x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Pathans power India to victory

Power hitting from the Pathan siblings ? Yusuf and his half-brother Irfan ? helped India to a thrilling three-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the one-off Twenty20 clash in Colombo.

Power hitting from the Pathan siblings ? Yusuf and his half-brother Irfan ? helped India to a thrilling three-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the one-off Twenty20 clash in Colombo. The leg-spinner Malinga Bandara had claimed three wickets in his four overs as India slipped to 115-7 in pursuit of 172. But the Pathans put on 59 runs off only 25 deliveries in an unbroken stand for the eighth wicket as the world champions India eclipsed the target with four deliveries to spare. Irfan, who brought up victory with a six, hit 33 from 16 balls, while Yusuf made 22 from 10. The captain Tillakaratne Dilshan's 61 off 47 deliveries had helped Sri Lanka to 171-4 batting first.

India lost their openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir with only 14 runs on the board but Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina steadied the innings with a 67-run stand for the third wicket. Yuvraj hammered 32 off only 21 deliveries before he was caught behind, while Raina fell shortly after for 35, holing out to deep midwicket.

India's innings then unravelled as Sri Lanka's spinners ? Bandara in particular ? tightened the screw before Irfan and Yusuf swung victory India's way. Dilshan was reduced to the role of a spectator at the start of the home innings as his opening partner, Sanath Jayasuriya, smashed 33 off only 17 balls in a stand of 59, which ended when the left-hander fell to a fine catch at mid-on by Ishant Sharma off Irfan. The part-time off-spinner Yusuf then turned in four tidy overs and took two wickets ? but Dilshan upped the ante as they set a decent target. Jayasuriya had earlier smashed India's new-ball bowlers Zaheer Khan and Ishant out of the attack. He took 18 off Ishant's second over ? including two sixes, one over cover and the second over midwicket. Dilshan, dropped on nought by Irfan, racked up 15 off Zaheer's third over. The India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni consequently brought left-arm seamer Irfan on earlier than usual ? resulting in the much-needed wicket of Jayasuriya. Dilshan raced past his 50 with a flurry of boundaries, before falling to Ishant, and Chamara Silva chipped in with some handy late hitting. *PA Sport