He is no longer the Yusuf Pathan of old, but even today, when the ball starts hitting the middle of his bat, opposition players have their task cut-out. And Friday was one of those days when Pathan took the game by the scruff of the neck and put Kolkata Knight Riders on the road to victory against Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozeshah Kotla. Pathan finished with 59 off 39 balls at a strike rate of 151.28 as KKR won by 4 wickets.
Chasing 169, Kolkata were reeling at 21/3 when Pathan joined Manish Pandey in the middle. With Yusuf considered past his prime, the Daredevils fans were already eyeing another win for the home side. But Pathan, also celebrating his child’s birthday, decided to show the world that he can still pack a punch on his day.
He first guided Kolkata out of danger with support from Manish and then played the aggressor’s role as the two put on 110 for the fourth wicket — the highest in this edition of the IPL so far. But the best part about Pathan’s knock was that he was willing to wait for the bad balls to put away, rather than trying to hit every ball out of the park — a mistake he has often committed in recent times.
It was only poetic justice that he reached his 13th IPL fifty with a six. Zaheer Khan bowled it full and Pathan made no mistake as he used the long handle to send Zaheer into cow corner.
Joining hands with Manish with KKR still needing 148 runs from 17 overs, he had helped KKR reach 131/4, needing another 38 runs from 31 balls, when he was finally dismissed by Chris Morris.