Yuvraj Singh has had a poor year so far. In 2008, he had scored 568 runs in 22 ODI innings at an average of only 28.40, far below his career average of 36. He had gone past 50 three times and had failed to convert several starts. Today, however, Yuvraj shrugged off his poor form and launched a savage attack against the England bowling. His century – 138 off 78 balls – helped India post an unassailable total of 387 for 5. It was the highest ODI total in India, and the best for any team against England.
Yuvraj began his innings in the 25th over after the Indian openers had built a launch pad by adding a century partnership for the first wicket. He started slowly but steadily, scoring only 6 off his first 12 balls. Yuvraj started to accelerate by pulling Steve Harmison in the 29th over for consecutive fours before steering towards third man another boundary in the over.
However, he was hampered soon after by back spasms which forced him to call for a runner. Thereafter he had another quiet period, reaching 31 off 35 balls, before he was given the license to break free when India took the final Powerplay in the 35th over. Yuvraj responded by launching Andrew Flintoff over long-on for the first of his six sixes. He cut Harmison for a four and smashed another six over long-on in the next over and never looked back. He raced towards his century and had the chance to equal Mohammad Azharuddin's record for the fastest ODI hundred by an Indian. He was on 94 off 61 balls and needed to hit a six off his next ball to match Azharuddin. However, he turned the ball off his hips for a single and eventually reached his century off 64 balls. It was the fastest by any batsman against England.
Yuvraj trated the Rajkot crowd to 16 fours and six sixes, all of them sumptuous shots hit with flawless timing. By the time he was finished, England's chances of victory were remote.