Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Irfan Pathan steers West Zone to thumping victory

Ahead of the IPL auction, Irfan Pathan had plenty to smile about on Monday.

Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan picked three wickets which included the prized scalps of Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Yuvraj Singh.   -  S. S. Kumar

He may have been released by his last year’s IPL franchise, Rising Pune Supergiants. Still, Irfan Pathan had a reason to smile on Monday. The veteran seamer exploded the explosive North Zone batting line-up to set up West Zone’s thumping eight-wicket victory in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Twenty20 Championship.

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In fact, Pathan’s spell of three for 10, with the prized scalps of Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Yuvraj Singh, would have impressed the sizeable IPL team coaches and scouts present in the President’s Box along with all three national selectors.

Pathan’s job was made easier by the North batsmen who committed hara-kiri and threw their wickets away. While Dhawan poked one that moved away from him to offer Kedar Jadhav a sharp chance in the slips, Pant and Yuvraj played extravagant shots against a moving ball to offer skiers on the off-side in the circle.

Barring Gautam Gambhir, who registered a second successive fifty before getting dismissed off the penultimate ball of the innings, none of the other batsmen tried to apply themselves. As a result, a target of 108 was never going to ask questions of West Zone.

Parthiv Patel and Shreyas Iyer’s quickfire partnership at the top ensured West overhaul the paltry target with more than seven overs to spare and make up for the opening day’s loss against Central Zone. Iyer along with Ankeet Bawne and Priyank Panchal will now join the India A squad for the warm-up game against visiting Australians.

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