Knight Riders v Sunrisers, IPL 2014, Kolkata May 24, 2014

'I have never seen this kind of innings' - Gambhir

ESPNcricinfo staff

Yusuf Pathan can be a brutal hitter capable of changing matches in a matter of minutes, as he famously showed during his two ODI centuries and a 37-ball 100 for Rajasthan Royals in 2010. Memories of those innings were fading, though, after three lean seasons in the IPL, and an international career that stalled in 2012.

Those memories came flooding back when he ripped Sunrisers Hyderabad apart at Eden Gardens with the fastest half-century in the IPL. Shane Warne, Yusuf's captain in 2010, had famously and hyperbolically said that the 37-ball 100 was the "best innings I have ever seen". Yusuf's current captain, Gautam Gambhir, didn't go that far, but was awestruck by the 22-ball 72 that grabbed a top-two place for Kolkata Knight Riders.

"I have never seen this kind of innings in my career and I don't think I am going to see many like this in future as well," Gambhir said. "This is unbelievable hitting, I think I could have only dreamt of it, but actually I have seen this in reality, so it still hasn't sunk in."

When Yusuf was asked about the lack of runs this season, he joked, "No point hitting form early also." When he walked in, Knight Riders needed 106 off 47 to pip Chennai Super Kings to the second spot. Yusuf's lethal hitting meant they got there with six balls to spare.

Asked to compare this innings with that whirlwind century in 2010, he rated the 73 higher. "That was also a very good knock for me, but I couldn't win the match for the team, I got run-out. But here we won the match and especially the runs we needed to make to reach the top two, we had to score in 15 overs, I achieved that, I'm feeling good, and I think this is my best innings compared to that one."

Perhaps the highlight of the innings was the Dale Steyn over in which Yusuf clobbered 26 runs. When asked to explain his thinking when he was in the sort of form he was in today, he said: "I try hard to stay calm, but I also tell myself that if the ball is again in my area, then I will again hit it. I try not to let the bowler get on top of me, it's okay if I get out but what the team's requirement is, I play for that, whatever people say."

Both Yusuf and Robin Uthappa, Knight Riders' standout batsman this season, talked about the vociferous support they received from the Eden Gardens crowd. Yusuf's onslaught means they will have that vocal backing of their home crowd on Tuesday as well, when they take on Kings XI Punjab to fight for a place in the final.

Gambhir said the home game and the top-two spot was just reward for their performance in the league phase, which they finished with seven consecutive victories. "This was always the thought that we wanted to finish in first two, because the kind of cricket we have played in the last seven games, we deserve to be there in the top two," Gambhir said. "It would have been really unfair for us if we had gone to No. 3 or No. 4. We still get two cracks and hopefully we can get to the final."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on May 25, 2014, 17:22 GMT

    Hah..!! What a marvelous innings... He hits sixes like touch the ball... worlds no 1 fast bowler dale steyn will never forget that he smashed all over the park...26 runs is one over.....maxwell who...??yusuf is the king of all hard hitting....if he stays he will win every match

  • Rahul on May 25, 2014, 14:27 GMT

    @switchmitch- I love steyn. But he did it only becasue ABD was his countrymen. ABD played some great shots,but it was all length,so he's have smashed it anyway. Otherwise would have seen Steyn-Dhoni hug. That hug was really a great way to hide how poorly he bowled that over. All length,no yorker,no bouncer. Everyone forgot how that over cost SRH the match. He was sledging uthappa yesterday. Comeon Dale. Better than this.

  • Rahul on May 25, 2014, 14:16 GMT

    @ Yusuff- Ha! A Maxwell fan that was born this IPL season. Sorry KP caught Maxwell today. Thats what he needed to score just like he needed noballs and dropped catches to score most of his runs where he scored those big scores. May be you should check Max record in T20I or his record since coming to India this IPL. His initial 3 innings where he rode on his luck to score,hasnt done much. Miller,Saha has been doing the dirty work. Slogs on the leg side against spinners can only give you so many runs. Oh,he was terribly exposed against leggies and cant remember him smashing a quality pacer. If you're that much excited about records of IPL,then your favourites would be Raina,Rohit,Gayle. Atleast even they dont slog everyball on leg side. You're on the Maxwell is great bandwagon. Cool

  • Arun on May 25, 2014, 13:39 GMT

    So. did Steyn give a hug and defer smilingly to the genius innings from Yusuf, like he did to ABD? Or does he only see the genius in his own country mates?

  • Android on May 25, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    @rishi...add all the innings of gayle macullum smith maxwell viru raina abd yuvi virat n dhoni ( 7 years best ) will be more than 100 & yousuf innings will not be there...

  • Android on May 25, 2014, 13:36 GMT

    @sreeg n @ rishi i m not a csk fan...i m a fan of maxwell so i m a kxip fan...n by the way yesterday there was display of school level poor fielding ...i can bet pathan will not score another 50+ score in in next 15-20 ipl matches...plzz stop supprtng such usrless players who performs once in a year ...n maxwell desrves the orange cap ...n it is narine with purple cap

  • Dummy4 on May 25, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    CricLover316 - 4 fifties in Season 2014 (all of them inches short of hundreds) with more than 530 runs over 14 matches at a strike rate close to 200 for Maxwell and you say he's over hyped?? When did you start watching cricket??

  • Rajesh on May 25, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    Surely it was a good innings and entertaining one, but not the best.. He was lucky to be let off first ball and it showed clearly that he was in an all-swinging mode, trying to swing at every ball.. the pitch appeared quite flat and so slow that you can see the trajectory after ball was delivered.. In other pitches you can only see the ball leaving Steyn's hand, whereas yesterday you could see the ball's path clearly.. Kolkata wanted to play the Qualifier 1 in Kolkata and achieved it.. what else can we say, but please do not term this Pathan innings as a great one.. if he had scored this on a decent pitch, you can say it that way..

  • Dummy4 on May 25, 2014, 13:09 GMT

    That's the best innings I ever seen by pathan. I will love to more of that innings again from him for india in the future.

  • Sree on May 25, 2014, 12:52 GMT

    @Rishav You really think of all the other 7 teams, Sunil has to be a CSK Fan? Is it because he is jealous or you're jealous of the team that has made playoffs in all editions, Finals in 5 out of 6 and Winner of 2, and is considered the most successful franchise? So please think before making a comment.I'm a CSK fan and i truly enjoyed Yusuf's knock and take pride in the fact that Uthappa carries the Orange cap and Bhuvi carried the Purple one. It's our IPL at the end of the day and performance of an Indian player should only make us feel happy about it...

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