a wonderful journey. The team was full of youngsters. Seniors like Sachin (Tendulkar), Rahul (Dravid) and Sourav (Ganguly) had opted out. We decided to have fun and not attract needless pressure like we had in the West Indies [failing to qualify for the second stage of the ICC World Cup]. We told ourselves not to have any fear of losing and basically play positive.”
Yuvraj, 35, emphasised, “It was a crucial phase for Indian cricket. By claiming the trophy we won the faith of our fans. Cricket went on an unprecedented high from that point and set up the process that culminated with the glorious 2011 World Cup triumph in Mumbai.”
The 2007 ICC World Twenty20 was more enjoyable than the 2011 win, emphasised Yuvraj. “In 2011 we played under severe pressure. It was Sachin’s last Cup and we were all stressed out after every match. In 2007, there were little expectations from us. It worked in our favour.”
Misbah’s costly blunder
And that last over in the final when Joginder Sharma snared the dangerous Misbal-ul-Haq?
“Oh, that was unbelievable. Misbah hitting that shot when he could have slammed the ball anywhere in front. Sreesanth taking that catch was incredible too. When I saw him getting under the ball I just closed my eyes because Sree was known to drop catches. But then Sree is such an unpredictable guy. He held the catch and with that the cup.”
Yuvraj revealed Harbhajan Singh was to bowl that over. “But Bhajji said he was not confident of getting his yorkers. He told MS (Dhoni) not to take a chance with him. So MSD tossed the ball to Jogi . Thanks to Misbah we made history.”
According to Yuvraj, the “bowlers won us the tournament. We enjoyed each other’s company and the camaraderie grew with every match. Everyone just expressed himself loudly on the field. Most importantly there was no coach (like Greg Chappell) to shackle our natural flair.”
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