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The third edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) came alight with a magnificent 37-ball century from Yusuf Pathan of Rajasthan Royals against the star-studded Mumbai Indians, featuring two of the most lethal fast bowlers of the world, at the Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, on March 13.
It went to the credit of Mumbai Indians, captained by Sachin Tendulkar, to have still managed to win the game despite the crack Yusuf had at their bowlers.
Yusuf’s superb knock was acknowledged by his skipper Shane Warne who described it as the best innings he's seen in his 21-year career.
"I have played cricket for 21 years and I have seen Sachin Tendulkar as the best batsman against whom I have played as he has murdered attacks and hit them all over the park. But today was the best innings I have ever seen," Warne, the greatest spin bowler of all-time, observed.
"From a situation of 37 for 3 in seven overs and chasing 213 and come so close thanks to a 37 ball-100. It's a special innings. We believe we can win from anywhere. We just have to sort out our batting in the first six overs. In the last two IPLs we have won more games than anyone and we have won more close finishes," the legendary Warne remarked.
Another genius, Tendulkar, who himself recently rewrote history by scoring the first-ever double century in One-day Internationals, also hailed Yusuf's knock as very special and said he was aware of his ability to spark such a turnaround.
"It was a special innings from him, but even the effort from Sathish to get him run out was special. Before he came in and played that knock, I thought we would win this match with ease, but that's the beauty of this great game. You can never take anything for granted. I knew Yusuf was in great form and if he connects the ball well, the target was achievable," the master complimented.
Yusuf was still disappointed for not having secured a win for his side but he was gladdened by the comeback staged from a precarious position.
"I made an error because of which we lost, else we would have won. We're sad right now but we are also very happy that we played good cricket apart from the extras we conceded. When such flat wickets get made, records get broken and runs get scored. We will learn a lot from this loss and there is not a lot to worry as this is a long tourney," he said.
Yusuf, with his lusty hitting, was chiefly responsible for bringing his team back into the game after they had looked dead and buried while chasing a formidable total of 213 in 20 overs. When they needed something around 150 from the final 10 overs the odds heavily favoured the fielding side.
By having blasted nine fours and eight sixes he turned the tide and his team held the upper hand when the target was down to 19 off 12 balls. But his run out in the closing stages proved decisive and Mumbai won the dramatic encounter by four runs.
Syed Khalid Mahmood has had passion for writing and sports since childhood. After having edited wall papers and magazines in his student life, he had started contributing to various international publications from an early age.
He joined the mainstream journalism in 1987 and his first book was published later the same year. After having studied at the famed institutions like Cadet College Petaro and Delhi College, he graduated in civil engineering from the prestigious NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, in 1986.
He has earned greater fame and recognition in the field of media being acclaimed as a leading international sports writer, having worked for some of the eminent newspapers like The Frontier Post and The News International besides a brief stint with The Mississauga News. He has also appeared regularly as an analyst on various television channels.
He has already authored 12 books viz Asian Glory (2012); Reflections (2010); Cricket Fever: A History of Pakistan-India Tours (2008); Mission Caribbean: A Guide to ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 (2007); World Cup 2003: Top of the Charts (2005); Spotlight on World Cup 2003 (2005); World Cup 1999: So Near Yet So Far (2000); Pakistan’s Sports Greats (1997); Pakistan: The Land of World Champions (1995); Pakistan’s Triumph in World Cup 1992 (1993); The Caribbean Challenge: A History of Pakistan-West Indies matches (1989) and Focus on World Cup (1987 and 1994).
He has had an active social life throughout. Having founded The Young Champs in 1984 he became the District Secretary of Rotary International District 3271 (Pakistan) in 2015-16. Besides being the Founder President of the NED Alumni Association, he is also the Vice President of the Delhi College & Schools Old Boys Association. He is also a member of The Petarian Association, Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi Press Club, Pakistan Engineering Council and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.
His write-ups are carried by innumerable portals and websites across the world while his exclusive articles on the web, having grown in popularity, could be accessed on his blog at www.skmsports.com
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