Yusuf Pathan (centre) breaks out in celebration after scoring the winning runs © AFP
On April 23, 2009, Indian Premier League (IPL) teams Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) clashed in a thrilling encounter wherein the Shane Warne-lead side trumped the Knight Riders at Cape Town. Devarchit Varma relives the match, which was won by Rajasthan in the Super Over.
The second edition of the IPL was held in 2009, as the Lok Sabha General Elections forced the organisers to hold the tournament outside India. Albeit, there was no lack of entertainment and thrill which every IPL season promises, as some of the memorable games being played were witnessed in South Africa. Among these was the epic encounter between Shane Warne-led Rajasthan Royals against Kolkata Knight Riders at Newlands, Cape Town.
KKR captain Brendon McCullum won the toss and elected to field. It was a good move in the context of utilising the conditions early on, and the Knight Riders made early breakthroughs. Anureet Singh provided Kolkata the first wicket, when he dismissed Paul Valthaty on the final ball of the second over.
Rajasthan’s woes increased further when Ishant Sharma got rid of No 3 batsman Rob Quiney.
In walked Yusuf Pathan, and he teamed up with Graeme Smith to take Rajasthan ahead. Pathan announced his arrival immediately by hitting a six and a boundary on consecutive deliveries off Ishant Sharma. In the sixth over of the match, Pathan slammed three boundaries off Ajit Agarkar as Rajasthan looked to pick up. The two batsmen added 56 runs for the third wicket to lead their side’s recovery.
However, in the eighth over, Sri Lankan mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis struck and got rid of Smith, who had crawled to 15 off 21 balls. Pathan was gone soon, when he was caught by Yashpal Singh off Mendis in the same over and Rajasthan slipped to 73 for four after nine overs. The right-handed batsman scored 42 off just 21 balls, hitting six boundaries and two sixes.
Kolkata pulled back things in control as they did not allow RR batsmen to score freely. The next boundary came in the 15th over of the innings. The Rajasthan side could never really recover from those blows and managed to post 150 for six after 20 overs, with Abhishek Raut hitting two sixes and a four in the final over off Anureet Singh.
Rajasthan had to bowl tight in order to contain the dangerous opening pair of KKR — Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum. Pathan started off the proceedings, and was impressive again as he bowled two overs and gave away only nine runs. The pressure was building and Gayle decided to open up, hitting two sixes off Dimitri Mascarenhas in the fourth over. But Rajasthan immediately made a breakthrough, getting the big wicket of McCullum off the final ball of the over.
Gayle continued as he hit a six and a four off Mascarenhas‘s next over, and also smashed Pathan for the same result in the eighth over. However, Gayle’s stay at the crease was over when Shane Warne had him caught off Ravindra Jadeja for 41 off 33 balls, studded with two boundaries and four sixes.
Sourav Ganguly walked into bat at No 5, as Kolkata kept losing wickets at regular intervals. The seasoned campaigner looked in his usual elements as he scored freely on both sides of the wickets, leading KKR’s charge towards win. However, lack of boundaries in the middle-overs created worries for KKR. It was only Ganguly who was able to put away the bad deliveries. Despite the fall of wickets from one end, Ganguly held fort at the other end and kept scoring important runs. He smashed two consecutive sixes off Munaf Patel in the 16th over.
The stylish left-handed batsman was in full flow as runs came in ease for him. He was not only able to find gaps, but his innings also made many remember the Ganguly of the past who used to play big attacking strokes.
Kolkata needed 16 runs to win from the final 12 balls, and one thought with Ganguly at the crease, they will be able to get home easily. However, there was a twist in the tale.
Despite the penultimate over of the match yielding nine runs, KKR lost Yashpal on the final ball off Warne. They now needed seven runs off six balls to win. Kamran Khan came onto bowl the final over and his first three balls got only three runs to KKR. The fourth was a dot and Ganguly managed to squeeze two runs off the next ball via leg-byes. The penultimate ball was slashed hard by Ganguly and was caught by the wicketkeeper. Ishant Sharma was run out on the final ball, as the game ended in a tie.
Ganguly was very disappointed in the manner he got out, after scoring 46 off 30 balls with four boundaries and two massive sixes.
The match thus headed into the Super Over, and there was lots of excitement in store. KKR batsmen Gayle and McCullum walked into bat and despite a slow start, they managed to put up 15 runs from six balls. Gayle hit as many as three consecutive boundaries off Kamran Khan and was out on the final ball.
For Rajasthan, Yusuf Pathan was the best bet when it came to scoring quickly. There was never a doubt what he can do when he was in full flow, and it was Pathan’s day all the way. The first ball was hit over long off for a massive six off Mendis, and despite a dropped catch on the second, Pathan managed to steal two quick runs. The third delivery was again smashed for a six – this time over the mid-wicket boundary.
Rajasthan now needed only two runs off three balls, and Pathan sealed a memorable win when he smashed the fourth delivery off Mendis for a boundary on the leg side. Rajasthan, lead by Pathan, snatched a win from KKR’s hands and it remains as one of the most memorable wins over the Knight Riders till date.
(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)