Pathan brothers blitz past Sri Lankans (Lead)

February 11th, 2009 - 12:49 am ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Feb 10 (IANS) India’s Pathan brothers - Irfan and Yousuf - scripted a dramatic turnaround leading to a thrilling three-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the one-off Twenty20 match here Tuesday night.

Chasing 172, India were down in the dumps at seven for 115 before Irfan (33 off 16 balls) and Yousuf (22 off 10)smashed an unbeaten 59-run stand in just 31 balls.

Irfan hit two fours and two sixes while Yousuf had one four and two sixes to make a mockery of the Sri Lankan bowlers, who were going great guns before the duo joined forces.

Incidentally, it was a day of siblings, as the Hussey brothers - Michael and David - led Australia to victory against New Zealand in the fourth one-dayer of the Chappell-Hadlee series Tuesday.

Here at the Premadasa Stadium which was hosting its first Twenty20 game, Yousuf was first to go on the offensive when he blasted spinner Malinga Bandara for 17 runs in five balls after the Sri Lankan removed Ravinder Jadeja in the first ball. Before that Bandara was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers, claiming three wickets.

The match suddenly changed momentum when Irfan joined Yousuf in belting Sri Lankan bowlers to silence the crowd.

With 18 runs required from 12 balls, Irfan hit Dilhara Fernando for 13 runs, including a six and four. Irfan finished in style when he dismissed Malinga’s second ball of the last over for a six.

Earlier, Suresh Raina (35 off 27) and Yuvraj Singh (32 off 21) added 67 runs for the third wicket before the middle order crumbled.

The Sri Lankan innings revolved around Tillakratne Dilshan, who was leading Sri Lanka for the first time.

Veteran Sanath Jayasuriya and Dilshan gave a perfect start to Sri Lanka with 59 runs in six overs.

They opened up strongly, smashing 38 runs in four overs with Ishant Sharma being hit all over the park.

Jayasuriya blasted three fours and two sixes in 17 balls while Dilshan’s 47-ball knock included seven fours and one six.

Irfan provided the breakthrough to India, dismissing Jayasuriya.

Dilshan was joined by Jehan Mubarak and they added 28 runs. The run rate slowed down in the middle overs and Sri Lanka could add only 36 in seven overs.

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