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Irfan Pathan's County Stint
by Venu Palaparthi
Jul 06, 2005
Irfan Pathan, who returned to India after an impressive County season in Middlesex, called his stint “a rewarding yet tough experience,” which he expects would hold him in good stead for the forthcoming season in India.

Pathan did not disappoint in his stint with Middlesex. Showing a special liking for the Twenty20 format, Pathan played an important role in his county’s charge for the quarter-finals slot. Middlesex has a 4-2 win-loss record so far and trails Surrey by just one point in the South Division.

Pathan was at the top of the averages with 12 wickets from six games before his return to India. His performance is very impressive considering that Twenty20 format allows no more than 4 overs in each match to the bowler.

In fact, Pathan left Middlesex on a winning note. In his final game on July 1, Pathan took 4 for 27 against a formidable Essex side which included the Flower brothers and Ronnie Irani. He never conceded more than 31 runs in any of the games becoming a fan favorite in cricket crazy Middlesex.

In the County games, he had a different sort of success. Although he got only 5 wickets from his three matches for Middlesex, he returned an impressive average of 63 in his four outings with the bat placing him 11th over all in the batting averages. In the National League one-day competition, Pathan had more success with the ball than in the County games, with his six wickets coming at 24.66 apiece.

Here is a detailed review of his county stint:

1 July –Twenty20, South Gate

Middlesex 185 for 6 (20 overs) beat Essex 154-7 (20 overs)

(Pathan 4 overs, 27 runs, 4 wickets) Scorecard

Owais Shah pummeled a magnificent 79 including seven sixes adding 100 for the first wicket with the excellent Ed Smith (37), before a late cameo from Irfan Pathan enabled Middlesex to reach the heights of 185-6 after 20 overs. Irfan scored 21 high-octane runs off just 8 balls. His knock included two sixes.

Pathan returned an impressive 4-27 contributing to his team’s victory with both bat and ball.

29 June –Twenty20, Uxbridge

Middlesex 145 for 4 (17.2 overs) beat Kent 144-8 (20 overs)

(Pathan 4 overs, 23 runs, 1 wicket) Scorecard

Pathan provided Middlesex with a breakthrough in the second ball of the match (Mathew Walker). Kent never recovered and could post only 144-8. A target well within Middlesex's range and they were steered home in the 18th over by Owais Shah, who hit two sixes in an unbeaten 59 off 38 balls.

28 June –Twenty20, The Oval

Surrey180 for 7 (20 overs) beat Middlesex 78-4 (11 overs) in rain affected match after D/L method applied.

(Pathan 4 overs, 26 runs, 2 wickets) Scorecard

Middlesex were 78-4 after 11 overs in reply to the Lions' 180-7 when a storm hit and the Duckworth/Lewis method was applied handing Surrey victory by 22 runs. Earlier, Pathan bowled a reasonably tight 4 overs giving away 26 runs and getting 2 wickets.

25 June –Twenty20, Beckenham

Middlesex 189 for 8 (20 overs) beat Kent 160-5 (18.5 overs).

(Pathan 4 overs, 30 runs, 1 wicket) Scorecard

Ed Smith, who could not get in the Kent Spitfires' Twenty20 side last year, hit 85, with eight fours and three sixes, as the Middlesex Crusaders posted 189-8. In addition to scoring 11 useful runs off six balls (comprising a four and a six), Irfan Pathan (1-30) bowled a tight final over to complete the win.

23 June –Twenty20, Lord’s

Surrey 200 for 3 (20 overs) beat Middlesex 177 all out (19.3 overs).

(Pathan 4 overs, 31 runs, 1 wicket) Scorecard

From a promising 148-1, the Middlesex Crusaders capitulated to 177 all out. Murtagh produced an inspired spell of 6-24 as Middlesex batsmen perished in the pursuit of rapid runs.

Earlier in the day, only Pathan and Styris looked capable of exerting a degree of control – and were let down by some sloppy fielding. In the end, Surrey reached the psychologically important score of 200.

22 June –Twenty20, The Rose Bowl

Middlesex 211 (20 overs) beat Hampshire 192 for 7 (20 overs).

(Pathan 4 overs, 16 runs, 3 wickets) Scorecard

Powered by Owais Shah and Irfan Pathan, Middlesex got its first away victory in the Twenty20 Cup since its inception.

Owais brought up his half century in just 19 deliveries and memorably despatched Kiwi all rounder Craig McMillan for 28 in his solitary over. Chasing 211, Hampshire made a commendable effort in the face of a spiralling required rate, but a superbly consistent spell from Irfan Pathan ensured the hosts fell short. Pathan’s first over was impressive in the extreme in a Twenty20 setting, conceding just a single. In the end, he finished with a superb tally of 4-0-16-3.

