They said he couldn't perform in international cricket. They said he was just good for IPLs and domestic cricket. He proved them wrong tonight. Yusuf Pathan engineered an improbable win for India with a violent hundred and perhaps has sealed a World-cup spot for himself. It looked grim for India when they were tottering at 188 for 5 in the 34th over after the fall of Rohit Sharma but Pathan pulled off a heist. One game doesn't guarantee future success of course but Pathan has definitely left his past behind with a potentially career-turning knock under a cloudy Bangalore sky. Pathan's imperious knock overshadowed a superbly-crafted 98 from James Franklin that had allowed New Zealand to set a daunting 316-run target.
Pathan declared his intent with two brutal shots. The first came in the 37th over immediately on resumption of play after a one-hour rain break that didn't reduce any overs and left India needing 113 runs from 14 overs. Yusuf launched Daniel Vettori to screaming fans beyond long-on and clubbed a length delivery from Kyle Mills on to the roof over the cow corner. Couple of quiet overs followed but Pathan roused himself in a violent 43rd over: He smashed Mills for three fours - a lofted hit overs covers and two flicks past short fine-leg - before crashing a length delivery for a six over midwicket. And when he brought up his maiden hundred with a pulled six, off Andy McKay, in the next over, the game was all but over.
Pathan found good support from Saurabh Tiwary, who intelligently rotated the strike, and the pair gave India a 4-0 lead in the series. It had earlier seemed that Franklin had done enough to win the game for his team, especially after India's top-order had collapsed, but Yusuf seized the day.