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Yuvraj Singh lights up T20 World Cup with six sixes in an over

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Last updated on 19 Sep 2023 | 09:40 AM
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Yuvraj Singh lights up T20 World Cup with six sixes in an over

On this day in 2007, the southpaw played one of the most extravagant T20 knocks of all time in Durban

Like Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) opener Brendon McCullum’s blistering 73-balls-158-run knock against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had made the world stand up and take notice of the extravaganza unfolding in front of them in the form of Indian Premier League (IPL), Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes against England in the 2007 T20 World Cup had a similar effect.

Both the knocks were tournament-defining in that they lent an aura and expectation to the T20 format - in the inaugural editions - that is yet to dampen even after 16 years. However, the extraordinaire of Yuvraj’s sextuple sixes lies in what was at stake - the Indian cricket team’s reputation.

Having gotten knocked out from the recently concluded 2007 ODI World Cup, the Indian team was getting criticized nationwide. Before MS Dhoni led a relatively young side to the T20 World Cup, the backlash had even extended to Indian cricketers’ effigies being burned at various places in the country. 

The team had lesser-known stars like Gautam Gambhir, RP Singh, Dinesh Karthik, and others, with the cricket-crazy nation craving for a saviour, or more precisely, a superstar in the shortest format. And while Yuvraj had been a regular in India’s playing eleven, it was at this time that he peaked.

Yuvraj would end the tournament with 148 runs at a strike rate of 194.73 with a career-defining knock on September 19, 2007. India was batting first in a Super 8 match against England, and the batting-friendly track helped their openers to start strongly.

Gambhir (58) and Virender Sehwag (68) would forge an opening stand of 136 runs to provide the perfect chance for the middle order to put the game beyond doubt in the first innings itself. The early dismissal of Robin Uthappa by Chris Tremlett had Yuvraj face more balls than he usually would, coming in at number five.

The Punjab lad was brimming with confidence and wasted no time dealing with boundaries. After sending Tremlett off for four runs in only the second ball he would face, he would go after English veteran Andrew Flintoff for two consecutive fours, which many believe was the starting point of the drama. 

A frustrated Flintoff had reportedly told Yuvraj that he would “cut his throat off”, which saw animated discussions between the players. While the umpire did intervene, Yuvraj had said, “... you see this bat in my hand? You know where I am gonna hit you with this bat?” while pointing his willow at Flintoff.

A fuming Yuvraj was seen returning to the crease to take the strike on the 19th over, with India standing at 171/3. What happened next would be a record yet to be broken in the T20Is.

A young Stuart Broad, who was a premier fast bowler even then, saw six of his deliveries getting dispatched for six sixes all over the ground - the first over cow corner, the second towards backward square leg, the third over extra cover, the fourth at backward point, and the next two over mid-wicket and mid-on respectively.

Broad would try various lengths, angles, and even changing sides to stop the onslaught, but Yuvraj was invincible. Despite England’s tremendous effort to stay in the tournament, they would lose by 18 runs and get knocked out of that World Cup.    

"I just went into slog. With two overs to go, I just thought I'd use the crease and timed it well. In England, I got hit for five sixes by Dimitri Mascarenhas, so I thought I had to take my chance," Yuvraj would put his thoughts after the match. 

The then BCCI President Sharad Pawar had gifted Yuvraj a Porsche sports car and an additional one crore rupees apart from the INR 80 lakh that every World Cup-winning Indian team player was given.

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