It sounded like the old times when southpaw Yuvraj Singh, making a comeback into India’s ODI side after more than three years, spoke fondly of MS Dhoni as the former captain passed on the armband to Virat Kohli ahead of the ongoing bilateral series against England. Yuvi urged the wicketkeeper-batsman to turn back the clock by reviving the aggressive side of his game and wished to play with him like the years gone by.
And on Thursday, the duo actually rolled back the years as they propelled India to a mammoth 381 in the second ODI of the series, after finding themselves on the pitch with the score at 25 for 3. Both the veterans amassed memorable hundreds in a 256-run partnership that came off just 230 deliveries, including 36 boundaries.
Yuvraj’s 150-run masterpiece took 127 deliveries and featured 21 fours and three maximums. This was the first time since the 2011 World Cup that the 35-year-old has crossed triple digits in international cricket. During this interval, the Punjab batsman had meager returns of 371 runs from 20 innings at a disappointing average of 21.82.
In the course of this special innings, Dhoni also became the first Indian to reach 200 ODI sixes by smacking one into the top tier at Cuttack’s Barabati Stadium – an eerily similar shot to the ultimate one from the 2011 WC final in Mumbai. Interestingly, that was also the last time that the Yuvraj-Dhoni partnership scored 50 runs or more in limited-overs cricket.
India’s favourite bromance
The Yuvraj-Dhoni combination has been a treat to watch over the years as the pair have scored 3053 runs together in ODIs at a phenomenal average of 52.63. This was their 10th 100-run stand apart from 13 other occasions that they have crossed the half-century mark.
In winning causes, their records are even more remarkable. In the 40 matches that the team has won, when they have batted together (before this series), the partnership average has been 63.03 with nine 100- and 50-run stands each.
Memories over the years
Apart from the latest chapter of this bromance, Yuvraj and Dhoni have partnered to create several other fantastic memories for the fans; the most outstanding ones being against Pakistan, including the 102* in 2006, when India were standing derailed at 190 for 5. Moreover, it was MS who has on the non-striker’s end when Yuvraj smacked Stuart Broad off six consecutive sixes in South Africa during the 2007 T20 World Cup in another scintillating innings.
Other matches that remain etched in the memory include the 53-ball 102 run partnership that helped the team chase down Australia’s 202 in a 2013 T20; and the 158-run stand against Zimbabwe in 2005 when half of the team was back in the hut at under a hundred runs.
All’s well that ends well
The partnership has also had its share of trouble with reports of conflict often emerging in the media several times between 2009 and 2013. Yuvraj’s father Yograj Singh had even gone on a Twitter tirade against the Jharkhand player, blaming him for his son’s exclusion from the World Cup squad in 2015.
However, when you look up the dictionary for cricket, controversy will always pop right up. But what’s a rollercoaster without some ups and downs! And we can’t deny that we’ve had a lot of fun on this ride and hope to see some more fireworks from these two before they bid a final goodbye to the game.