Legends League Cricket: Pankaj-Yusuf roar in India Maharaja's stunning six-wicket victory against Kallis' World Giants
The troika of Pankaj Singh, Yusuf Pathan and Tanmay Srivastava scripted India Maharaja's stunning six-wicket victory over World Giants in a special exhibition game at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The game was played ahead of Legends League Cricket, beginning on Saturday (September 17).
After Panka's fantastic fifer, Srivastava and Yusuf smashed brilliant half centuries and put up a century stand to bail their team out from a precarious position. Srivastava scored 54 off 39, while Yusuf remained unbeaten on 50 off 35 balls. Irfan then finished the game with his 9-ball 20, decorated with three sixes as India Maharajas overhauled a 171-run target with eight balls to spare.
Yusuf had slammed the second-fastest IPL fifty in 15 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad here in their triumphant 2014 campaign, showed his old fury again.
Yusuf, a winner of three IPL titles, struck all around the Eden including a huge six off Daniel Vettori into the stands in his assault to lead the charge. In all, he struck two sixes and five fours.
No 3 Tanmay Srivastava (54) gave a fine support at the other end as the duo put together a match-turning 103-run partnership after Maharajas were reduced to 50/3 after the powerplay in pursuit of a challenging 171.
It was time for Harbhajan to roll back the years at this favourite venue Eden Gardens where he had become the first Indian bowler to claim a Test hattrick in the epic 2001 Test win against Australia.
Leading the side after Virender Sehwag opted out of captaincy, the veteran offspinner bowled Jacques Kallis round the legs and also took catches, including a well-judged backward running to dismiss Romesh Kaluwitherna to have the 15,000-odd crowd on its feet.
But the star of the day was tall pacer Pankaj Singh, who returned with 5/26 which included a maiden over as World Giants managed 170/8 after they opted to bat.
The proceeds from this benefit match will be handed over to Kapil Dev's NGO, which bats for girl child education. Earlier, former India captain and BCCI president Sourav Ganguly expressed his inability to actively participate as a cricketer in the benefit match, but said he will be extending all his support at the iconic venue. Virender Sehwag will be leading Gujarat Giants in the tournament opener against Gautam Gambhir's India Capitals in the tournament opener on Saturday. The competition is being played in India for the first time.