Chasing in the fourth innings of a first-class match is very difficult as we all know. On top of that, chasing 536 runs on a turning track on day four or five is outrageous to think about. But, that is exactly what West Zone did in the final of the Duleep Trophy on this day back in 2010. This was possible on the back of an unimaginable knock played by Yusuf Pathan. It is tough to believe that today because a lot of people might just think of him as a white-ball specialist, but there was a time when he forced his way into the Indian team on the back of this innings in a red-ball match.
Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad hosted the match. West Zone had a star-studded lineup with Wasim Jaffer, Ravindra Jadeja and the two Pathan brothers, Irfan and Yusuf and they were up against South Zone.
The match started with South Zone winning a crucial toss and opting to bat first. Their captain Dinesh Karthik played an outstanding knock of 183 to take his side’s first innings score to 400. West Zone succumbed to the pressure of the final and was bowled out for 251. Had it not been for Yusuf’s 76 ball-108, West Zone would have found themselves at a much worse place.
As the second innings started, hopes of a West Zone comeback was put to bed by Karthik. The stylish batsman scored another century, this time 150 runs off just 166 balls. His knock alongside C Gautam’s 88 took South Zone to 386 for 9. At this moment, Karthik declared the innings as the lead was 535. At the time, some might have suggested that Karthik should have declared the innings before itself, but maybe he had a hint of what was to follow.
The phenomenal knock
As the match went into the fourth day, West Zone was staring at a huge defeat. But, after a good start by openers, the nerves in their dressing room might have settled a little. At 239 for 3, Yusuf Pathan walked into bat. What followed was some counter-attacking batsmanship of high class by the Baroda player. South Zone kept taking wickets from the other end, but Yusuf was in the zone.
#OnThisDay, 2010, Hyderabad
West Zone did the unthinkable to win Duleep Trophy vs South Zone
Scored a mammoth 541 to win the title through Yusuf Pathan’s 210* (190) which incl. 19 4s, 10 6s
Had already scored ? in 1st inn.
Can any team break this record in our domestic cricket? pic.twitter.com/DB4tKxfqld
— North Stand Gang – Wankhede (@NorthStandGang) February 6, 2020
He smashed each and every bowler who came his way. He hit 19 fours and 10 sixes in the innings. When at 189, he hit two back to back sixes to get to a double century. He ended with a score of 210 runs off just 190 balls. Interestingly, he also hit a massive six to finish the chase as well. His team won the match by three wickets.
This knock and the run-chase has since gone down as one of the best moments in the history of Indian domestic cricket. Until today, it is the highest score chased successfully by any team in first-class cricket. Even though Yusuf didn’t play for the Indian team in Test cricket, we can only wonder what kind of a player he could have been.