Home > Features >

KKR’s turning point in IPL 7 was my knock against Sunrisers Hyderabad, says Yusuf Pathan

Kolkata-Knight-Riders-batsman-Yusuf-Pathan-celebrates-with-the-man-of-the-match-award-trophy-during-the-54th
Yusuf Pathan’s blistering 22-ball 72 powered KKR to clinch the second spot in IPL 7 © IANS

June 6, 2014

Ever since Kolkata Knight Riders lifted the Indian Premier League (IPL) trophy  every cricket enthusiast, analyst, expert, and indeed the players themselves, has tried to explain what lies behind the spectacular turnaround of a team that looked nowhere close to getting to the play-offs after the UAE leg, let alone win the title.

Was it Robin Uthappa‘s dream run with the bat at the top of the order? Was it skipper Gautam Gambhir‘s return to form? Was it the loss to Rajasthan Royals where they lost six wickets for two runs that had every player hurting?

Yusuf Pathan believes he played a big part in KKR clinching that coveted trophy for the second time on that glittering night in Bangalore.

“The turning point came in that match against Sunrisers Hyderabad at home, in which I played that crucial knock,” Pathan told dna on Thursday.

Crucial might be an understatement. It was a knock that left arguably the world’s best fast bowler at present, Dale Steyn, simply stunned. It was a knock that came from nowhere, almost to make a statement: ‘Dare write me off’. Just in case you forgot, Pathan cracked a breathtaking 22-ball 72 that took KKR to the second spot in the points table.

“That win took us to second in the table, which was really important for two reasons,” Pathan said. “First because we could play our qualifier at home, and second was that it meant we were straight into the final after the win. So I feel my knock that night was the turning point for KKR. It was such a satisfying moment for me. I thought I was playing well even before that, but to play that kind of an innings in such an important match made me really happy.”

KKR’s season was almost like a movie with a badly-written first half, but one that gathered steam as the climax neared. Who would’ve imagined KKR going all the way after winning only two of their first seven games? The players, according to Pathan.

“Personally, I was confident. We lost some close matches, and just needed things to fall in place. Gambhir never allowed any negativity or doubt to creep into our minds even at the point. We always had that self-belief that we could turn things around and go all the way,” Pathan said.

Turn it around they did, and how! Gambhir and his boys then went on a roll, winning seven matches on the trot before the qualifiers. And with that kind of momentum, it was no surprise that they won the remaining two crunch matches.

Pathan had special praise for his skipper. “Gambhir is the best captain, I feel,” he said. “Even when he was not scoring runs, he didn’t let it affect the team. That was the best part. He ensured our morale didn’t go down even as he was struggling for some form. He backed every player, and used to talk to each and every one of us individually on our strengths and weaknesses.”

Pathan compared Gambhir to Shane Warne, a captain he blossomed under in the first three seasons of the IPL with Rajasthan Royals. Gambhir, Pathan felt, was much like the maverick Australian in terms of leadership skills.

“I see a lot of similarities between Gambhir and Warne. Warne was also such a terrific captain who took the extra effort to know and interact with every player. He would act like he knew us since ages. I played three years under him and I wish I could play more. But I have watched Gambhir very closely too and I think he is like Warne in many ways as a skipper,” Pathan said.

The 31-year-old is the only player to have three IPL trophies to his kitty: two with KKR (2012 and 2014) and one with RR (2008). And he believes both franchisees have a lot in common.

“I think both RR and KKR focus a lot on their Indian players, which is the key. The KKR owners backed me even when I wasn’t doing so well. So that is the hallmark of a champion team,” Pathan said.

IPL done and dusted, Pathan hopes his performances over the past year or so gets him back into national reckoning. A cursory look at his numbers show that Pathan finished IPL-7 with 268 runs in 15 matches, the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with 135 runs in four matches, the Vijay Hazare Trophy with 248 runs in five matches at an average of 62, and the Ranji Trophy with 373 runs in seven matches at an average of 33.90. Enough to merit a comeback?

“I hope so,” Pathan said. “I’ve had a good IPL. My domestic season with Baroda has also been good across all formats. I’m confident to making it back to the Indian team and am working very hard towards it. I’ll continue to do that, but the rest is up to the selectors.”

Click here for IPL 2014 complete coverage

(Rutvick Mehta chose to become a journalist for his love of sports in general, and cricket in particular — the purity of Test cricket, to be precise. Tennis and hockey also excites him equally. The above article first appeared in DNA)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Pakistan hold advantage at stumps on Day 3 of 1st Test against Australia

Asad Shafiq emerges as dependable No 6 for Pakistan

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson shows signs of effectiveness on unhelpful surfaces

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Kapil Dev’s Dev Musco Lighting accused of inflated costs by GCA

VVS Laxman advises budding batsmen to score big hundreds

Pakistan hold advantage at stumps on Day 3 of 1st Test against Australia

West Indies women not distracted by controversy in men’s team

India have talent to do well in Australia, says VVS Laxman

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Spin hunt continues for visitors

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Don Bradman — even if every chance he ever gave in his career was accepted, he would still remain head and shoulders above the others

Len Hutton’s hundred gets reported as illness

Viv Richards’ 6/41 bowls West Indies to a thrilling victory over India

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here