Yusuf Pathan launched a savage attack on New Zealand's bowlers in Bangalore yesterday to carry India to a come-from-behind five-wicket victory that made it four out of four in their five-match one-day international (ODI) series.
Pathan hit seven sixes and seven fours in a 96-ball onslaught that extended the tourists' slump - they have not won an international match since August 10.
"I have never seen something like this," India's captain, Gautam Gambhir, said at the presentation after Pathan was named man of the match. "I have always said Yusuf can finish games on his own, and that's what he did today."
New Zealand's captain, Daniel Vettori, concurred. "We were in the game but Yusuf Pathan was pretty amazing," said Vettori. "Yusuf took the game away."
"This is very special for me," said Pathan. "We needed some runs because we were behind on D/L [the Duckworth/Lewis method of calculating the result of rain-affected matches]. The innings could be the turning point for my life and my career."
New Zealand's prospects of ending their protracted slump looked good when they made an impressive 315 for the loss of seven wickets to set the hosts a formidable target, with James Franklin contributing an unbeaten 98 that included 12 fours and three sixes.
India started less than convincingly, and had lost five wickets for just over 200 when rain started to fall. When a light drizzle turned into a downpour, it looked as though there might be no further play, which would have given New Zealand a comfortable win under D/L.
But the weather eventually eased, and when play resumed Pathan smacked the first ball he received, from Vettori, for a six and an indication of what was to follow - the onslaught that carried India home with seven balls to spare.