Kolkata Knight Riders' Yusuf Pathan celebrates his half century against Pune Warriors during their T20 League match at JSCA Stadium in Ranchi. (PTI Photo)
An unprecedented incident in the Indian domestic Twenty20 league knocked out defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders from the play-offs just when they were coasting towards overhauling a stiff target. A much-awaited onslaught from Yusuf Pathan finally came true only for the batsman to be given out for obstructing the field.
Digging out a full delivery in the 18th over, Pathan set off for a run when his right boot appeared to touch the ball. The third umpire deemed it an infraction but somehow Wayne Parnell trying to stop Pathan was overlooked. KKR batsman Ryan ten Doeschate said Pune were within their right to appeal but pointed out that Jacques Kallis's run out appeal last week against Pune was not taken on face value.
Kallis had then claimed that Robin Uthappa's drive had come off his foot and hit the stumps at the non striker's end with Aaron Finch out of the crease but the third umpire didn't rule him out due to inconclusive TV replays.
KKR were staring down the barrel pretty early in the chase. If Manvinder Bisla's dismissal was a blow, Parnell uprooting Kallis's stumps before even he could get his bat down provided ominous signs of things to come. And Gambhir confirmed that feeling with an atrocious shot, top-edging Ishwar Pandey to Yuvraj Singh at mid-off.
At 29/3, chasing 171 looked a distant dream, having also erred by conceding too many runs. At one point more sixes than fours were hit by Warriors and it was mostly due to KKR bowlers getting their length wrong, be it Balaji, Kallis or the usually miserly Rajat Bhatia.
Sachithra Senanayake got the right start again but Balaji was punished by Finch for dropping the ball short.
Senanayake's persistence finally paid off when Robin Uthappa dragged him onto his stumps and a Balaji delivery that stayed low accounted for Finch. But Yuvraj smashed 30 off 20 balls after Manish Pandey's crucial 47-ball 66.
With Ten Doeschate and Pathan together, the match looked done and dusted till Pathan's freak dismissal altered the game. Sensible bowling by Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Angelo Mathews and poor batting by Debabrata Das ensured KKR had finally run out of luck.