Ranking the 6 T20 World Cup finals from best to worst

Carlos Braithwaite is a name one still remembers.
Carlos Braithwaite is a name one still remembers.
Daksh Shukla

Twenty20 revolutionized the way cricket was played across the world. Entertainment well and truly became a part of the cricket world with the advent of the shortest format of the game.

While the glitz and glamour of the game was enhanced with the new format, it still needed a tournament to crown the very best in T20s. Enter the T20 World Cup.

We've had six editions of the exhilarating event, starting from 2007. Over the years, we've seen some fantastic T20 World Cup finals, and now, we rank them in order of how good they really were.

#6 Australia vs England, 2010


England beat Australia in the 2010 T20 World Cup Final.
England beat Australia in the 2010 T20 World Cup Final.

Old rivals England and Australia met in the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 Final which was played at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados. It resulted in a memorable win for England who lifted their first global trophy in 35 years of limited-overs competitions.

England began the tournament disappointingly, but they grew in confidence with each game, and looked like the team to beat when they reached the final. Kevin Pietersen's unbeaten 42 runs off 26 balls, following a 2–21 from the Man of the Match Stuart Broad helped ensure a seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the semi-finals.

In contrast, it was a smooth ride for the Australians to the semi-finals. Chasing 191 against the defending champions Pakistan, Australia needed 18 runs off the last over against Saeed Ajmal. Up stepped Mike Hussey who hit three sixes and a four to take Australia to the final, sealing a three-wicket victory with a ball to spare.

In the final, Paul Collingwood won the toss and chose to field first. Australia were jolted early after slipping to 8/3. The opening pair of Shane Watson and David Warner failed to get going in the final. Captain Michael Clarke and his namesake Michael Hussey tried to resurrect the innings but struggled to score against the new ball. An unusual stat of only two boundaries after seven overs told its own story.

The reigning 50-over world champions did recover from that initial setback as Cameron White, and David Hussey's hitting at the end helped them to a score of 147. In reply, England were just too good for the Aussies. An early wicket did make the match exciting, but a series of mean drives through the covers saw Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen put on a 50-run partnership in no time. The pair registered a 100-run partnership in only 62 balls, which sealed the deal for England.

Eventually, England won by seven wickets, and with three overs to spare. Kieswetter was adjudged the Man of the Match for his 49-ball 64, and Pietersen was the Player of the Tournament.


#5 Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, 2009

A Sea of Green at Lords in 2009.
A Sea of Green at Lords in 2009.

The 2009 ICC World Twenty20 Final played between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the Lord's in London on 21 June 2009 was the 2nd edition of the tournament. This was the second consecutive time where both the finalists were Asian teams. Having lost the final in 2007, Pakistan were looking to make amends in this game.

Being the only unbeaten team in the group stage, Sri Lanka had a very steady tournament leading up to the final. The island nation went on to beat the West Indies by 57 runs in the semis to qualify for their first ICC World Twenty20 Final.

It wasn't a smooth ride to the semis for Pakistan though. They were on the brink of elimination in the group stage, but an 82-run win against the Netherlands kept their title hopes alive. Pakistan faced tournament favourites, South Africa, in the semi-finals at Trent Bridge. Thanks to Shahid Afridi's all-round efforts (51 off 34 with the bat and 2/16 in 4 overs with the ball), Pakistan won by seven runs to reach back-to-back finals in the tournament.

In the final, teenage pacer Mohammad Amir got the show running by dismissing the dangerous Tillakaratne Dilshan for a duck in the first over. Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal too soon joined the party. Kumar Sangakkara played a captain's knock of 64* but there was little support at the other end as the team could only manage 138 runs in their allotted 20 overs.

The Pakistani openers started briskly and added 48 runs for the first wicket before Kamran Akmal was stumped. But then in walked Shahid Afridi who stole the show as he did in the semifinal. His unbeaten 54 of 40 balls meant that there would be no back-to-back final heartbreaks for the Asian nation as Pakistan lifted their first T20 World Cup trophy.

Tillakaratne Dilshan was declared the Man of the Series while Shahid Afridi bagged the Man of the Match.


#4 India vs Sri Lanka, 2014.

Sri Lanka won the 2014 T20 World Cup.
Sri Lanka won the 2014 T20 World Cup.

The 2014 tournament, held in Bangladesh, was the first to feature 16 teams, including all ten full members and six associate members. India, who were unbeaten in the tournament, looked the favourites to win their 2nd T20 World Cup title when they took on Sri Lanka on April 6, 2014.

The odds were in India's favour, given the splendid run MS Dhoni's men enjoyed in the tournament. The Men in Blue had no problem chasing down 173 runs in the semi-finals against South Africa. Sri Lanka, who had already lost a final to Pakistan in 2009, made the 2014 title match by beating the West Indies in the semis.

