Road Safety World Series: Pathan helps India Legends edge Sri Lanka Legends by five wickets

Coming in at a time when India was staring at a defeat -- having lost four wickets for 62 -- Irfan Pathan kept his cool and guided the team.

Irfan Pathan celebrates India Legends' victory over Sri Lanka Legends in a Road Safety World Series T20 match at the D. Y. Patil stadium on Tuesday.

Irfan Pathan celebrates India Legends' victory over Sri Lanka Legends in a Road Safety World Series T20 match at the D. Y. Patil stadium on Tuesday.   -  Vivek Bendre

India Legends rode on Irfan Pathan’s quick-fire 57 off 31 balls to beat Sri Lanka Legends by five wickets in an UnAcademy Road Safety World Series fixture on Tuesday.

At a time when clouds of uncertainty hover over various sporting events, including the Indian Premier League (IPL), due to the fear surrounding the coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak, 34,000 fans turned up at the DY Patil International Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

Coming in at a time when India was staring at a defeat -- having lost four wickets -- Pathan kept his cool and guided the team, crafting his innings with six boundaries and three sixes.

Opting to field first, India managed to restrict Sri Lanka to 138-8, courtesy a four-wicket haul by Munaf Patel.

With a low total on the board, one might have thought India would romp home easily, but pacer Chaminda Vaas had other ideas. He dismissed Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh in quick successions, reducing India to 19-3 within 4.2 overs.

READ | Chahal wears mask on way to Dharamsala for first ODI

After a fine show against the West Indies in the previous game, expectations were high from Tendulkar, but a sharp catch by Romesh Kaluwitharana saw the Indian icon depart for a duck. A while later, Sehwag took the long walk back too, run out for three.

With both the openers gone, Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj had to step up. However, Yuvraj could manage only a single before being caught by Kaluwitharana off Vaas.

Sanjay Bangar, in at number five, fell shortly after, even as Kaif tried to steady the ship. With the side reeling at 81-4, Kaif, who scored 46, was sent packing by off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake. India still needed 58 runs, with five wickets in hand, to win the tie.

And that’s when, Pathan took things in his stride and went hammer and tongs at the Lankan bowlers, helping his side romp home, with seven balls to spare.

For Kaif, too, it was a day to remember. Before letting his willow do the talking, Kaif had taken a couple of stunning catches -- that of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chamara Kapugedara -- to bring back memories of his playing days.

Despite packing early punches, the Lankans failed to keep the momentum going. The absence of Muttiah Muralitharan -- who suffered an injury -- hurt them further.

  Dugout videos