Middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh hadn’t played an One Day International in England since 2007 and he had missed both the practice games in the prelude to the ICC Champions Trophy for India versus Pakistan on Sunday. And yet when he came out to bat versus Pakistan on Sunday, there were no signs of anxity or hesitation from Yuvraj. His 53 runs from 32 balls took team India from a comfortable position to a dominant place.
Captain Virat Kohli lauded Yuvraj for his innings and said that it was a game-changer. “The way Yuvi batted, it was the game-changing innings, to be honest. That gave all of us the confidence to start striking the ball well,” Kohli said in the post-match press conference.
When The Sixer King came to the crease, Opener Rohit Sharma had fallen by the wayside and Men In Blue were 192/2 in 36.5 overs putting the run rate at 5.33. By the time he walked back, Virat and Company had accumulated 93 runs more (285/3 from 46.2 overs) and lifted the run rate to 6.19. Ultimately, India scored 319/3 with Kohli (81* from 68 balls) and all-rounder Hardik Pandya (20* from 6 balls) accelerating at the death. In reply, Pakistan only saw good batting display from opener Azhar Ali while none of the other batsmen provided a strong enough challenge to India’s bowling attack. India thus ran out wins by 124 runs.
Kohli lauded Yuvraj for his access and confidence in taking on the bowlers from the word go. “The way he batted was the way only he can strike the ball. Hitting low full-tosses for fours and sixes, and even digging out yorkers for fours, was outstanding,” said Indian Skipper.
Kohli granted that it was getting increasingly difficult to settle down amid rain interruptions. With the rain delay in the 34th over, The flamboyant player Kohli was continuing to find feet by picking up singles and doubles and rotating strike. But Kohli was not getting the acceleration at the stage. “I think till 40, I was easing into the game, taking my ones and twos like I always do. I could not go for the big ones because it was tricky. We went off about four times. And we came back in, and so as a player who likes to play the long innings till the end and usually plays like that for the team, it becomes very difficult to find momentum every time you come back and all you got to do is play yourself in again,” Virat said.