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Yusuf Pathan cracks maiden ton as India close in towards 5-0

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Yusuf Pathan 123 not out Vs New Zealand at BangaloreIndia is heading towards inflicting a 5-0 cleansweep over New Zealand after successfully chasing a record target of 316 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. A rain interruption which lasted about an hour raised hopes of a Kiwi victory with India 17 runs short of the then Duckworth Lewis Target but the two super soppers of the Stadium ensured that play resumed again for Yusuf Pathan to power India to a victory. Pathan slammed his maiden ODI Century which might have sealed a place in the World Cup Squad!

Toss and Teams

The hosts went in with a new look team for this match with Parthiv Patel replacing Wriddhiman Saha, Rohit Sharma coming in for Murali Vijay, Saurabh Tiwary for Ravindra Jadeja and Praveen Kumar for Munaf Patel. New Zealand had Brendon McCullum taking over the keeping duties as the axe fell on Gareth Hopkins while Southee got into the side in his place. Jamie How replaced Kane Williamson at no.3. India once again won the toss and asked New Zealand to bat first.

New Zealand Innings

It was an electrifying start from the Kiwis this time with Brendon McCullum and Martin Huptill playing their shots at will. It was in the 9th over that India found its first breakthrough when Martin Guptill (30 from 25 balls) slapped Nehra into the hands of Yuvraj at covers. The hosts got back into the groove taking two more wickets – Jamie How (edging Nehra to slip) and Brendon McCullum (42 from 42 balls with 8 fours and a six) sweeping Ashwin to mid wicket to have the Kiwis at 91 for 3 in 13.2 overs.

The Kiwis consolidated towards getting a launchpad for the slog overs through the 4th wicket partnership between Ross Taylor and Scott Styris which took the score to 170 for 4 before the latter perished chipping Yusuf Pathan to deep mid wicket. Styris fell after a good looking 46 from 48 balls with 3 fours and a six. Ross Taylor after adding 40 more runs to the Kiwi total fell in the 38th over to the first ball of the Batting Powerplay when he played along the wrong line to an Ashwin off break to get lbw. Taylor missed out on a big score and had to settle for a slow 44 from 73 balls with 3 fours.

New Zealand were slightly pushed back at 210 for 5 in the 38th over and India had the opportunity to restrict them to something below 270. However, James Franklin who was fresh from his maiden ODI fifty surprised everyone with his effortless big shots to ease New Zealand past the 300-run mark. Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills provided him support with their respective cameos. Franklin took Ashish Nehra to the cleaners in the final over which went for as many as 22 runs and the left hander finished on 98 not out in just 69 balls with a dozen fours and three sixes. This time, India’s best bowler was Yusuf Pathan with 9-0-49-3.

India Innings

India in their chase got off to a slow start with Parthiv Patel playing far too many dot ball but he soon found the gaps to keep the scoreboard moving in the company of the in-form Gautam Gambhir. The hosts moved smoothly towards a score of 67 inside the first 10 overs before Skipper Gautam Gambhir (27 from 24 balls with 4 fours) got out cutting Andy McKay towards Guptill at backward point. India received another jolt to their chase when McKay had the other in-form batsman Virat Kohli caught at fine leg for a duck in a top edged pull shot.

In the next ten overs, India went onto lose two more wickets with Yuvraj Singh (20 from 28 balls) getting clean bowled trying to manufacture a big pull out of nowhere to a Nathan McCullum skidder. The same bowler got Parthiv Patel dancing down the track and holing out to straight long off but not before registering his maiden ODI fifty. Parthiv scored 53 from 57 balls with 8 fours while India slipped to 108 for 4 in the 20th over.

The homeside was still in the game with the attacking Rohit Sharma and Yusuf Pathan in the middle and looking to make an impact. With the World Cup just a few days away, both these batsmen wanting to prove a point to the Selectors kept their heads down to try and play the big knock. India was getting back onto the track until Rohit Sharma threw his wicket away in an attempted lofted shot off a Southee slower one to be caught by Vettori at deep mid off in the 34th over. Rohit Sharma like Ross Taylor had to settle for a modest score despite looking good at the crease, he made 44 from 48 balls with 4 fours and a six.

India moved towards 203 for 5 in 36 overs when a persisten drizzle rain halted proceedings at the Chinnaswamy Stadium with the hosts finding themselves short of the D/L Method target by 17 runs. Luckily play resumed after an hour or so and Yusuf Pathan who was on 48 brought up his 3rd fifty with a six off Vettori in the very first ball after the break! In the 39th over, India took the batting powerplay and after a couple of quiet overs managed to collect 44 runs in the five overs block.

The momentum of the chase steadily shifted towards India thanks to Yusuf Pathan’s calculated big hits. Two of the New Zealand pacers – Kyle Mills and Andy McKay got demoralized and soon New Zealand surrendered to the might of Yusuf Pathan. Saurabh Tiwary who was content taking the singles joined the party as well and India eased to the target with 7 balls to spare. 

Yusuf Pathan who smashed his maiden century in the 44th over with a six off McKay went onto make an unbeaten 123 from 96 balls with 7 fours and 7 sixes. The best six of Yusuf Pathan came in the 39th over when he clobbered a slower ball from Kyle Mills over the roof of the mid wicket gallery. Yusuf’s partner in the chase – Saurabh Tiwary helped himself to an unbeaten 37 from 39 balls with 3 fours and also a six which wrapped up the chase. Yusuf Pathan got the Man of the Match for his all-round show.

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