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Prajakta Pawar in Bengaluru 02 June 2014 - 03:24am IST

Yusuf Pathan relives 'unbelievable' journey

Batsman speaks about KKR’s campaign and their victory over a tough KXIP side

It was the third time in seven seasons that Yusuf Pathan was part of the team that lifted the Indian Premier League trophy. The Kolkata Knight Riders big-hitting batsman struck four sixes during his 22-ball 36-run cameo in the 71-run partnership for the third wicket with Manish Pandey.

During his team’s successful chase of a challenging 200-run target in the Pepsi IPL 2014 Final against Kings XI Punjab, Yusuf took the attack to the bowlers, while Pandey smashed a brilliant 94 off 50 balls. While talking to IPLT20.com after the nail-biting finish, the soft-spoken Knight Rider talked about his team’s journey to the title, and the run-chase in the Final.

Excerpts from his interview:

Talk us through your partnership with Manish Pandey where he was also looking to give you the strike?

I was striking the ball well and the partnership was also going well. I think if the shot had come off, we would have probably won the game with two overs to spare. Since I was striking the ball, he was trying to give me the strike. We were picking which ball to hit and which not to, because the wicket was good and the outfield was also quick. We were looking for one big over. We knew if we get one big over, then the game would have tilted in our favour.

Given the situation, would you say it was important to take risks as well?

Yes, definitely. It was as important to take the risks as well as playing watchfully, and we handled both aspects well. We played aggressive cricket where needed and were careful when required. At the end of the day, it was a good effort.

What were you telling yourself while batting?

When I was at the wicket, I knew that even if I play six dot-balls, I can hit 25 runs in another over. Besides, Manish was batting well at the other end. So, we were supporting each other and we said that we would try and hit the ball in the right areas.

What was it like in the dugout when Suryakumar Yadav also got out and KKR were seven wickets down?

We had full faith in Piyush Chawla that he would win us the game. He is a good cricketer and scores well in domestic cricket as well.

You are part of an IPL winning team once again. How does it feel?

Obviously, it feels very good. I am feeling great and now I have been part of a trophy-winning team thrice, and each time my parents have been watching from the stands. I feel proud that I have been part three title wins and that I am part of a champion team. Champions are always part of champion teams.

How would you sum up KKR’s campaign?

It was unbelievable! We have played very good cricket. At the top of the line-up, Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir have given good starts to win the tournament. No matter what the target is, if you don’t get a good start in the first six overs, then it is difficult to win a match. And they have done that for us. And whoever got the opportunity to stay at the crease played well and the bowlers performed well too. As a team, we did what needed to be done to win in every area. We played to our strengths and didn’t think too much about our negatives. We have a lot of positives in our team and we worked on those and continued to play, the result of which is in front of you.

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