Pathan had a great deal of luck as he was dropped twice, but in this innings, he found the form he is capable of as he smashed five fours and seven sixes and recorded a 327.27 strike rate.
With Kolkata needing to reach their target in 15.2 overs or less to secure second place in the table, Pathan’s knock could not have come at a better time.
His innings, the fastest ever half-century in the IPL’s history, means the Knight Riders now have two chances to reach the tournament’s final and was one to remember from this year.
Opening Phase: Balls 1-4
In his opening four balls, there was little sign of what was to come from Pathan, as he scored a single from each of his opening deliveries.
It was a slog that went straight to the fielder, but Anirudha shelled it and would come to rue his mistake in the coming overs.
Second Phase: Balls 5-10
In the space of just six balls, Pathan moved from having scored four runs to 31 in a spell of sustained aggression that saw him smite a number of boundaries and also be dropped once again.
Three sixes and two fours as well as a single to long-on meant Pathan helped his side accelerate perhaps beyond their wildest dreams, with Steyn’s drop going for the maximum to compound Hyderabad’s misery.
On the back of Pathan’s extraordinary sequence of boundaries, Kolkata had the momentum and were now supremely confident of reaching their target, especially if the Indian could keep going.
Third Phase: Balls 11-19
There was something of a lull initially in the next phase, as Pathan pushed for two runs, but then order was restored as he hammered another enormous six to the delight of the watching fans.
Then after another single, an extraordinary display of boundary-hitting followed as he hit a four followed by two consecutive sixes and two consecutive fours.
In the space of just five deliveries, Pathan scored an astonishing 24 runs off the hapless Steyn, who could do little to prevent the batsman from clearing the rope at Eden Gardens.
Pathan reached his 50 from just his 15th ball—beating Adam Gilchrist’s record of 17 balls for the fastest ever IPL half-century—as he sent a maximum sailing over midwicket.
Steyn’s over ended up going for 26—his most expensive ever in IPL—as Pathan hit a two from the last ball to reach 66 from just 19 deliveries.
Final Phase: Balls 20-22
There followed an anomaly, as the 20th ball of Pathan’s innings was a dot, the first he had played since arriving at the crease.
Order was then restored from his 21st as Karn Sharma was once again dispatched over the rope for six more, with Pathan now at 72 from just 21 balls.
Unfortunately for Kolkata fans—and many more neutrals—the fun ended with the next delivery as Sharma got his man.
Pathan was aiming for another six but could only pick out the hands of Shikhar Dhawan at deep midwicket, and he made no mistake.
However, the Knight Riders went on to win the match, and it was Pathan’s innings that made the difference.
His 72 from 22 was enormously helpful in them reaching their target with plenty of time to spare, with Kolkata moving up to second by virtue of an improved net run rate.
Pathan’s talent has never been in doubt, and innings such as Saturday prove that when on form he can destroy any bowling attack.
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