The man who almost crushed the Indian dreams in the T20 World Cup 2007 turned 44 yesterday. Of course, it is none other than the mercurial Misbah-ul-Haq. The former Pakistan Test Captain retired from Test Cricket last year after a series-win in West Indies.
A late bloomer in International cricket, Misbah played his first Test match at the age of 27. But it was not until 2007 that he gained any recognition from any of the fans. After his T20I heroics in the World Cup, he became a part of the Pakistani cricket scheme and helped it jump in front.
Misbah-ul-Haq was born in a region ‘Mianwali’, from where no Test Cricketer had ever originated. The self-made cricketer thus stamped his unique authority on the game. He scored over 10,000 international runs. While He boasts of 10 Test centuries, he has none in ODIs which is also a record (5122 runs - Most ODI runs without a century).
In such a fairy-tale career, there are many moments which make us admire the Pakistani legend. Here are select five that stand out.
#1 World T20 2007 heroics
The inaugural T20 World Cup 2007 in South Africa was in the same experimental mould as that of the 1975 ODI World Cup. The teams did not know how to approach this new format and thus the squads contained players which were largely unknown and untested. Pakistan in their ranks possessed this 33-year-old batsman named Misbah-ul-Haq, who presumably had no business playing this youngsters' format.
The veteran dazzled on the global stage of this T20 World Cup. The first spectacular glimpse was against the ODI World Champions, Australia in a group encounter. Misbah scored a fabulous 66* (42) to take Pakistan from 46/4 to the winning score of 165/4.
His opus magnum was reserved for the arch-rivals at the grandest stage, though. In the finals, Pakistan were tottering at 77/6 while chasing 158 against India. It was Misbah 43 (38) who kept the green nation alive in the match and almost won them the trophy. When Pakistan needed six runs from four balls, Misbah attempted a paddle scoop and the rest is history.