Durban: Yuvraj Singh did one better at Kingsmead when he hit an astonishing 12-ball half-century on Wednesday. The lefthander went berserk against a hapless Stuart Broad hitting six sixes in the penultimate over of the innings.
Yuvraj had suffered at the hands of Dimitri Mascarenhas during the Oval one-dayer earlier this month when the England allrounder smashed five sixes off the last five balls of the innings.
MoM Yuvraj was finally dismissed for 58 off 16 balls as India finished on 218 for four.
England ended on 200 for six. Vikram Solanki made 43 and Kevin Pietersen contributed 39. For India, Irfan Pathan grabbed three for 37, while Rudra Pratap Singh took two for 28.
The 18-run victory kept India in the hunt for a semi-final berth in the ICC World Twenty20.
Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir also made fifties, but all that was eclipsed by Yuvraj. There had been an altercation of sorts with Andrew Flintoff at the end of the previous over, and Yuvraj took out his ire on the white ball.
After Delhi duo Virender Sehwag (68 off 52 balls, 4x4, 3x6) and Gautam Gambhir (58 off 41 balls, 7x4, 1x6) laid the foundation with an opening stand of 136, Yuvraj’s innings put it beyond England.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni — perhaps wary of making yet another mess of a chase — decided to bat first and Sehwag and Gambhir found themselves straitjacketed with Andrew Flintoff, James Anderson and Stuart Broad bowling an impeccable line and length.
The first seven overs yielded 35 runs, and Sehwag decided he had enough.
Accordingly, Mascarenhas was greeted with a one-bounce boundary and three balls later, Sehwag thumped him over point to hit an elderly spectator for the maximum.
Chris Tremlett had an even worse start to his spell as Sehwag hard-sliced him over third man and Gambhir added salt to injury with a slash that raced to point boundary.
Paul Collingwood almost did the trick with his first delivery but Sehwag’s wild swing sent the ball spiralling before falling through Mascarenhas’s butter-fingers.
It turned out to be an expensive blunder as the right-hander sent the fourth ball soaring over point boundary and followed it up with a cover drive that went for four to bring his 38-ball fifty.
Not to be left behind, Gambhir hit Darren Maddy for successive fours and an another boundary off Tremlett earned the left-hander his 36-ball 50.
Both the openers had put on 136 runs in 14.3 overs when Tremlett struck, pegging back Sehwag’s leg stumps as the batsman moved to off to make some room for improvisation.
Gambhir joined him in the pavilion five balls later, when he repeated the scoop against Maddy to find the leg slip, having scored a boundary with the shot in the same over.
Tremlett dealt another blow by castling Robin Uthappa (six) and from 136 for no loss, India slumped to 15 for three in 16.4 overs.
Yuvraj decided to play his own game and back-to-back fours off Flintoff, followed by an exchange of words with the Englishman, gave an hint of what the lefthander was up to.
The first ball flew over mid wicket, followed by a flick that sailed over square leg. The third vanished over extra cover, fourth cleared backward point, fifth soared over mid-wicket and the sixth was smacked over mid-on to complete the over.
Flintoff eventually removed Yuvraj with the penultimate deliver of the innings but the damage was done by then and Yuvraj had done his job.