Yuvraj Singh announced his retirement from all international cricket on Monday. In an international career that spanned nearly 17 years, Yuvraj established himself as arguably one of the greatest limited overs players India has ever produced. In 304 ODI matches, Yuvraj scored 8701 runs and averaged 36.55, making him India's seventh highest run-scorer in the format. He was also a more than handy spinner and was recognised as one of the best fielders in the world at his peak.
IANS takes a look at five of Yuvraj's best performances with the bat:
1. 150 off 127 balls vs England (January 19, 2017)
This was part of Yuvraj's second comeback in international cricket post his cancer treatment and the series was his first in ODIs since December 2013. Yuvraj was dismissed for 15 runs in the first match in rather unceremonious fashion. To make up for that, he multiplied that score by 10 in the second. His innings was part of an extraordinary 256-run stand with M.S. Dhoni, who also scored his first ton since stepping down as captain. Yuvraj was well into his twilight years by this point and ended up smashing his highest score in ODI cricket.
2. 57 n.o. off 65 balls vs Australia (March 24, 2011)
The 2011 World Cup was all about Yuvraj Singh. His all-round performance earned him the Man of the Tournament award and while he scored 113 against the West Indies in India's final group game, the performance against Australia in the quarter-final was a stand-out show. He first took two wickets and then his 74-run stand with Suresh Raina led India to a semi-final clash against Pakistan.
3. 69 off 63 balls vs England (July 13, 2002)
An ecstatic Mohammad Kaif and skipper Sourav Ganguly's bare chest are the instantly recoverable snapshots from the epic Natwest series final in 2002, but India would have never made it had it not been for 21-year-old Yuvraj's masterful 69 off 63 balls. India had got off to a good start chasing 326 with captain Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag putting up a 106-run opening stand. But India lost four wickets between the 15th and the 24th over and it was a 121-run stand between Kaif and Yuvraj that brought them back into the game. They still had a lot to do after Yuvraj's dismissal and Kaif rightly gets the credit for finishing the job. But that innings was one of the early signs of how dangerously effective Yuvraj can be in blunting out a bowling attack.
4. 84 off 80 balls vs Australia (October 7, 2000)
Yuvraj was the new kid on the block at the 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy that was held in Kenya and what better way to announce yourself on the international stage than taking the mighty Australians for a ride. India were reeling at 90/3 with Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid all back in the hut. Enter 18-year-old fresh-faced Yuvraj Singh. He took on the Aussie pace attack which was led by Glenn McGrath and included and young and fiery Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie. While the rest of the batting line-up crumbled around him, Yuvraj stood tall and took India's total to 265. In the Australian innings, he ran out Michael Bevan who was threatening to take the game away from India. India won by 20 runs and Yuvraj was Man of the Match.
5. 103 off 122 balls vs South Africa (November 16, 2006)
While the rest of the Indian batting line-up was being taken apart by Makhaya Ntini, Shaun Pollock and Andre Nel, Yuvraj stood strong. He came in to bat in the 5th over with Sehwag, Tendulkar and Kaif falling to the South African pacers. He was dismissed only in the 48th over, in which time he faced 122 balls and scored 103 runs, anchoring the tottering Indian innings. Yuvraj started on the front foot, looking to flatten the pacers and once help arrived in the form of Irfan Pathan, he switched to a lower gear. India went on to lose the match by five wickets with seven balls in hand, but Yuvraj's performance earned him unanimous praise.
(Rohit Mundayur can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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