Value for money has been the abiding theme of the Indian Premier League, especially if a player fails to justify his price at the auctions. Corey Anderson, the young New Zealand sensation, has failed to fire for Mumbai Indians and the all-rounder has admitted to feeling the pressure as a big buy for the team.
None would appreciate Anderson’s plight than Yuvraj Singh. The most expensive buy of this year’s auctions, he had gone off the boil since he began IPL 7 with a fifty.
And Royal Challengers Bangalore failing as a batting unit and slipping down the points table has only kept the focus on the man after everyone was surprised by the money splurged by RCB to net him.
Thus, Sunday was about redemption for Yuvraj. The price tag of Rs 14 crore and his lack of form were weighing heavily on him. Yuvi had been working hard, practicing in the nets even on off-days for the team. But the big knock had eluded him.
The southpaw, among the cleanest hitters in international cricket, came to fore just when it looked like RCB were again headed for another below par performance.
His 38-ball 83 was about magnificent hitting (7x4, 7x6) to lift the hosts from a shaky three for 40 in the ninth over.
He found a perfect ally in AB de Villiers, the only batsman who has kept going in a faltering line-up. The South African’s whirlwind 32-ball 58 and their 132-run fourth wicket partnership in just 10.5 overs took Bangalore to a massive 191/5.
Yuvraj was not done as he rolled his golden arm over, scalping four for 35, including opener Karun Nair (56). But RR fought back brilliantly, with Steve Smith and James Faulkner counter-attack sealing victory with seven balls to spare.
Demoralised after a string of losses, Bangalore had shuffled their batting with skipper Virat Kohli opening with Chris Gayle. But the experiment failed. Kohli was out for four and Gayle was snapped up by leg-spinner Pravin Tambe for 15, thanks to a sporting gesture by the Caribbean.
He nicked Tambe but the umpire ignored the appeal and was in the process of signalling a wide when Gayle walked away.