In the final. Lasith Malinga won the toss and sent India in to bat on what seemed a sluggish Dhaka pitch. India didn't start well as they lost Ajinkya Rahane early. Rohit Sharma got a good start but could not convert it into a big innings. The pressure was on Virat Kohli again, and Kohli did what he often does best.

The Delhi player got going and took on the Sri Lankan attack. He looked like he was batting on a completely different surface as he compiled a 58-ball 77. It was all going well for India. But Yuvraj Singh's scratchy 11 off 21 balls robbed the team of any momentum as the final total of 130 looked at least 30-40 runs short of a competitive one.

In reply, Sri Lanka were under pressure after losing their openers cheaply. But India never looked in control of the game. Sri Lanka had it easy for the most of the chase. A classy fifty from Kumar Sangakkara and a cameo from Thisara Perera made sure the 1996 50-over world champions hunted down their target in just 17.5 overs. In the process, Sri Lanka came third-time lucky at the T20 tournament after two final losses.

It was the perfect farewell for Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene as the two Sri Lankan legends retired from T20I cricket after the tournament. Kumar Sangakkara was awarded the Man of the Match in the final while Virat Kohli won the Man of the Series award.

#3 West Indies vs Sri Lanka, 2012

West Indies won the 2012 T20 World Cup.
West Indies won the 2012 T20 World Cup.

The 2012 ICC World Twenty20 Final was played between Sri Lanka and West Indies at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on 7 October 2012. This was the fourth edition of the T20 World Cup. It was the second time Sri Lanka had reached the final, but it was the first final for the Caribbean side.

Hosts Sri Lanka who were favourites for the trophy, recovered from a loss against South Africa in an otherwise smooth passage to the semis where they beat Pakistan by 16 runs.

However, it was a rollercoaster ride to the last four for the West Indies though. They lost the first game against Australia, and their game against Ireland was washed away. The team qualified for the super eight by virtue of a superior net run rate. In a rematch against the Aussies, an unbeaten 75 off 41 balls from Chris Gayle helped West Indies post a mammoth total of 205. Australia failed to put up a fight and were bowled out for 131.

In their fifth T20I meeting, Sri Lanka put their perfect record against West Indies in the format, on the line. Having soundly beaten the visitors earlier in the tournament, the island nation were favourites to repeat the result in the final against the same opponents.

Darren Sammy won the toss and chose to bat first. It turned out to be a game which would be dominated by the bowlers from the first ball. West Indies were in deep trouble when they lost Chris Gayle early, and had scored only 14 runs in 6 overs for the loss of 2 wickets.

Dwayne Bravo helped stabilise the innings, but it was all Marlon Samuels who lent a semblance of respectability to the final total. Samuels' impressive knock of 78 off 55 balls, which included the longest six of the tournament (108 meters), West Indies managed a par score of 137 on the day.

The Sri Lanka chase never really took off. Things started to go downhill from the second over itself when Ravi Rampaul sent Dilshan's off stump for a walk. Kumar Sangakkara set about rescuing the innings, but his dismissal triggered a collapse.

Nuwan Kulasekara marshalled a short fightback, but it was not enough as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 101 in 18.4 overs. Samuels was adjudged the Man of the Match for his all-round performance, and Shane Watson was the Man of the Series.

#2 West Indies vs England, 2016

The 2016 final was one of the most intense T20 World Cup finals.
The 2016 final was one of the most intense T20 World Cup finals.

Who doesn't remember this game? The 2016 ICC World Twenty20 Final was played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on 3 April 2016. This was a second T20 final for both England and West Indies, with one of them guaranteed to become the first multiple-time champion at the tournament.

England registered the highest successful run chase of 230 in World T20 against South Africa, stamping their batting credentials in the process. In the semifinal, they came up against unbeaten New Zealand where Ben Stokes and Chris Jordan helped the Three Lions to a comfortable 7-wicket win with almost three overs to spare.

West Indies were confident of their chances, given the IPL experience possessed by their players. Despite a loss to Afghanistan in their final group game, the 2012 winners topped their group. In the semifinal, they came up against hosts India in Mumbai.

Batting first, Virat Kohli's unbeaten 89 off 47 balls helped his team to a good total of 192/2 in their allotted 20 overs. With Gayle and Samuels both getting out early in the West Indies' chase, there was some tension in the West Indies camp. But Lendl Simmons, alongside Andre Russell, led the charge and secured a memorable win.

