The third match of the Road Safety World Series 2020, played between India Legends and Sri Lanka Legends at DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Tuesday, turned out to be a low-scoring thriller.
Irfan Pathan rolled back years and took his team across the finishing line against the Lankans, yet again, similar to his feat back in 2009, which came alongside his elder brother Yusuf Pathan.
The all-star Lankan team was put to the test by fast bowler Munaf Patel, who picked four wickets in his spell, conceding just 19. Patel, along with the likes of Zaheer Khan, Manpreet Gony, Sanjay Bangar, and Pathan, kept the lid on the scoring rate by picking up a wicket each.
None of the Lankan batsmen were able to put a substantial score on the board, as they lost wickets at regular intervals. The Tillakaratne Dilshan-led side posted a modest yet challenging score of 138 in front of the Indian team, on a tricky pitch.
Starting the proceedings with the bat, Indians lost their three big guns, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, and Yuvraj Singh, cheaply.
It was only the resolute of Mohammed Kaif (46 off 45) from one end which took the game deep. The India Legends team was at the doldrums with the dismissal of Kaif at 81-5 in 15 over.
However, the turning point in the match arrived when Pathan took guard at the crease. Pathan took his time upfront, scoring eight of his first ten deliveries, which brought the required run-rate at around 12 runs per over.
The southpaw, then, went berserk at the backend of his innings as he smashed 42 off his final 12 deliveries, most of which came during one Farveez Maharoof over.
In the end, India cruised towards a five-wicket victory in the penultimate over, with eight balls to spare. Pathan also walked away with the ‘Player of the Match’ title.
The innings (57* off 31) brought back fond memories of his knock at Colombo, which came during similar circumstances. India Legends have now won both their matches in the league thus far.