The year was 2007 and the date was September 24, the world was about to witness one of the most exciting matches in the history of the game. A World T20 final between two arch-rivals (India vs Pakistan), a perfect backdrop for a mouthwatering contest and a match that every Indian will recall as a new chapter of the Indian cricket.
It has been 11 years since a young Indian team took the word ‘fearlessness’ to the next level and became the world champions in the cricket’s most rudimentary format. 2007 was a bad year for the Indian team, the Men in Blue were surprised by a lesser known Bangladesh side in the 50 over World Cup. The Bangla Tigers beat India by 5 wickets and they were out of the tournament.
It was redemption time.
The day had arrived. The venue was Wanderers in South Africa and India had brought debutant Yusuf Pathan in place of an experienced Virender Sehwag. Pakistan had one change in their side too, they brought Yasir Arafat back into the playing XI.
India won the toss and elected to bat first. Everything was set for an epic battle between the two rivals. The madness for this match so immense that people closed their shops, the streets were silenced and more than billion people in India were glued to their TV sets, showing support to their team.
The Indian were off to a flying start. Playing his first match Yusuf Pathan started his inning with a bang, hitting a four and a six in the first over of the match, but it was a short stay at the crease for the newcomer. India’s middle-order, who was in amazing form during the tournament, was dismissed cheaply. India continued to lose wickets at regular intervals. But, it was Gautam Gambhir who held down one end and played a superb knock of 75 from just 54 balls.
Along with Rohit Sharma, they took the team to a defendable total of 157/5 in 20 overs. The Game was ON, Pakistan were reeling in confidence after bowling well. Umar Gul was the pick of the bowlers and took 3 wickets in the match.
After the interval, India came out on the field with one intention. They have to win this game. Dhoni was back on the field, he looked more determined than scared. RP Singh, who had a terrific tournament, foxed Mohammad Hafeez in the first over and Kamran Akmal followed. In 3 overs, Pakistan were 2 wickets down at the score of 26 runs.
The Indian bowling unit bowled their hearts out and dismantled Pakistani middle-order. But, Misbah was not ready to give up. He smashed Harbhajan Singh for 3 sixes in one over and got Pakistan right back in the match. At the end, Dhoni played a gamble and asked Joginder Sharma to bowl the last over. This decision shocked everyone but the captain cool knew that his decision was absolutely correct.
Last over, 13 runs to win and Misbah on strike. A dot ball followed by a towering six and the match was reaching to its climax. Everyone thought that it is going to be a ‘Bowl-Out’ once again.
Last ball, Pakistan needed 5 runs to win. Misbah, out of character, tried to scoop the ball over Sreesanth who fielding at leg slip and the ball went straight into the hands of Sreesanth. India won the match by 5 runs and won the inaugural T20 World Cup.
There was a celebration in the entire country and the fact that we won the cup by beating Pakistan in the finals made it even more amazing. The win changed the scenario of Indian cricket and a new era started under the leadership of MS Dhoni.