On September 24, 2007 as India were gearing up for the summit clash against Pakistan in the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup, Yusuf Pathan was handed the responsiblity to fill in the big boots of destructive opener Virender Sehwag. He contributed 15 with the bat and also chipped in with the ball as India went on to beat Pakistan by 5 runs and become the first side to lift the T20 trophy.
Over the years, Pathan's role shifted from being an opener to more of a finisher, considering his hard-hitting abilities, something which was also acknowledged by his younger brother Irfan on Friday, as the former announced his retirement from the sport.
You have been a champion player Lala. Bowlers use to fear bowling to you
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) February 26, 2021
The swashbuckling all-rounder featured in 57 ODIs and 22 T20Is for India and made 174 appearances in the lucrative Indian Premier League, where Pathan made appearances for three IPL franchises - Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Today we look back at some of the top innings played by senior Pathan in the lucrative T20 league:
Mumbai Indians survive Pathan storm
Despite ending on the losing side, Pathan's blistering knock against Mumbai Indians will always be remembered by the cricket enthusiasts. Pathan ripped apart the Mumbai bowlers, slamming a ton in just 37 deliveries, which also was the fastest ton at that time and second-fastest of all time.
Chasing a daunting 213 against the likes Lasith Malinga, Rajasthan found themselves reeling at 66/4 midway during the course of the innings. However, just when Mumbai began to think of securing a massive win over their opponent, Pathan showed that he had other ideas.
The all-rounder dominated the middle overs as he slammed Ali Murtaza for three consecutive sixes, and smashed Rajagopal Sathish with a 26-run over. Such was Pathan's approach that he didn't hesitate to reach his maiden IPL ton with a maximum, but his innings was soon cut short as Sathish managed to deflect the ball onto the non-strikers' stumps.
Never forget. 100 (37).
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) February 26, 2021
Decoding Mendis mystery
Ajanta Mendis burst into the scene and left everyone bamboozled by his mysterious spin deliveries. However, while featuring for Kolkata Knight Riders against Rajasthan Royals in 2009, the Sri Lankan spinner got a taste of Pathan's power-hitting, when the explosive all-rounder hit the bowler all over the park to help his side win the contest.
Requring 16 in the Super Over, the right-handed batsman dealt in sixes and slammed Mendis for three maximums and closed the game in just four balls.
Ahead of the Super Over, Pathan also emerged as the top-scorer from the Rajasthan camp as he hit 42 runs from 21 deliveries.
Pathan plays instrumental role in Rajasthan Royals only IPL triumph
The all-rounder was part of the Rajasthan Royals unit that won the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008. He scored a brilliant half-century in the finale against MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings as he finished the innings with 56 runs from 39 balls.
During the course of his innings, Pathan also stitched a crucial 65-run partnership with Shane Watson for the fourth wicket and with the ball he picked three wickets. He was also named the Man of the Match for his efforts in the finale.
Pathan does it again for KKR
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) February 26, 2021
After switching alliance from Rajasthan to Kolkata, Pathan went on to lift his second IPL trophy in 2014. In a contest against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the same season, the right-handed batsman made sure that KKR end the league stage at the number two position in the points table.
Chasing a challenging 161 against SRH, Gautam Gambhir-led KKR found themselves struggling at 78/4 when Pathan arrived in the scene. He made his presence felt and knocked 72 runs from 22 deliveries and laid the platform for KKR to earn a thrilling win.