Irfan Pathan has been in the wickets in every game he’s played for Kings XI Punjab but their sixth game, against the Kolkata Knight Riderts in Mohali, was a special one for him. First he stuck around to score 24 from 26 balls, the third-highest score of the innings, when Punjab were struggling and then nipped out two early wickets before signing off with a tight last over. That was more than enough for the adjudicators to give him the Man-of-the-Match award.
Pathan came in with Punjab in a spot of bother but his level-headedness was soon coming to the fore. Umar Gul was bowling a great spell but Pathan ducked and swayed, cut and flicked singles to rotate the strike with Kumar Sangakkara. Soon the danger was thwarted and Pahan was driving doubles and dropping soft-handed singles into the gaps. There were only two boundaries in his innings but a solid presence at one end allowed Sangakkara to play some gorgeous shots and Piyush Chawla smashed 21 off the final over.
Then came an excellently-judged catch down at third man to give Punjab their first wicket. Sourav Ganguly got back and uppercut a short ball outside off stump right down Pathan's throat at third man, positioning himself to pouch it just inside the boundary. That effort done, Pathan then stepped up with the new ball. A super six from Mohammad Hafeez was the only blemish in his opening over and in his second he struck gold, cleaning up the batsman with a straight delivery and then nailing the dangerous Brad Hodge leg-before with the final ball. That over was full of swing and movement as Pathan pitched it up and had Hodge in all sorts of trouble. That over left Kolkata needing a mountain to climb.
Lastly, Pathan came back to bowl with final over with Kolkata needing 19 to win. He allowed just eight and Punjab had clinched their fourth win in a row.