Mumbai, Mar 28 (): Irfan hit a crucial 36 not out in 23 balls to help Baroda post a competitive 149 for 6 after they were struggling at 91 for 5 at the Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai to win Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament. The left-hander smashed five fours and a six in his style, including three fours in two overs towards the end of the innings.
After the Ranji Trophy crown by Baroda in 2001, it was Baroda’s first senior title in 12 years.
Baroda electing to bat lost its opener Aditya Waghmode in the very first over. Yusuf Pathan (27) struck two sixes as he looked to resurrect Baroda’s inning. Irfan walked in at No. 7 at the fall of his brother Yusuf Pathan’s wicket and turned an underwhelming 91 for 5 into a sturdier 149 for 6.
Chasing the modest total, Punjab struggled in the game after having lost their openers Chandan Madan and Sarul Kanwar with only 9 on the board.
Harbhajan with the ball gave away 35 runs without a wicket, had struck a four and a six in his 8-ball stay and appeared to be taking the game away when he was dismissed after Punjab were on 133 in the 18th over. The match got twisted as Harbhajan Singh was run-out due to a fine piece of fielding by Irfan, who stopped the ball on his follow through and flicked it at the stumps.
Irfan, after the win said, “In bowling also I am really happy, especially the last two overs, the way I actually bowled the length that I needed to bowl at the death overs. Especially those Yorkers came out really well. The ball was doing a little bit. That helped also, at the same time, am pretty confident especially after the game. It was needed in terms of my personal point view, feeling good.”
He added, “For bowlers like me who gets better with rhythm, I wanted to keep playing wherever I could, that’s why I came here to play.”
Irfan Pathan also praised the Punjab bowlers who troubled Baroda a great deal in the initial overs.