Failure. Disappointment. Frustration.
These three words summed up Yusuf Pathan’s run in the league stage of the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League. With 153 runs from 14 innings, the huge man from Baroda looked a pale shadow of the person who single handedly destroyed bowling attacks with consummate ease over the past four seasons.
But when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.
This is exactly what transpired at the Subroto Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune. Kolkata Knight Riders, as has been the case all season, stumbled after a good start and found themselves in a spot of bother untile Yusuf Pathan walked into bat at 91/3 in the 14th over. Pathan kept a steady head and scored an unbeaten 40 of only 21 balls as the Knight Riders edged past the Daredevils to become the first team to qualify for the finale on Sunday.
The pitch was on the slower side and Delhi’s PawanNegi made full utilization of the conditions to keep the scoring in check after Gambhir and McCullum had got KKR off to a flier. Gambhir’s run-out in the sixth over reduced the scoring and when McCullum and Shakib fell in quick succession, Delhi had managed to get a grip hold on the game. Negi conceded only 18 from his quota of overs as it was up to Kallis and Yusuf to take KKR through to the end. However Delhi were playing with only one spinner, who had already bowled out and the remaining six overs had to be bowled by the pacers.
Pathan, knowing that he could launch an attack if he got his eye in, played it safe in the first couple of overs as Kallis succumbed trying to up the ante at the other end. The assault began in the 17th over when he slammed Morkel over his head for a six. UmeshYadav’s next over yielded 11 and Shukla took the lead in the next carting Morkel over extra cover for a one bounce boundary and followed it up with a massive six over square leg. After seven runs came of the first three deliveries, Pathan dispatched the next three balls for six, four and four as Kolkata finshed on 162/4, 56 runs coming of the last four overs.
Delhi’s chase began on a disastrous note as Warner fell to a rash decision by Doctrove. Sehwag followed him into the pavilion by poking at a ball outside off-stump and Delhi were looking at a long way to go. NamanOjha and Jayawardene stabilized the innings with a 59 run partnership in eight overs. Just as things were looking in control for the Daredevils, Ojha cut a short ball into the hands of Gambhir. Venugopal Rao took his time to settle down and this increased the pressure on Jayawardene eventually leading him to get stumped.
The required run rate was going up with every passing over and with the mystery of Sunil Narine yet to unfold, the Daredevils had a tough game ahead. Delhi, inexplicably sent on Negi ahead of the hard-hitting Ross Taylor and when the Kiwi came into bat at the fall of Rao, the required rate already had reached 14 per over. The Kiwi sent Narine into the stands of only his third ball but it was too much of an ask of him as Delhi fell 18 runs short, thus sending KKR into the finals while they themselves have a second chance to get it right when they meet the winner of the Eliminator in the second qualifier on Friday.
Kolkata Knight Riders 162 for 4 (McCullum 31, Gambhir 32,Yusuf 40*) beat Delhi Daredevils 144 for 8 (Jayawardene 40, Ojha 28, Kallis 2-24, Narine 2-24) by 18 runs.