India celebrates the 15th anniversary of the inaugural T20 World Cup victory in South Africa, beating arch-rivals Pakistan in a nail-biting final match.
India, under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma, is all set to feature in the eighth edition of the T20 World Cup in Australia in October. But, 15 years ago, a long-haired Mahendra Singh Dhoni lifting the prestigious trophy in the inaugural season of the tournament is still a fresh memory to the Indian fans.
The euphoric achievement did not come easily as the Indian side had their arch-rivals Pakistan as their opponent in the summit game. The final was played on 24 September 2007 at Johannesburg’s New Wanderers Stadium in South Africa. The ultimate chapter of the match turned out to be an absolute nail-biter as it took two Asian nations to the edge of their seats.
The point where the craze for T20 cricket began!
And whoa what a format it has turned out to be…💙 https://t.co/zg1TSPkOIh
— DK (@DineshKarthik) September 24, 2022
Batting first, India posted a decent total of 157 runs on the board, riding on Gautam Gambhir’s commendable batting display. The southpaw smashed 75 runs off 54 deliveries. The following batters, except Rohit Sharma, could not provide anything significant. Coming in at no 6, Sharma contributed a crucial 30 runs to the scorecard. Pakistan pacer Umar Gul scythed through the Indian middle order and took three wickets under his belt.
Pakistan, in their turn to bat, could not pull off a good start to the chase. Opener Mohammad Hafiz left early to the hut in the very first over thanks to a foolish delivery by RP Singh. Then, the collective efforts of Imran Nazir, Younis Khan, and Misbah-ul-Haq brought Pakistan back in the game. The other batters could not stay longer on the crease in front of RP Singh and Irfan Pathan’s excellent line and length. However, Misbah stuck to the crease till the end and almost took Pakistan to the victory line.
Pakistan required 13 runs in the final over when MS Dhoni gave the responsibility to rookie Joginder Sharma, which till date, is considered to be one of the biggest gambles in the history of the game. ‘
The bowler was under immense pressure and bowled the first delivery wide on the off side. Misbah dismissed the second ball for a huge six. The Pakistani cricketers at the dugout were almost ready to celebrate the victory.
But the ultimate drama was yet to unfold. Sharma bowled a full delivery. Misbah decided to go for a scoop, as the short fine-leg fielder was inside the circle.
What happened next has been forever etched in the history books and lives rent-free in the mind of Indians. “In the air, Sreesanth takes it. India win. Unbelievable scenes here at the Bull ring,” Ravi Shastri’s commentary has made a permanent place in the ears.
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Misbah’s remarkable 43-run knock was put in vain with that delivery, that shot and that catch.
With the catch, India engraved their name on the T20 World Cup taking the entire country into a frenzy. Irfan Pathan was named the player of the match for picking three wickets in the middle overs. Among others, RP Singh also got three wickets, while Sharma finished the match with 2 wickets to his name.
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League Chairman Shaji Mulk also said that Dhoni advised them about the league strategies before the start of this T10 tournament.
Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi felt that Indian fans are eager to watch Pakistani cricketers play in their country
Virat Kohli finished the campaign as the top scorer with 296 runs in six matches.