In the final, England got off to a horror start, with their Man of the match in the semifinal, Jason Roy, bowled through the gate off just the second ball of Samuel Badree's opening over. Alex Hales (1) and captain Eoin Morgan (5) followed soon after as they lost three wickets for just 23. This brought Joe Root and Jos Buttler together at the crease. With 54 off 36 balls, Root led England's recovery, and David Willey's unbeaten 21 lent some late flourish as the Three Lions set a modest target of 155 to the West Indies.

West Indies somehow managed to have an even worse start when Joe Root snared two wickets in the second over, including that of Gayle. Simmons, who was in fine fettle in the semifinal win against India, also got out for a golden duck as the West Indies looked in all sorts of trouble at 11 for 3.

Dwayne Bravo and Samuels led a recovery act to keep their team in the game. But England kept taking wickets. Carlos Brathwaite arrived at number eight, joining Samuels, with the team requiring 49 off 27 balls.

With 19 needed off the last over, it looked a tall order for the West Indies. That was when Carlos Brathwaite decided to etch his name into the history books. With four consecutive sixes off the first four balls of Ben Stokes' over, West Indies chased down the total with two balls to spare as the Englishman looked shell-shocked at the onslaught. Marlon Samuels was the Man of the Match yet again in a T20 final, and Virat Kohli received the Man of the Series for the second time too.

West Indies were pushed all the way and in the end, had to do it in the most West Indies' way possible. This World Cup triumph was special because there were concerns some of the West Indies players may withdraw from the tournament over payment-related disputes with their board.

Captain Darren Sammy had exchanged letters with the West Indies Cricket Board, communicating his concerns regarding the payment for players who were taking part in the tournament. Sammy went on to say that "We want to play and will represent the West Indies to the best of our abilities."


#1 India vs Pakistan, 2007


India won the first-ever T20 World Cup in 2007.
India won the first-ever T20 World Cup in 2007.

The first-ever T20 World Cup final remains the most memorable final in the tournament's short 13-year history.

Team India lifted the inaugural World T20 trophy in South Africa after beating Pakistan in a thrilling final at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. Almost 13 years have passed since that evening, but that moment of MS Dhoni lifting the World T20 trophy is as fresh as it can get in the memories of cricket fans across the country. Not only was it the first-ever World T20 Final, but it was also between two arch-rivals that made the triumph all the more special.

India's journey to the World T20 title was quite like a fairytale. It was a relatively young team, led by a long-haired MS Dhoni, entrusted with captaincy responsibilities for the first time at a major tournament. India were not counted among the contenders to enter the semi-finals, let alone win the title, in an eerie similarity to the nation's 1983 World Cup triumph.

Facing the mighty Australians in the semi-finals, a team full of youngsters beat the Aussies to book a place in the final. The other semi-final was a tight contest between Pakistan and New Zealand that Pakistan won by six wickets to book a final rematch against India. Earlier, the two teams had squared off in the group stage in a game that was decided by a memorable bowl-out which India won 3-0.

In the final, after winning the toss and electing to bat first, India lost their opening wicket in the third over when Yusuf Pathan mistimed and was caught by Shoaib Malik. The next wicket to fall was Robin Uthappa, with another mistimed shot.

Gautam Gambhir, who had been one of India's top performers in the tournament, scored 75 runs but had little support from the other end. Rohit Sharma's 30 off 16 balls helped India reach a final score of 157. Umar Gul was the tournament's best bowler, a fact he again proved in the final, with figures of 3-28 in his allotted four overs.

In reply, Pakistan suffered an early blow when Mohammad Hafeez was dismissed in the first over, and Kamran Akmal fell for a duck soon after. Things got tougher when both Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi got out cheaply. But it was Misbah-ul-Haq who stayed there till the end, and waited for the correct deliveries to score his runs.

It looked like a lost cause when 54 runs were required off 24 balls, with only three wickets in hand. But with Misbah-ul-Haq smashing three sixes off Harbhajan Singh in the 17th over, the chase was on. India kept pegging their rivals back with wickets, Irrfan Pathan and RP Singh snaring three apiece, but Misbah-ul-Haq threatened to do it all alone.

In a photo-finish, Pakistan required 13 runs off the final over with only one wicket in hand. With Misbah-ul-Haq on strike, the win was still on for Pakistan. Joginder Sharma was handed the responsibility of bowling the final over. In a nervy start to the over, Sharma sent down a wide, and then a full toss second ball which was duly dispatched by the batsman straight down the ground for six.

The equation petered down to 6 runs off four balls. With Misbah-ul-Haq at the crease, it was mission possible for Pakistan. It was then that the Pakistan captain decided to play an ill-advised scoop shot. The ball hung in the air for seemingly an eternity before Sreesanth completed the catch to end the most thrilling T20 World Cup final in history.

Irfan Pathan was awarded the Man of the Match in the final while Shahid Afridi was adjudged the Man of the Series.


Edited by Bhargav


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