Yuvraj Singh was target of criticism following his poor show in the World Twenty20 final against Sri Lanka, and, many believed the seventh edition of Indian Premier League would be the ideal opportunity to redeem himself.
Vijay Mallya-owned RCB paid a whopping Rs. 14 crore to secure the left-hander's service at the IPL Players' Auction and there were question marks ahead of the tournament whether the huge price tag was justified.
But as always, the dashing all-rounder wasted little time in showing he is not finished, yet.
In the opening IPL game of Royal Challengers Bangalore, against Delhi Daredevils in Sharjah on Thursday, he came up with an unbeaten 29-ball 52 to silence his critics, at least for some time.
Yuvraj came to the crease at the fall of Parthiv Patel’s wicket in RCB’s chase of 146. He was tentative at the start, as Mohammad Shami tested him with short-pitched stuff.
However, after seeing off the initial danger, he took on the Delhi bowlers, slamming sixes and boundaries with the flair of old.
The manner in which he latched onto a short delivery from leg-spinner Rahul Sharma and sent it into the stands had the crowd asking for more.
And he obliged, sending Sharma, who came in for some rough treatment from Virat Kohli as well, again into the stands. That shot effectively killed the contest and whatever hope the Daredevils may have entertained after snaring a wicket early in their innings.
In the end, RCB cruised past Daredevils’ score with 20 balls to spare, Yuvraj finishing on an unbeaten 52, which included three boundaries and five sixes, as he shared 84 runs in an unconquered third wicket stand with Kohli (49 not out).
As RCB captain Kohli rightly pointed out that Yuvraj is a match-winner and it is important to back players of his quality.
"Yuvraj got criticism recently; it's unfair! He has won us two World Cups [2007 World T20 and 2011 50-overs]. He's a proven match-winner and it's important to back a player like him," Kohli, captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore, said
RCB and his legion of fans will be hoping his bat continues to do the talking.
Image: Yuvraj Singh