Yuvraj makes it 50-50

SP

Such is the nature of T20 cricket that the art form of six-hitting is often taken for granted. It would even be fair to say that there is an overkill of balls being smashed into orbit in the most concise format of the game. There are some batsmen in the world, however, who still set pulses racing every time they send a cricket ball flying over the boundary ropes. Probably because they just look so natural while doing it.

There are few who can make six-hitting look easier than Yuvraj Singh. Pleasing to the eye of a supporter, and demoralising for the bowler. And with Yuvraj, it's not just the power with which he strikes them. Once he gets going, few sides in the world can stop that bat-swing. Like Pakistan found out on Friday at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera.

With India desperate to square the T20 series, Yuvraj came into his own, smashing a 36-ball 72, a knock that included six majestic sixes — each resembling a home-run. His belligerent lead act also ensured that the hosts posted a massive score of 192/5, eventually winning by 11 runs.

After two hard-fought and nerve-wracking contests, the arch-rivals drew level in a series that in many ways epitomised the symbiotic relationship between the two nations, on and off the field. One that is impulsive, combustible, buoyed with pendulum — like momentum shifts but always entertaining to the hilt. The drawn result also was a fair indicator of the closeness between the two sides in terms of the T20 format.

With both teams possessing impact-players, big-game performers even, the decisive contest was always expected to throw up a show of individual brilliance. And at Ahmedabad, it was Yuvraj who proved to be the centrepiece.

For starters, the pitch at the Motera was much in contrast to the green-tinged, bouncy, swing-friendly climes of the Chinnaswamy Stadium for the first T20. The pale, skin-coloured wicket was always expected to contain a substantial amount of runs. That seemed the case from the offset as Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane began in attacking fashion against the Pakistan new-ball attack. But just like in Bangalore, both fell in quick succession after having given India a platform.

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