Road Safety World Series: Irfan Pathan, Manpreet Gony’s mad-hitting goes in vain against Kevin Pietersen’s England


A heroic display by Irfan Pathan combined with some mad hitting by Manpreet Gony kept the spectators on the edge of their seats as India Legends endured a six-run defeat against England Legends in an enthralling encounter at the ongoing Road Safety World Series on Tuesday. A total of 71 runs came off the final five overs as India Legends fell short by mere six runs while chasing a stiff 189-run target against Kevin Pietersen-led England Legends.

Both the Indian batsmen remained unbeaten as Irfan scored 61 from 34 deliveries, while Gony fetched 35 from 16 balls, which included four sixes and one four.  

The proceedings kicked-off with India Legends skipper Sachin Tendulkar winning the toss and inviting England Legends to bat first. The opening pair of Phil Mustard and England Legends skipper Kevin Pietersen provided the tourists with a brisk start, adding 45 runs in the first four overs, before Mustard was dismissed by Munaf Patel on 14(15). 

However, Pietersen continued the attack on Indian bowlers and went on to stitch a crucial 82-run partnership with Darren Maddy, before Irfan provided the hosts with the much-needed breakthrough by dismissing Maddy on 29 (27). 

Irfan then also ended Pietersen innings, but the damage was already done as former England cricketer played a blistering knock of 75 runs from 37 deliveries, which eventually saw the tourists post a daunting 188/7 in their 20 overs. 

Apart from Pietersen, no other England batsmen fired big as Yusuf Pathan emerged as the leading wicket-taker from the Indian camp. Yusuf scalped three wickets in three overs but failed to put the brakes on England’s scoring rate as he conceded 28 runs. Meanwhile, Yusuf’s brother Irfan and Mumaf Patel combined to pick two wickets each. 

In response, the Indian Legends kicked-off the run-chase on a poor start as they lost star batsmen Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, and Mohammed Kaif inside the first three overs. Monty Panesar, who was the star among the England bowlers, maintained the pressure on the hosts as India were soon reduced to 56/5 in 8.2 overs. 

By the time, India reached the three-figure mark it felt the contest was already out of their sight as India had then lost six wickets and less than seven overs were remaining in the contest. 

However, what followed next was an absolute delight for the Indian cricket enthusiasts, irrespective of the outcome, as Irfan rekindled what he used to do best from his prime years. 

The left-handed batsman, who had a decent day with the ball, went on to hit a half-century and by the time the game was over, Irfan’s strike-rate was soaring at 179.41. Meanwhile, the all-rounder found great support from seamer Gony, who bedazzled the crowd with a 16-ball 35 but in the end failed to take the team home by a mere margin.   

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Sagar Biswas

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