‘The Yusuf Pathan’ show at Bengaluru : ‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’. Yusuf Pathan, who has had a lacklustre outing in this edition of IPL, with just 86 runs from seven games, rose to the occasion and delivered when it really mattered for the team.
Having to chase 186 runs, the target set by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Kolkata Knight Rider’s (KKR) Pathan literally blew the opposition away in the company of Andre Russell (39, 24b, 1*4, 4*6) and inflicted one more damage on them.
This win took KKR back to the second slot on the Points Table just behind the table topper, Gujarat Lions.
Put into bat, the home team, who were bolstered with the return of the ‘danger man’ Chris Gayle at the top, were expecting to do really well and stay in contention for a position in the knockout round.
However, KKR bowlers had a different idea. Mornie Morkel, bowling the second over was hit for a huge six by Gayle. The next delivery, short of length, which Gayle wanted to dispatch into the orbit, much to his amazement, got the necessary elevation but not the distance. The ball went high up in the air, did not traverse a long distance and then come down to settle safely into the gloves of Robin Uthappa. Gayle scored 7 runs of 7 deliveries.
Thereafter it was upto the ‘in-form’ wicket-keeper, KL Rahul and the skipper Virat Kohli to steady the innings. KKR bowlers were successful in keeping the RCB batsmen under check during the power play, giving away only 40 runs.
The RCB batsmen duo, thereafter, opened up and added 84 runs in 9.3 overs for the second wicket. Rahul’s half-century came in just 29 balls with 6 fours and 2 sixes.
He left after notching up a well made 52 runs off 32 deliveries with 6 fours and 2 sixes.
Kohli, playing another stellar innings, brought up his fifth half-century of the season in 42 balls with 4 fours. He ended up scoring 52 runs in 44 deliveries.
Shane Watson (34), Sachin Baby (16) and Stuart Binny (16) ensured that RCB ended their innings with 185 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in 20 overs.
From 125 runs for the loss of 3 wickets in 16 overs, RCB ended up scoring 185 runs. They sent the KKR bowlers, particularly Umesh Yadav (4-0-56-1) and Sunil Narine (4-0-45-0), to the cleaners, scoring 60 runs in 4 overs.
Chasing 186 runs for a win, KKR lost Robin Uthappa in the very first over. Binny, bowling one outside the off-stump, forced the batsman to play away from the body. The ball took the top edge and sailed towards the safe hands of Virat Kohli.
Chris Lynn, promoted up the order, survived a LBW scare from Yuzvendra Chahal. It looked like the ball that wrapped on the pads might have gone on to knock out the leg stump. The vociferous appeal by the fielders had no impact on Umpire S Ravi.
However, Lynn was removed by the same bowler two deliveries later.
At the fall of Gambhir’s (37) wicket, with the team score at 69 runs for the loss of 4 wickets in 10.1 overs, Yusuf Pathan joined Manish Pandey in the middle. Pandey did not last long.
Thereafter it was ‘the Yusuf Pathan show’. In the company of Andre Russell (39), Pathan, who had been lying low in the previous seven games, established his supremacy over the bowlers, bringing back memories of his single-handed effort in helping the (now banned) franchisee, Rajasthan Royals with the inaugural IPL title in 2008.
His half century came in only 27 deliveries studded with 5 fours and 3 sixes. Pathan eventually notched up an unbeaten 60* runs off 29 deliveries with 6 fours and 3 sixes.
The fifth-wicket partnership of 96 runs in 7.2 overs between Pathan and Russell and the whirlwind innings of Pathan, helped KKR cross the line. They ended up scoring 189 runs for the loss of 9 wickets in 19.1 overs.
They won the game by 5 wickets with 5 deliveries to spare.
For his 4-0-24-1, the catch of Virat Kohli and 39 runs (24b, 1*4, 4*6), Russell was awarded the Player of the Match.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, Russell said, “Important game for us, we had to come back strong. We said back our strength. We are two strong guys. Pleasure to bat with Yusuf. Bowling against Chris, Virat, Rahul, I”m happy with 11 (in that Powerplay).”
A visibly dejected Virat Kohli said, “Nothing much to say, we needed to take our chances. We let the game drift away. Composure with the ball was lacking. Guys like Russell and Yusuf will make you pay. Need to take chances in T20 cricket. We thought 175, the wicket was a bit sticky. Its the way it goes in T20 cricket. At this level, you need to be professional enough to know where things went wrong. Well stays positive and try to correct our mistakes.”
A beaming Gambhir, coming strong after the defeat at the hands of DD, said, “Unbelievable knock from Russell and Yusuf. The way we started with the bat, not upto the mark. Especially at this ground, we knew 12 or 13 can be chaseable. Just a matter of hanging in there. We knew Surya could be dangerous as a finisher. Started very professionally. Morne came back very well. Umesh didn”t have a great day but he is a quality bowler.”