The first thing one is reminded of when they hear Yuvi-paaji’s name is the six sixes he thrashed off English pacer Stuart Broad’s bowling in the inaugural T20 World Cup. But in 2009 the Kings XI Punjab lynchpin added another T20 record to his name which is equally impressive.
Yuvi became the first bowler to have picked up two hat tricks in a single Indian Premier League season after castling Venugopal Rao in the Kings’ game against Deccan Chargers at Johannesburg. His other two victims included South African opening legend and fellow six-in-six club member Herschelle Gibbs and Aussie all-rounder Andrew Symonds.
"What can I say? I think I should start bowling rather than batting," the player of the match exclaimed.
It was a match both teams were hungry to win after a rickety start to their campaigns. But in the end the Kings bested their opponents by defending a modest 134 runs, courtesy some wily spin bowling by Yuvraj Singh, Piyush Chawla and Ramesh Powar. Yuvraj in particular was highly effective, forcing as many as 15 dot balls in the 24 that he bowled and not conceding a single hit to the boundary. The Chargers had no answer to his slow left arm bowling and lost a close chase by a single run.
Coming in to bat with the team struggling on 15 for 2, on a wicket where it was difficult to get after the bowling, Yuvraj stroked a brisk 20 which included 2 fours and a six, stitching a useful 26-run partnership with wicket-keeper Kumara Sangakkara for the fourth wicket. Sangakkara eventually went on to score his 50 and get the team to a respectable 134.
For a batting line up consisting of Adam Gilchrist, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Symonds and Rohit Sharma the target should have been a walk in the park. But they were taken down by Yuvraj Singh’s golden arm.
The Chargers had steadied their ship at 73 for 3 after Ramesh Powar’s double blows earlier in the innings. But it was a day Yuvraj was weaving magic with the ball. First he had Gibbs cut straight to Piyush Chawla at point in the last ball of the 12th over. At the start of his next over, he drew Andrew Symonds out of his crease with a beautiful drifter which cut across and provided Sangakkara the opportunity to stump the powerful Aussie.
Bowling for the second hat trick of his IPL career in just the span of a few matches, Yuvraj foxed Venugopal Rao with a faster one that came in instead of leaving the batsman and beating him all ends up. With three big names dismissed, the back of the Deccan Chargers’ middle order was broken giving Kings renewed fighting spirit. And once a lion tastes blood he seldom backs down.
They saw off Rohit Sharma’s late assault and Irfan Pathan bowled a brilliant last over to seal the game for his team with just one run separating the two teams, leaving the Deccan Chargers’ fans quite disappointed.
Yuvi proved he was more than just the batsman who could hit six sixes in an over. He was a game changer who could even tear oppositions apart by rolling his arm over. Bat in hand or ball, there was no escaping the Punjabi Lion when he was on the prowl.
49th match, Indian Premier League at Johannesburg, May 17 2009
Kings XI Punjab 134 for 7 (Kumara Sangakkara 56) beat
Deccan Chargers 133 for 8 (Yuvraj Singh 3-13)