India at World Twenty20: A flashback
The year was 2007. Twenty20 cricket had just started creeping into the Indian cricketing folklore. Little did any of us know that in the coming years, it would become an integral part of our lives.
An inexperienced MS Dhoni was leading a young Indian team into the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa. As many as 12 teams participated in the tournament that spanned 13 days. India and Pakistan were involved in the first-ever World T20 bowl-out, which resulted in India beating their arch rivals 3-0. It also helped India advance to the Super 8s stage after topping Group D. In the knockout stages, India toppled Australia and Pakistan followed with a close win over New Zealand.
The stage was set for the grand finale. The history between these two finalists was interesting enough to attract a high rate of viewership across the globe. Fans of the Indian and Pakistani teams were glued to their television sets with tension in the air, for yet another nail-biting encounter at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. India batted first, putting up a decent total of 157 in 20 overs. Gautam Gambhir delivered an exceptional 54-ball 75 to set up India’s score on the board.
Pakistan came out all guns blazing, and with Sreesanth’s 21-run over, they would have believed that the game was theirs. Call it luck or risky captaincy, but MS Dhoni threw the ball to young Joginder Sharma, as Pakistan needed 13 runs off the final over with just 1 wicket left.
Pakistan’s go-to man and captain, Misbah-ul-Haq dispatched Sharma’s 2nd ball for a six, after the bowler conceded a wide followed by a dot ball. They now needed just 6 runs in 4 deliveries. Misbah once again tried to hit the ball with a paddle-scoop, but the ball only landed in Sreesanth’s hands at short fine leg. Pakistan were all-out for 152, a case of so close, yet so far.
Ever since the historic 2007 victory, India hasn’t really performed well particularly at the World T20. In the three editions that followed, three different teams have won the tournament, which explains the unpredictability this format brings with it. But with the 2014 World T20 scheduled to be hosted by Bangladesh, it might just be India’s best chance of grabbing that silverware again, since the Men In Blue take a liking to subcontinent conditions.
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