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IPL 9, Match 45 Review: Yusuf Pathan powers KKR to a crucial victory

Yusuf Pathan Kolkata Knight Riders
Yusuf Pathan. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Yusuf Pathan put up yet another splendid performance as the Kolkata Knight Riders added more misery to the Rising Pune Supergiants. A rain interventions saw the D/L method come into the picture with the frugal RPS target reduced to 66. Moreover, the Knight Riders had to achieve the target in just the nine overs remaining and Yusuf Pathan clobbered the ball to all parts as he rolled back the wonder years to help the Knight Riders to an easy win.

Having won the toss, MS Dhoni opted to bat first. The decision, however, was to backfire rather badly.playing for pride and glory, the Supergiants brought in an old horse in the form of Irfan Pathan. The southpaw’s previous contribution included just the six balls bowlers previously. Murugan Ashwin also made his way back into the team.

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The RPS innings began with anything but optimism. Ajinkya Rahane, perhaps the most technically ‘sound’ batsman in the Pune lineup had his defenses breached by the irresistible Andre Russell. It was one of those instances where Russell bowled the ball in excess of 140 mph. Rahane was almost liked a trapped rabbit, unable to read the pace of the delivery. The result was that his stumps went for a stroll towards the smiling figure of Robin Uthappa.

The fall reunited Usman Khawaja with his former Australian skipper George Bailey. Now Bailey has had some cold mint of late, especially given his untimely recall to the side coupled with his clear form issues in the shortest format of the game. Although his everlasting smile was something always one looked forward to, the reunion seemed to be effective. They had effectively begun the rebuilding process and it seemed as thought the duo were in the haul for a perfectly timed innings.

The pace of Morne Morkel seemed nothing more than a few yards fewer than what they were accustomed to. However, their short-lived reunion lasted barely a couple of overs as Gautam Gambhir deployed Kolkata Knight Riders most dangerous tactic. It was far from rocket science, yet immensely effective. Spin was the key factor, the factor that would allow the Knight Riders to claw their way back. Sure enough, Usman Khawaja was the next to head back to the dugout. A tricky, yet regulation catch from Suryakumar Yadav off the bowling of the wily Shakib-Al-Hasan ensured the fall of the wicket.

Saurabh Tiwary, one of the bigger blokes in the side had seemingly lost the form he once had midway after he fell to the exuberant Ankit Rajpoot. However, the big fish still loomed large. George Bailey was coasting the innings like he had nothing better to do. Barely a few deliveries after the Tiwary dismissal, a rush of blood, saw the former Aussie skipper on his way back to the sauna and showers of the dressing sheds. Having made a convincing 33 runs, Bailey walked straight into a Piyush Chawla leg-spinner. Even the likes of Robin Uthappa, a part-time keeper was pleased to whip the bails off as Bailey continued his walk towards the sheds, the smile still on his face.

Irfan Pathan sacrificed his wicket to keep MS Dhoni at the crease after he was run-out by a country mile. The move backfired rather terribly as Dhoni could not muster anything beyond a 22 ball 8. Thisara Perera showed some intent by smashing a six before he too died by the same sword he thrived on. The heavens opened their doors as the rains made their way onto the vast expanse of the Eden Gardens. Unfortunately for MS Dhoni and his men, the rains meant that they would indeed not have their fairytale finish. 103-6 in 17 odd overs was all they could muster.

The crowd rocked and moaned in anticipation. It had been a long time since the rains had made an intervention when the Knight Riders were involved. The Disc Jockey, had a massive job of keeping the crowd in the mood until the rains backed into the horizon, ready to cause havoc somewhere else.

Sure enough, the rains closed and play was ready to resume. Only this time, two gentlemen by the name Duckworth and Lewis were called upon to select a suitable score and time for the KKR chase to begin. 66 from 9 was eventually decided as the Knight Riders made their way out to bat once more.

Ravichandran Ashwin, a man who had been reportedly ‘ignored’ by his skipper was given the new ball. A dry wicket and a wet outfield, and Ashwin could not ask for more. Uthappa slammed a boundary off the first ball, but Ashwin remained unruffled. He charged into bowl, which was quite literally a hop, a skip, and a jump. The turn foxed everybody except the wise eyes of MS Dhoni. The latter whipped off the bails faster than a pocket of breeze flying across the Eden Gardens. And just like that, in one delivery, Ashwin had conceded five runs and picked up a wicket.

Gautam Gambhir was the next to go. A doosra from Ashwin ensured that he got his man as Gambhir strode off, red-faced and frustrated, and ashamed right down to his soul. It was yet again one of those things when Yusuf Pathan walked into bat in the first over of the match.

One thing about Yusuf Pathan is that you know he means business when he takes off the helmet. Of course, he performs when he is wearing his helmet, and of course, he is in the form of his life. But, the fact that he declined any head protection sent out a message. The ‘Eye of the tiger’ was there for one and all to see.

The way he batted almost seemed as though he had a death wish. However, if anybody was dying, it was the RPSG bowlers. It was quite literally the most fearless batting performance I have ever seen in the IPL this far. Smash, clobbering and clubbing the ball to different parts ensured a few things. One was that Yusuf Pathan didn’t need an invitation to smash the ball, and the second being the fact that he didn’t care a dime about the conditions. An unbeaten 37 off just 18 deliveries got the job done. However, it also proved that the Knight Riders needed just the 5 overs to reach their target. Yusuf Pathan, was quite deservedly, the man of the match for his extravagant batting effort.

Brief Scores:

Rising Pune Supergiants: 103/6 in 17.4 overs (G Bailey 33; P Chawla 2.21)

Kolkata Knight Riders: 66/2 in 5 overs (Y Pathan 37*; R Ashwin 2/30)

Man of the Match: Yusuf Pathan

How did Twitter react to the game? – Twitter Reactions: Yusuf shines again as KKR route RPS in a rain marred game

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