Irfan Pathan helped Delhi Daredevils start their Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign with a classy victory over Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens on Thursday night.
The experienced all-rounder smashed an unbeaten 42-run-knock from 20 balls to steer the side to an outstanding victory. Chasing 98 in a rain-hit contest, the Daredevils were in deep trouble after losing an early wicket.
However, Pathan took responsibility on his shoulders and fished his team out of the troubled waters. Taking to reporters in the post-match press conference, he insisted that the downpour helped Eden Gardens track become favourable for batting.
"The wicket just got better. I’ve played at the Eden earlier and it’s always on the slower side. Probably it (the wicket) got settled because of the rain. The ball came nicely to the bat," said Irfan, who was adjudged the man of the match.
"It was coming nicely to bat. His pace, it seemed, was just right for batting on this pitch. Absolutely, it was a good toss to win. In shorter games you generally tend to panic. If you bat first you don’t know what target to set,” he added.
“Morne changed the whole momentum for us. When you lose two wickets in an over, it’s tough to set a target. But they (Kolkata Knight Riders) are a good side. They still came close to us. It’s a good win for us. It can take us a long way."
Irfan faced his elder brother Yousuf Pathan in a critical situation in the game. Both are quality cricketers, but it was certainly Irfan’s day, as he slammed a boundary to his brother to make the equation in favour of Dehli.
On facing his brother, he stated, "That’s the only thing I don’t look forward to. He is my brother and I’ve emotional attachment. He will be with me for the whole my life. Somewhere down the line he was bowling a crucial over and I hit a four. Hope my family
is not too angry with me."
He also thanked Virender Sehwag for promoting him up the order, adding, "Viru bhai wanted one left-hander at the top. I thank him for giving me the opportunity. I could express myself well."