Riding on Irfan Pathan’s all-round effort, India Legends registered their second successive victory in as many matches in the ongoing Road Safety World Series, beating against Sri Lanka Legends by five wickets.
After picking up all important wicket of in-form Romesh Kaluwitharana, 37-year-old Pathan smashed an entertaining 31-ball 57 not out to help India chase down Lanka’s 138 with eight balls to spare at the DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai, on Tuesday night.
The Indian Legends had a difficult start to their chase as they lost openers Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and two-drop Yuvraj Singh with just 19 runs on the scoreboard.
It needed a special partnership for an India victory. Mohammad Kaif with Sanjay Bangar tried to bring the team back on track with a 43-run stand. However, Lanka’s left-arm spinner Rangana Herath got the scalp of Bangar putting India in further trouble. Kaif, who looked good in the middle, too, returned after scoring 46.
India needed a Pathan special and the man from Vadodara delivered with quick-fire half century that included three sixes and six fours.
Pathan, along with Manpreet Singh Gony, changed the course of the game hitting 26 runs in the 16th over bowled by Farveez Mahroof before finishing the match in Tillakratne Dilshan’s over.
Earlier, Munaf Patel showed why he was a vital cog in the Indian team line-up during his international playing days. His accuracy with seam movements once again reaped major dividends when he scalped four for 19 for India Legends to restrict Sri Lanka Legends for 138 for the loss of eight wickets in 20 overs.
Other than Patel, all the other bowlers chipped in with a wicket apiece barring left-arm spinner Pragan Oha.
Put into bat by Tendulkar, the Lankans managed a decent start with openers Dilshan and Romesh Kaluwitharana putting on 46 runs for the first wicket. The latter was as devastating as he was in the earlier game.
Pathan, who opened the bowling with Zaheer Khan, was at the receiving end of Kaluwitharana’s wrath having being whacked for successive boundaries in the second over.
However, Patel drew the first blood by scalping Dilshan in the seventh over. As Kaluwitharana was going good, Pathan bounced back to dismiss him by trapping him LBW with a beautiful in-swing delivery for 23.
Marvan Atapattu followed him soon after wicket-keeper Sameer Dighe took a brilliant diving catch off Gony’s bowling. The Indian bowlers kept it tight at both ends and kept on taking wickets at regular intervals. Barring Kaluwitharana and Chamara Kapugedara, none of the visiting side batsman could score beyond 20.