The batsman who is among the greatest ever match winners in limited overs cricket for India, Yuvraj Singh, is now standing on the cusp of his 300th ODI match which will make him only the fifth Indian cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammad Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid to reach this milestone.
He was an enticing prospect for Indian cricket at the onset of his career only with loads of talent. He was 18-year-old when he played his first ODI innings and that too against the likes of McGrath, Lee and Gillespie at their peak without any intimidation in his batting.
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Within years he made a very significant contribution with his partnership with Mohammad Kaif which handed India the Natwest Trophy in 2002 chasing a 320 plus total which was only the start of the antics to come from this match winner. Years passed on as Yuvraj cemented his place in the team and became a match winner. His immense contributions in 2007 T20 World cup and 2011 World cup made sure of India being the champions on both the occasions.
As Yuvraj is to play his 300th ODI match, we take a look at his top ODI knocks:-
1) 139 vs Australia (Sydney, VB Series, January 2004)
Yuvraj Singh hit a rock-solid and sublime century against the mighty Aussies in the 7th match of the 2004 VB series. He stitched a brilliant partnership with VVS Laxman as India was already on the back foot with early blows from Lee and Gillespie. He continuously rotated the strike to keep the scoreboard ticking and exploded at the end of the innings as he smashed Ian Harvey for 22 runs in the penultimate over.
Although India lost the rain reduced match, it showed the world the immense talent possessed by Yuvraj Singh.
Some of VVS Laxman in there too….
2) 69 vs England (NatWest final, Lord’s Cricket Ground, 2002)
India had lost 9 One day finals prior to the Natwest series and were in deep trouble after a batting collapse in the Natwest series final which would increase their loss tally to 10. But Yuvraj Singh had some other plans. England had set a daunting target of 326 to chase for India as the big guns of India departed early leaving the team in troubling waters. Yuvraj Singh came on to the crease to score vital 69 runs and along with another young player Mohammad Kaif stitched a 121 run partnership which was crucial for India as it handed them a famous victory against England and Ganguly a chance to wave his t-shirt in delight on the balcony of the Lords cricket ground.
RPS vs MI Highlights Qualifier IPL 2017 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6lDZGioZKgdVNQX1Soy5rA India was tottering at 145/5 chasing 325 runs in 50 overs!! India chased down the highest total in a final with the help of 2 young superstars, Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh!! Amazing win and celebrations!!
3) 150 vs England (Cuttack,2017)
Yuvraj Singh was included into the ODI squad after a gap of three years on the back of his impressive performances in the domestic circuit and he marked his return to the ODI side with his career high score of 150 off 127 balls. He had reached the 3 figure mark for the first time since the 2011 world cup. He formed a brilliant partnership with Dhoni who also reached his century in the match.
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4) 84 vs Australia (ICC Knockout Trophy, Nairobi, 2000)
Yuvraj played his first ODI innings against the Aussies and played confidently without any sign of nervousness. He was no intimidated by the Aussie pace attack in his first ODI innings as his 84 took India to 265 which was a good target to defend. Australia collapsed while chasing the target as they lost by 20 runs and got eliminated from the tournament.
In this match 18 years old Yuvraj Singh not only scored 84 important runs off just 80 balls but also took a sensational catch and got Michael Bevan run out, who was the best finisher of his time.He was given the Man of the Match Award for this all-round performance in this match.
5) 103 vs South Africa (Hyderabad, 2005)
India was playing against the Proteas at Hyderabad in the first ODI of the series. They were reduced to 35/5 in the 12th over which marked the arrival of Yuvraj Singh to the crease who played a resilient, watchful and efficient innings batting till the 48th over with Irfan Pathan, Dhoni and Agarkar. India lost the match but it was one of the finest knocks Yuvraj has played for India.
6) 110 vs West Indies (Colombo, 2005)
In the phase when Yuvraj was getting the start but could not capitalise on them, he rose against the West Indies in the Indian Oil Tournament as he played a resilient innings battling fatigue and cramps in wearing batting conditions. He established a 165 run partnership along with Kaif and rescued the team from a troubling score of 51/4. Yuvraj departed after his century as West Indies failed to chase the target and India won by 7 runs.
7)107* vs Pakistan (Karachi, 2006)
Yuvraj Singh showed audacious batting skills to register his first ODI century against Pakistan in Karachi as India went on to annihilate Pakistan by 4-1 in the ODI series in their own backyard. He batted with MS Dhoni and launched a blistering counter attack on Pakistan amid which he even pulled his hamstring.