Yusuf Pathan stars as Rajasthan script royal escape to victory

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Mumbai, Jun 1 (UNI) Riding on his brilliant form in the tournament Yusuf Pathan single handedly ensured that the fairy tale run of Rajasthan Royals continued as they beat Chennai Super Kings by four wickets on the last ball of the 20th over to lift the inaugural DLF Indian Premier League trophy in a pulsating final at the D Y Patil stadium here today.

Pathan, after helping Rajathan Royals restrict Chennai Super Kings to 163 for five taking three for 22 in his four overs, returned to destroy the Chennai with bat also, striking a 39-ball-56 with three fours and four sixes to take the Rajasthan Royals, whom nobody had given a chance at the start of the tournament, to victory in the DLF IPL.

Set a target of 164 for victory, Rajasthan Royals opener Swapnil Asnodkar continued to impress, but the other opener Neeraj Patel could not cope with the pace of Makhaya Ntini and was dismissed by Manpreet Gony being clean bowled for 2.

However, Asnodkar the pocket sized dynamo from Goa gave a flying start to Rajasthan Royals as he square cut Manpreet Gony for two consecutive boundaries and then smashed Ntini over the covers for another boundary.

Kamran Akmal also got into the act flicking Ntini to the fine leg boundary for another four.

However, Asnodkar after making 28 of 20 balls with five hits to the fence cut the first ball from Albie Morkel straight to point where Suresh Raina made no mistake. One run later Kamran Akmal pushed the ball to mid-on and set of on a non-existent single. Ntini from mid-on was spot on with the throw and ran Akmal out for 6 as Rajasthan Royals slumped to 42 for three.

Shane Watson was then joined by Yusuf Pathan and the two set about repairing the innings with a partnership of 65 runs.

Both these batsmen set about going after the bowling as fours and sixes came at a fair clip with Pathan smashing Balaji for consecutive fours. Pathan was however lucky when Raina dropped him at midwicket of Muralitharan when he was on 13 with the score being 75 for three.

He celebrated this by hitting Muralitharan for two consecutive sixes over the long-on boundary.


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