19th September 2007 will go down as of the most iconic days in the history of Indian cricket. It was a landmark year for India as well, who lifted the T20 World Cup’s inaugural edition by beating arch-rivals Pakistan. It has been 13 years since that tournament, but the memories in the hearts of Indian cricket fans remain fresh as ever. The highlight of this day was Yuvraj Singh – the dashing Indian batsman who had become a national heartthrob.
India were playing against England in a Group E match of the World T20 at Durban. Captain MS Dhoni won the toss and opted to bat first. The decision turned out to be the right one as openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag got off to a blazing start. The duo put up a 136-run stand for the first wicket, leaving England’s frontline pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad fuming.
It took a little longer for England to break through, but once they did, India were suddenly 155/3 in the 17th over. Enter Yuvraj, who had to get going from the first ball with around three overs at his disposal and an able MS Dhoni at the other end. A hobbling Andrew Flintoff ran in to bowl the 18th over. The first ball he faced, Yuvraj simply took a single off the leg side. Dhoni followed suit, and the next two deliveries saw Yuvraj smashing Flintoff for consecutive boundaries.
Broad pays for Fred
An enraged Flintoff finished the over by conceding a single but was clearly not done with Yuvraj. He kept muttering a few words as Stuart Broad prepared to bowl the 19th over. Unfortunately, it was Broad who had to face the wrath of a provoked Yuvraj. In the next six balls, Yuvraj hit six sixes off Broad, each one beautiful in its own sense, and became the first batsman in T20 internationals to do so. Yuvraj’s blazing assault was also the fastest T20I fifty at the time, coming off just 12 balls. As fate would have it, Flintoff returned to bowl the final over and eventually dismissed Yuvraj on 58. But the damage to England’s chances in the game, and to Broad’s mental state, had already been done.
India were 155/3 with 20 balls left in the innings when Yuvraj Singh walked in.
They finished on 218/4 💥
— ICC (@ICC) September 19, 2020
A quiet debut for Rohit Sharma
Coincidentally, it was the same match that saw Rohit Sharma make his T20I debut. However, it was a quiet debut as the Mumbai batsman didn’t get a chance to bat. His only notable contribution was taking an important catch to dismiss the well-set England opener, Vikram Solanki.
Rohit did go on to play the next match against South Africa and registered his first T20I fifty in only his second game. His unbeaten 50 off 40 deliveries helped India put up a challenging total of 153/5 on the board. India won the match by 37 runs and Rohit was adjudged player of the match.
As of today, Rohit is one of India’s leading run-getters in T20I cricket with 2773 runs in 108 matches. He has racked up 21 half-centuries and four hundreds. No other batsman in the world has scored as many T20I centuries as Rohit.