Rashid Khan may have surprised many with his absolute blinder with the bat against Kolkata Knight Riders in the second qualifier but for the Sunrisers Hyderabad camp it was ‘not a surprise’, said veteran Yusuf Pathan. At a time when 150 looked tough, Rashid came out to bat at No 8 and slammed an unbeaten 10-ball 34 as Hyderabad scored 50 runs in the last three overs to post a total of 174/7 in their 14-run victory in Kolkata on Friday night.
“We were never surprised by his knock. Many a times he scored in sixes and boundaries in the Big Bash and other franchise tournaments across the world. He has contributed with quickfire cameos of 20-30s,” Yusuf said at the post-match news conference. Tidy bowling by Kolkata spinners Kuldeep Yadav(2/29) and Sunil Narine (1/24) had stifled the Sunrisers after Dinesh Karthik opted to bowl but Rashid changed the complexion of the game.
“He always had the ability to bat that’s why he was promoted by one place. Against Chennai also he hit a couple of sixes. We never doubted his ability,” Yusuf said. 2016 champions Sunrisers thus snapped a four-match losing streak in the match that mattered most to book the final berth for a second time.
“This was the most important match. We knew we got the liberty to play an extra match in the playoffs by virtue of finishing at the top,” Yusuf said. “We believed in our abilities and won today’s important match as a team. The two best sides have reached the final and whosoever plays better will win,” he said about the summit clash against Chennai in Mumbai tomorrow.
“Chennai have been playing well throughout the season. Our focus will be on playing well and we will hope to continue with the good work.” A three-time IPL winner, Yusuf has been going through a lean patch this season as he scored just 215 runs at an average of 23.88 and a modest strike rate of 122.85.
Yusuf, however, said the team was happy with his form. “Hitting sixes is always not needed. We have to see what the team needs and how to play out 20 overs. Maybe sixes are not coming from my bat, but whatever I have played the team is benefiting from that. I am happy with the way I am batting and my coaching staff and skipper is also pleased,” he said.