One could not have asked for a more perfect finish to the inaugural Twenty 20 World Cup. Two arch rivals India and Pakistan meeting in the finals of the 20-20 World Cup, it seemed that the destiny had written the script and was something that cricket lovers all across the world had only dreamt of. For an Indian cricket fan it was an apt climax to the exhilarating cricket displayed by the young Indian cricket team throughout the tournament. The final turned out to be a humdinger, worthy of the occasion, and the match was decided in the final over after an intense three and half hours battle of cricket. Chasing India's 157 for five, Pakistan was dismissed for 152 with three deliveries remaining.
Pakistan needed 13 runs off the last over with one wicket left with
Misbah-ul-Haq taking strike to the paceman Joginder Sharma. The first
delivery, a wide, was followed by a dot ball. Then Misbah hoisted
Joginder down the ground for a six. Now, Pakistan needed six runs from
the last four. With fine-leg in the circle Misbah scooped the ball, the
ball went up in the air but did not go distance and Sreesanth at
fine-leg took the catch to seal Pakistan's fate.
Earlier Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat under bright sunshine at
Johannesburg. Yusuf Pathan who replaced an injured Virender Sehwag made
a quickfire 15 to provide initial momentum to Indian innings. Gautam
Gambhir (75, 54b, 8x4, 2x6) was the mainstay of India's batting. He
showed flair and panache, utilizing the pace of the ball well against
the quicker bowlers and using his feet while striking the spinners.
Towards the end of the Indian innings, the young Rohit Sharma blasted a
16-ball unbeaten 30 to give the final push to the innings.
Pakistan got off to a poor start with R.P. Singh striking in his very
first over by having Mohammed Hafiz caught in the slips. R.P. Singh
striked again in his second over by cleaning up Kamran Akmal. A
belligerent Imran Nazir threatened to take away the match by making a
rapid 33 of just 14 balls before he was run out by a brilliant throw
from Uthappa. In the middle of the innings Irfan Pathan broke the back
of Pakistan's batting by picking up three wickets. Shoaib Malik and
Shahid Afridi departed in one Irfan Pathan over, going for big hits.
Pakistan was reeling at 77 for 6 in the 12th over and pendulum had swung
India's way. However, late strike by Sohail Tanvir and Misbah kept
Pakistan in hunt and gave India a real scare before Pakistan was bundled
out five runs short of the target. Irfan Pathan was adjudged Man of the
Match for his effort and Shahid Afridi was adjudged Player of the
Tournament for his consistent performance throughout the competition.
Twenty 20 World Cup cricket win is a watershed event in the annals of
Indian cricket history. It marks the beginning of a generational shift
in the Indian cricket. This was a team of youngster led by a young
captain and without its three biggest stars - Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul
Dravid, and Sourav Ganguly. No body expected them to win. But they
defied all odds and beat tournament favourites Australia and South
Africa on their way to clinch the title. The tournament also marks the
coming of age of Mahendra Singh Dhoni as a captain. His charismatic
personality rubbed on to the team and the team gave a splendid display
of fearless cricket. The imprints of Dhoni's captaincy in the tournament
are clearly visible. Whether it was selecting part-time bowlers for the
bowl out against Pakistan or entrusting Joginder with the last over in
the finals, Dhoni was not afraid to back his instincts. The 20-20 World
Cup will also be remembered for some superlative power hitting by Yuvraj
Singh including his six sixes in an over of Stuart Broad. All in all, it
was a splendid overall display by Indian team and it looks as if the
future of Indian cricket is in safe hands.
This page was last updated on 25/09/2007.