Six sixes keep India alive in Twenty20

Yuvraj Singh dismissed comparisons with West Indian legend Gary Sobers after his six sixes in an over kept India alive in the Twenty20 world championships.

“A lot of people tell me I bat like him (Sobers), but I’m not even halfway there,” the left-hander said. “But it’s a great feeling when people tell you that.”

Yuvraj smashed English fast bowler Stuart Broad for 36 runs in an over at the Kingsmead here on Wednesday night as India romped home by 18 runs in a match they had to win to remain in the semi-final race.

India must now beat South Africa in the last Super Eights match here on Thursday night to join the hosts and New Zealand with two wins each in group E, the three-way tie to be broken by net run-rates.

India, who enjoy a superior run-rate (0.20) to New Zealand’s 0.05, need only to beat the formidable South Africans (0.76) to clinch one of the two semi-final places from the group.

Yuvraj, toasted by millions in his cricket-mad nation, said beating South Africa in their own back yard was not an improbable dream.

“The only Twenty20 game we had played before the world championship was against South Africa in Johannesburg last year and we won that. So it is not impossible,” the Indian vice-captain said.

“If we play as well as we did against England we can win. We are positive.”

Yuvraj’s six sixes’ feat in the 19th over gave him the fastest 50 in the tournament off just 12 balls, eight deliveries less than what Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful achieved against the West Indies.

Broad’s first two balls were swung over fine leg, the third over long-off, the fourth cut over point, the fifth pulled to mid-wicket and the last into the stands at long-on.

It was only the fourth instance in top cricket that six sixes were hit in an over after Sobers and Ravi Shastri did it in first-class cricket and Herschelle Gibbs in the World Cup earlier this year.

Yuvraj revealed the fifth six was a mishit. “The first one was the longest one. Second one was, I think, square; third one was long-off; fourth was over point; fifth was a mishit over midwicket and sixth was again to long-on,” he said.

The left-hander said he thought about six sixes only after the fifth one sailed over the boundary.

“After the fourth six I thought, if I use the crease much better, I’m sure I can hit one more,” he said. “After the fifth I thought that I had to go for the sixth. It’s a great feeling.”

Yuvraj said he was reminded of the five sixes England’s Dimitri Mascarenhas hit off his bowling during the sixth one-day international at the Oval in London earlier this month.

“I got more phone calls after that over than when I get for scoring a century,” he said after being named the man of the match.

“So I decided to do something about it and luckily I got my chance today. I just went for the shots and they came off.”

Yuvraj said he felt sorry for young Broad because he understood what the bowler must have been going through.

“I know how it feels after that Oval game,” he said. “It’s a horrible feeling and Stuart is one of their main bowlers so, I feel sorry for him. He had a horrible day. It can happen to anyone.”