Yuvraj Singh has seen more than his share of ups and downs in cricket and life. From playing key roles in India’s world title triumphs – the World Twenty20 in 2007 and the World Cup in 2011 – to battling cancer, he has attained the highest of highs and had to fight back from the lowest of lows.
In Pepsi IPL 2015, Yuvraj hasn’t had a particularly good time with the bat. Coming in to Delhi Daredevils’ clash against Mumbai Indians on Tuesday (May 5), he had only one half-century from nine games. Yuvraj set that right with his second fifty, a knock marked by determination in the first half and flowing strokes in the second, but ultimately, even his 57 off 44 wasn’t enough to stop Mumbai clinching a five-wicket win with three balls to spare at the Wankhede Stadium.
Yuvraj, who had been strongly backed by JP Duminy before the match, shrugged off criticism about his form, pointing out that the number he batted at wasn’t conducive to big runs and saying he didn’t pay much heed to what had been said about him.
“I’ve been hitting the ball well. I was getting a few 20s but not getting 35-plus knocks. My job is to play cricket, the critics’ job is to write,” he said. “I don’t read or watch what comes out on television. I don’t have that much time in my life at the moment. I try and stick to my job.
“It’s always important to get runs for the team. But Twenty20 is a small format and is tough for batsmen batting at No. 4 and 5 to score consistently,” he pointed out. “You have to go and start hitting from the first ball. Today I got some time because we lost some wickets and I could bat till the end. It was good for me and good for the team, but the important thing is to win. If you don’t get two points, the runs are wasted.”
Yuvraj felt the twin rain breaks in Mumbai’s chase, after four overs and at 5.2 overs, worked to the home side’s advantage, but still felt that with Mumbai 40 for 4 at the second break, Delhi ought to have won the match. However, Mumbai were well served by two stands. Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu put on 60 in 10 overs, and Kieron Pollard then joined Rayudu to blast 53 unbeaten runs off just 25 balls to take the side home.
“We had them at 40 for 4, and we should have won the game from there, but we didn’t pick up wickets,” he refelected. “I think after the rain came, the dew set in and the pitch got better. There was no spin, but while we were batting there was spin and the ball was gripping. I think it worked to their advantage. No doubt they played well, but from 40 for 4, you should win games.”
Yuvraj did say that Delhi’s eventual score of 152 for 6 was slightly short of being a match-winning one. “160 was a winning target, 150 could have gone either way and that’s what happened.”
Delhi now have eight points from 10 games, and will need to win their remaining four games to have a reasonable chance at a playoff spot. “It’s going to be tough, but is not impossible,” said Yuvraj. “Last year, Kolkata Knight Riders won six or seven games in a row to qualify for the last four and then went on to win the tournament. Anything is possible in cricket.”