Yuvraj Singh produced a brilliant all-round display as India finally brought about some cheer for their fans with a comfortable five-wicket victory over England in the first Twenty20 International in Pune on Thursday.
Yuvraj took three for 19 from his four overs to restrict England to a manageable 157 for six and then blasted 38 off 21 balls to set up an easy chase as the home team reached the target with 13 balls to spare.
After the humiliation in the Test series, Indian team saw a change in fortune in the shortest format to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
The turning point during India’s chase was the eighth over when Yuvraj launched into inexperienced left-arm spinner Danny Briggs hitting him for 18 runs which included two huge sixes over the deep mid-wicket region and a boundary.
Yuvraj also got another six in the 10th over bowled by Luke Wright before being dismissed trying to hit a fourth six.
Such was the impact of Yuvraj’s innings, the other Indian batsmen didn’t need to do anything special in order to reach the target. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina chipped in with useful contributions of 24 not out and 26 respectively. Dhoni hit Stuart Meaker for successive boundaries and then took a double to finish with flourish.
Credit should also be given to openers Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane as they helped the hosts race to 41 within the first four overs taking full advantage of the Powerplay.
While Gambhir hit three boundaries in his 16 while Rahane hit two sixes in his 19. Although they didn’t score many but they set the momentum.
The second and final T20 International will be played on Saturday.