The price of victory is an insurmountable amount of sweat dripping from players’ bodies as they give it their all in order to win. Some wins come easier than others. When a team is in its optimum form, and wrecks the opposition in all three departments, the struggle to win doesn’t even seem to exist.
However, in some games, the players have run over every blade of grass on the ground and yet can’t predict the output of a game before the last ball is bowled. The action and tension is the highest in encounters like these and it is these games that make the sport so intense.
These wins showed the ability of players to stand up and be counted, and gave a glimpse of how they entertained the fans and helped protect their teams, in the same manner as how Castrol Activ’s Actibonds help protect the engine by clinging on and forming a protective coat.
Some of the most extreme last-ball wins in cricket have come in World Cup games. Since the World T20 is ongoing, we have compiled a list of the best last-ball wins in the ICC World T20:
India vs Sri Lanka (2010)
India have won some of the most thrilling last-ball finishes, but this time around, they became the victims of heartbreak. In the 2010 edition of the World Cup, India posted a target of 164 for Sri Lanka to chase in a group match.
Chasing with a required run-rate of over 8 from the word go is always a tricky task. And it became worse for the Lankans when they lost openers Jayawardena and Jayasuriya with just 6 runs on the board.
However, they pulled it back, slowly. Some great knocks from the middle order kept Sri Lanka on the right track, but Kapugedara was the one who played a heroic innings of 37 in 16 balls to take Sri Lanka over the line—and he did so by smacking a six of the last ball of the game when the Lankans needed 3 to win.
South Africa vs New Zealand (2014)
How New Zealand did not win this game, one will never know. Needing just 7 runs from the last over, it was supposed to be an easy task for the Kiwis, given the fact that they had been scoring at over 8.5 runs per over up until that point.
Chasing a score of 171 set by South Africa, who had JP Duminy’s 86 to thank for, New Zealand started off with full aggression. Special knocks from Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor was taking the Kiwis towards an easy win.
However, the Black Caps suffered a mid-innings collapse, but still managed to bring the runs needed down to 7 with just 6 balls to go. Dale Steyn was given the ball and he managed to pull off one of the best final overs ever seen in cricket.
Giving away just 4 runs, he bowled 5 dot balls and got 3 wickets—showing his insane mental strength in the process, as he kept his composure despite being smacked for a boundary off the 4th ball.
India vs Pakistan (2007)
Well, this might seem like a weird inclusion since India won this game after a thrilling bowl out, but nonetheless, Sreesanth’s ball was the last ball of a game which was won by India.
This has been earmarked by many as the greatest clash between these two rivals till date. Having set a miserly target of 142 on a really difficult pitch, India looked set to win the game with Pakistan needing 29 runs off the last 2 overs.
Agarkar, then, gave away 17 crucial runs after being spanked left and right by Misbah-ul-Haq. 12 runs were needed off the last over and it seemed like Misbah would give Pakistan their coveted World Cup win against India.
But with just one run needed off the last two balls, Misbah stuttered and couldn’t do what was expected of him. In the end, India won the game after a 3-0 score in bowl-outs.
England vs Netherlands (2009)
This is regarded as one of the best encounters in World T20Is. England might have been a disappointment for many years in World Cups, but losing against Netherlands had never crossed anyone’s minds.
Given that England were also playing at home, the opening game at Lord’s was supposed to be a one-sided encounter. And after posting an impressive total of 162/5, thanks to Luke Wright’s 71 off 49, the match was thought to be all but in England’s grasp.
Or was it?
The game swung around like a see-saw until the very end of this enthralling chase, but Ryan ten Doeschate’s 17-ball 22 got the Dutch over the line on the last ball of the match, making it one of the greatest last-ball finishes.
India vs Bangladesh (2016)
This is Bangladesh’s most painful memory of recent times. The Tigers have been the subject of many devastating losses from absolutely clearcut winning scenarios. However, this game inflicted so much pain in their hearts that perhaps only the Asia Cup final defeat to Pakistan could rival it.
Some exceptional bowling from the Tigers restricted India to a mere score of 146. It seemed like a reasonable target on a pitch were 160 was achievable. And Bangladesh were cruising when Sabbir Rahman was at the crease.
However, some quick wickets put Bangladesh in a tricky position, but with 11 needed off the last over, the match was in balance. The next 3 balls produced 9 runs. Win in the bag for Bangladesh, everyone thought.
But thanks to some irresponsible batting from Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahamudullah, and some calm fielding by India, Bangladesh couldn’t muster another run and lost the game off the last ball.