19 June - National League, Southgate

Middlesex 314 for 5 (45 overs) beat Nottinghamshire 283 all out (44.4 overs).

(Pathan 8.4 overs, 61 runs, 1 wicket) Scorecard

Paul Weekes and not Pathan was the star in this match. Paul Weekes’ run-a-ball 106 followed by a tight 9 over spell (2 for 42) won the match for Middlesex. Alan Richardson and Mel Betts each took two wickets, with Irfan Pathan and Scott Styris taking one each.

June 15-18 - Frizzell County Championship, Southgate

Middlesex 435 for 4 and 408 for 4 (77.5 overs) beat Glamorgan by 6 wickets 584 for 3 (0-66) and 256 for 3.

(Pathan 0-36) Scorecard

Indian seamer Irfan Pathan put behind injury fears and took the field for Middlesex in the four-day Frizzell County Championship Division One, 2005 match against Glamorgan. Ahead of the match, Pathan said: "I'm really looking forward to bowling to Dada [Sourav Ganguly, Glamorgan's overseas import]."

But Pathan had no luck with the ball, failing to give his team the necessary breakthrough bowling 19 wicketless overs in the first innings and 5 overs in the second. The Welsh side lost just 6 wickets in their totals of 584 for 3 declared in the first innings and 256 for 3 declared in the second.

Chasing 406 for victory in 80 overs, Middlesex reached the total in 77.5 overs after a splendid innings by Owais Shah (155) and E T Smith (145). Pathan, who came in to hit the winning boundary sealed an astonishing win for his team.

June 8-11 - Frizzell County Championship, Lord’s

Middlesex 437 (Pathan 68) and 353 for 6 drew with Surrey 460

(Pathan 0-73) and 286 for 9 (Pathan 1-68)

Scorecard

The Bajji-Pathan face-off did not amount to much as Middlesex and Surrey played out a tame draw at Lord's. Pathan smashed 68 from just 93 balls (11 fours) in the first innings before being bowled to Harbhajan Singh. He did not bat in the second. Pathan went wicketless over 23 overs after suffering from a muscle pull.

"It's not an injury because of my bowling," Pathan told The Indian Express. "It's just a catch in my shoulder I suffered while throwing the ball from the boundary. I'm just playing it safe, it's nothing more than an irritation. I bowled only six overs after that [in the game against Surrey] and didn't try too hard."

June 5 - National League, Lord’s

Middlesex 243 for 6 lost to Essex 245 for 9

(Pathan 3-42) Scorecard

Pathan's three-wicket haul wasn't enough as Middlesex were nudged out in a thrilling contest at Lord's. Chasing 244 for a win, Essex were in early trouble when Pathan removed William Jefferson and Ravinder Bopara. But some good middle-order contributions helped Essex sneak through. Earlier Pathan was promoted to No.3 in the batting order but failed to make an impact and was out for just 3.

May 30 - National League, New Road

Middlesex 224 for 7 beat Worcestershire 192 for 9

(Pathan 2-38) Scorecard

Middlesex completed an easy 32-run victory over Worcestershire at New Road and Pathan chipped in with 2 for 38 as he mopped up the tail. He also made a rapid six-ball 15 with the bat, including two fours and a six.

May 25-28 - Frizzell County Championship, Hove

Middlesex 401 (Pathan 41) and 244 drew with Sussex 332 and 286 for 9.

(Pathan 4-81 and 1-68) Scorecard

Pathan's debut for Middlesex turned out to be a satisfying outing as he made a plucky 41 and snapped up 4 for 81 in the first innings against Sussex at Hove. Pathan's knock with the bat helped take the score past 400, as he eked out some valuable runs with the rest of the tail. While bowing, he made an instant impact by removing both the Sussex openers before returning later to pick up two more.

He got 13 runs off 16 balls and remained not out in the second innings but didn’t impress with the ball as he took 1 wicket for 68 runs off his 17 overs. The game ended in a thrilling draw with Sussex falling 28 runs short of the target with nine wickets down.

May 22 - National League, Bristol

Middlesex 95 for 5 v Gloucestershire 40 for 2. No result.

(Pathan 0-7) Scorecard

It was a damp start to Pathan's county stint as Middlesex's one-day game against Gloucestershire ended without a result. Only 28 overs were possible at the County Ground at Bristol and Pathan's only two overs conceded 7 runs and couldn't produce any wickets.

May 13 2005:

Middlesex announced the signing of Indian opening bowler Irfan Pathan as a replacement for the injured Nantie Hayward, who has a groin injury. Pathan has an average with the ball of 33.08 in test Cricket and 27.80 in the one day game.

 
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