Growing up in Baroda,Yusuf and Irfan Pathan would have dreamt,perhaps,of winning a match for the country,against all odds. On Tuesday,as they leapt,pumped their fists and hugged deliriously after engineering a thrilling three-wicket win,it seemed they were celebrating more than just a Twenty20 victory.
It was Yusuf who made an impact first,with the ball,when he stemmed the flow of runs with a couple of wickets just as Lanka were getting ready for a mighty assault. But there was work to be done still. Chasing 172,India were looking down the barrel after a flurry of wickets left them at 115 for 7 in 15.1 overs. However,Irfan unleashed a flurry of big shots to power the team past the finish line.
The win had looked unlikely after a horrid start saw them slip to 14 for two with both Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir back in the hut. The left-handed duo of Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina had a handy partnership to set a platform,but when Ravindra Jadeja fell,the India chase was in tatters.
They needed 40 off the last four overs,which came down to 18 off the last two. Dilhara Fernando leaked 13 in the penultimate over and Irfan finished it off in style,thumping the expensive Lasith Malinga over mid-wicket for a six to seal victory with four delivers to spare.
All in all,the brothers had picked up three wickets among themselves and wrapped things up with a manic 59-run stand off just 25 deliveries to make Tuesday nights thriller very much a family affair.
Sri Lanka,in contrast,were off to a great start after skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan won the toss and decided to bat.
Along with veteran Sanath Jayasuriya,he made sure the hosts were galloping off the blocks. Jayasuriya used the pace and length of Ishant Sharma to sprinkle the powerplay with his big hits the left-hander hit Ishant for two contemptuous sixes in his second over,one front-foot drive over cover and the second one a short-arm jab over mid-wicket.
Zaheer Khan,at the other end,looked ineffective as well,as the opening stand fetched 59 inside six overs.
Jayasuriyas departure put the brakes on the breakneck scoring rate but Dilshan hung around to shepherd the new-look middle-order.
The Indian spinners,Yusuf and Ravindra Jadeja,mixed their deliveries well and gave little room or air to the Lankan batsmen. Though the young left-armer was unlucky not to pick up a wicket,Yusuf dismissed both Jehan Mubarak and Chamara Kapugedera.
But its understandable if the elder Pathan remembers just the winning moments of the match from this day.