Top 3 IPL moments of World T20 hero Irfan Pathan
Before the inception of the number four conundrum in the Indian batting-order, the obsession of finding a fast-bowling all-arounder was something that was consuming Indian cricket ever since Kapil Dev's departure. Several players unsuccessfully auditioned but failed to live up to the expectations at the highest level.
In came a curly-haired Baroda-born swing pacer going by the name Irfan Pathan. Not known much for his batting exploits initially, Pathan proved to be a lethal weapon with his 'banana swing' in both formats of the game. It wasn't before long that the scrawny left-armer grew on the Indian team and cemented his place in the national side under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly. In-coming coach Greg Chappell showed confidence in Pathan's batting and took the challenge of turning him into a genuine all-rounder.
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A cricketing career spanning 29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20Is gave a lot to cherish over the years. His Test hat-trick against Pakistan was one of the purest moments that all-rounder had to offer. Apart from his limited heroics at the international stage, which included his important role in the winning-campaign at the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup, Pathan endured a mixed IPL career.
In 103 IPL matches for six different franchises, Pathan claimed 80 wickets and scored 1139 runs. He represented Kings XI Punjab till 2010 before moving to Delhi Daredevils for two overs. Following that, Pathan was picked up by Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2014 before moving on to Chennai Super Kings in 2015. The failure to find a permanent franchise took a toll on his performances, which sometimes lacked direction and intent but always had glimpses of the old Pathan.
With a 17-year long career coming to an end, let's look at Irfan Pathan's best three moments in the Indian Premier League.
#1 60 runs in 29 balls- Deccan Chargers vs Kings XI Punjab, 19th March 2010
In an intense encounter played at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, Pathan blasted a brilliant Deccan Chargers attack comprising of Chaminda Vaas, in-form RP Singh, and Australia's Andrew Symonds to score a magnificent fifty. Although his side failed to cross the line and lost by six runs, Pathan left a lasting impression with the bat and showcased his all-round talent to perfection.
Winning the toss and opting to field first, Pathan bowled a tight line and length to give away only 16 runs in his three overs to go along with his wicket of Chaminda Vaas. Coming to bat after a flurry of wickets, Pathan dominated the bowling and took them to the cleaners, hitting five huge sixes and three boundaries in his 29-ball 60. In the end, Pathan was caught by Symonds off the bowling of Jaskaran Singh while trying to up the run-rate which was climbing due to the regular fall of wickets.
This innings proved to be Pathan's best batting performance in all of his IPL career.
#2 3/24- Delhi Daredevils vs Kings XI Punjab, 11th April 2010
Playing for Kings XI Punjab, Pathan dismissed Virender Sehwag for a first-ball duck and a struggling Dinesh Karthik for only 17 runs in 35 balls, Delhi found themselves reeling at one stage and finally managed to score only 111 runs in 19.4 overs. Pathan got his third wicket in the last over of the innings when he dismissed Ashish Nehra and complete his three-for, his best bowling performance for any franchise in IPL cricket.
With the wicket playing slow as the game progressed, Pathan made full use of his slower ones later in the innings to puzzle batsmen and keep them guessing for variations. Going along with his classic in-swing balls to a right-handed batsman, Pathan bowled a tight length to swing the ball both ways and used his stock slower balls to dismiss the dangerous-looking and in-form batsmen in Sehwag and Karthik to break the backbone of Delhi Daredevils and restrict them to a below-par total.
#3 42 not out in 20 balls- Kolkata Knight Riders vs Delhi Daredevils, 5th April 2012
In a rain-derailed match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Pathan smashed the ball all around the park to hand an easy win for Delhi Daredevils. The match, which was reduced to 12-overs a side saw Irfan Pathan scoring a blistering 42 not out in only 20 balls to take Delhi home.
Pathan batted with such authority that he overshadowed the likes of Virender Sehwag, Aaron Finch, and even Glen Maxwell during their run-chase of 98 runs in 12 overs. Pathan's knock included three huge sixes and two boundaries in the second match of 2012 IPL. Although the all-rounder bowled only one over giving away nine runs, his man-of-the-match award performance with the bat helped Delhi get off to a winning start in IPL 5.Modified 06 Jan 2020, 16:26 IST