England had posted an imposing total of 325 runs – a record for a Lord’s final. The Indian innings began well with Sehwag and Ganguly posting a 106 run partnership before departing along with Mongia, Dravid and Tendulkar within a span of 9 overs. With India struggling at 146 for 5, it was all up to Yuvraj and Kaif to restructure the innings. Together they put 121 runs off 106 balls on the board that laid the foundation for India’s victory – albeit with just a wicket in hand and 3 balls remaining!
It's not often that a batsman comes down the wicket and belts Allan Donald through mid-wicket and then kills the follow-up bouncer with a lightning pull that dents the advertising hoardings. Yuvraj did just that, blasting his way to a remarkable 62. He followed up that brilliant inning with two remarkable catches that gave Jonty Rhodes a taste of his own medicine. This effort by Yuvraj eventually proved enough to get the Indians through to the final of the Champions trophy in 2002.
It might have taken three years, but boy was it worth the wait! Yuvraj scored his first century off 99 balls, smashing 4 sixes and 9 four’s to lead India to a massive 200 run win over Bangladesh in the TVS cup. Unfortunately, circumstances saw India share the trophy with South Africa in the final, as the weather played spoilsport.
With the Cup in sight, the semi-final between rivals Pakistan and India was an explosive one to say the least. After Pakistan had posted 273 on the scoreboard, India began well though Sachin missed out on a well-deserved Century hitting a patient 98 from 145 balls. In the end though it took a brilliant partnership between Dravid - contributing 44 from 124 balls - & Yuvi – contributing 50 off 91 balls - to finally see India through.
The test between Pakistan and India came to be known for two things – Umar Gul’s brilliant bowling spell that reduced India to a mere 147 – 7 and Yuvraj Singh’s stand-alone ton in only his third test. Pakistan went on to win that match by a resounding 9 wickets but Yuvraj stood out.
2007 saw the inauguration of the first T20 World Cup. India went to that cup with an inexperienced side after drastic changes were implemented following their first round elimination from the World Cup in West Indies. A new captain, no coach, India were considered rank outsiders. In the league stage itself, India came close to being eliminated until they triumphed over Pakistan in the first ever bowl out the world witnessed. The most memorable match however, was against England in the Super 8 stage when Yuvraj scored the fastest T20 half century in just 12 balls! This of course was after he smashed Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over. India won that match and the next one against South Africa, to go on to face Australia in the semi finals. Yuvraj scored a memorable 70 off just 30 balls in that match. India went on to win that world cup when they beat Pakistan in the final. Yuvraj rounded that tournament off with the Man of the Tournament trophy.
The 2011 World Cup – touted as Tendulkar’s last World Cup, saw India emerge as favourites’ to win it. Throughout the tournament, India had some ups and downs. A win against Ireland saw Yuvraj take 5 wickets and follow it up with a brilliant half-century. In the same stage, India saw a rare but thrilling tie against England. Yuvraj scored a half-century in the next match against Netherlands as well. The loss against South Africa meant India had to win the final match against West Indies. Yuvraj’s blistering 113 comfortable saw India through to the quarterfinals against Australia. The Indians – on the back of Yuvraj’s 2/44 with the ball and 57 with the bat ended the Aussie’s 12-year reign as world champions. India followed up this performance with a victory against Pakistan in the semi’s and defeating Sri Lanka in the finals where Yuvraj picked up 2/49. His overall performance once again earned him the Man of the Tournament trophy.
The Arjuna Award is the most prestigious Sports award for an Indian Athlete. Yuvraj’s man of the tournament performance at the 2011 World Cup earned him this award in 2012.