Bangalore:A daunting target of 316 did not fluster Yusuf Pathan a bit and the swashbuckling batsman said he never thought during his match-winning knock of 123 that India would lose the fourth ODI against New Zealand.
"Never at any stage did I feel we were going to lose the game. With Rohit Sharma and Saurabh Tiwary, I rotated the strike well. We spoke to each other throughout to maintain the run rate and stay in the chase," said Yusuf, who hit a 96-ball 123 not out to set a memorable win for India at Chinnaswamy Stadium here last night.
"I am very happy for my first century in ODI and even happier because we won the match. The fact that we are leading 4-0 in the series gives me great pleasure," he said.
Yusuf, who came in at the fall of Parthiv Patel in the 20th over when India were 108 for four, said he grabbed the chance to score big with both hands.
"There was a lot of overs for me to bat and fortunately I prove myself. I sensed an opportunity this time that I can play a long innings," he said.
He dedicated his century to his parents and to his step brother Irfan who watched the match.
"I dedicate this century to my parents. I am also very happy Irfan was watching the match," said Yusuf.
Yusuf said he did not change his natural attacking game but took some time to settle down first before opening up his arms.
"I don't change my natural game. It's just that of late I am trying to spend some time in the middle before going for my strokes. But it's not that if there is an opportunity to hit the ball, I will hesitate to do so," Yusuf said.
He said during the rain break, captain Gautam Gambhir told him not to throw his wicket and he did just that.
"Gautam was telling me to utilise the power play to good effect. He advised me not to throw my wicket away at any stage. He told me that if I stayed in the middle till the end, I would win the match for India and I am glad I proved him right," he said.
On his valuable effort of 3/49 in New Zealand innings, Yusuf said that he had worked hard on his bowling.
"I worked a lot on my bowling. Whenever I have got an opportunity to bowl, I have tried to be as economical as possible and I am happy it is coming through and that I am also getting wickets now. I am very happy with my efforts," he said.
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori doffed his hat on Yusuf for his outstanding show both with the ball and the bat.
"We got some early wickets but then Yusuf played that knock and we could not do much. We had a defendable total and our batsmen did well, especially James Franklin scored 98 off 69 balls and that was pretty impressive but in the end Yusuf Pathan took the game away from us," Vettori said.
"He (Yusuf) took his time, hit those big shots and during the third Power Play, he made the most of it. It is not that we just focussed on Gautam Gambhir. Yes he (Gambhir) was coming in with two hundreds but we did look at the others too," the Kiwi captain said.
Asked if the rain break affected his side's momentum, Vettori said, "It affects the momentum of both teams. There were no issues with gripping the ball. We still think we can still win matches. We will approach the next game at Chennai like the way we do every game," skipper said.