When the axe falls on a seasoned player, it can do more harm than good. But Yuvraj Singh, omitted from the Test side with the hosts left searching for answers coming into the Twenty20 competition, has had such a roller-coaster year, nothing seems to touch him.
On Thursday, India
seemed to lurch after skipper MS Dhoni asked a young England side to bat first. Opener Alex Hales was motoring along when the skipper turned to man who has become pretty much a regular partnership breaker in limited overs cricket.
It is unlikely that Luke Wright would need directions to the Subroto Roy stadium, considering that the all-rounder has been a part of the Pune Warriors in the Indian Premier League.
But Yuvraj played the cordial host, pointing Wright to the hut after he dismissed the England number three.
Hales and Wright were running riot, taking advantage of the short and wide stuff from the Indian attack on a flat wicket.
England were scoring at around nine an over with the loss of just Michael Lumb, reaching a solid 89 after 10 overs.
Having tried six bowlers, Dhoni was running out of ideas. That is when he threw the ball to Yuvraj. "Yuvi was brilliant, he bowled at the right pace which was crucial," Dhoni said after the victory.
In his second over, Yuvraj tempted Wright to go for a heave and he was caught at long off. Yuvraj then dismissed Hales and stand-in skipper Eoin Morgan soon after.
It applied the brakes to the English innings and slashed the run rate. "In the middle period, we failed to kick on, the positivity was lacking," a disappointed Morgan said.
Yuvraj's miserly spell restricted England to 157 for six. India made little fuss about chasing down the target, with thirteen balls to spare.
Indian innings was given the early thrust thanks to a couple of long sixes by Ajinkya Rahane but two quick wickets threatened to play spoilsport.
But Yuvraj opened the face of his bat to the first ball he faced for a boundary to third man.
Two sixes and a four off the slow left-arm spin of Danny Briggs later, he pulled Wright for a six. He was caught miscuing the next ball but had provided India a major boost which was not squandered.
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