SK Flashback: India's triumph over Pakistan in a Bowl Out
9:30 pm IST was the time and everyone was glued to their TV sets in India and in Pakistan too, definitely. It was not just about India vs Pakistan match but rather it was India's position in that world cup till then where they had a washout against Scotland which made this match ever so exciting. The Kingsmead at Durban was filled up as usual with Indo-Pak fans. Plenty of buzz around the ground as two captains walked out for the toss after a rain delay.
Pakistan had won the toss opted to bowl first and Asif proved his skipper's decision right by getting both the Indian openers early. Robin Uthappa (50) held one end with middle order struggling a bit until MS Dhoni (33) and Irfan Pathan (20) provided a bit of a flourish to end the Indian innings at 141/7 at the end of 20 overs.
Pakistan had bowled well and it looked like a below par or just on par kind of score. Everyone in India might have started thinking of the horrific World Cup exit of India from the group stages itself earlier that year. But maybe it was a day when a new era started in Indian cricket, a bunch of young guys with a couple of senior pros being lead by a fearless, nonchalant young man with long stylish hair to go by.
When Pakistan came out to bat they were already through to the super 10s, it was India who needed to win desperately. Pakistan openers provided a small start and few of the middle order batsman chipped in with the 20s as India kept taking breakthroughs regularly. But as India were to experience this again in finals, it was Misbah-uh-Haq who with his brilliant fifty was threatening to make that horrific thought of getting out in group stages for India a reality.
It all came down to the last ball of the match where 1 run was required for the last delivery and Sreesanth had to bowl the most important ball of his life. MS Dhoni looked cool, calm setting the field and talking to the bowler. Sreesanth ran in, bowled a bouncer on 5th stump line to Misbah on strike, he couldn't time it at all and the ball fell near short extra cover to India's then best fielder and Misbah ran through but only to fall short of an agile, fast and cool Yuvraj Singh. So, the scores were level and Pakistan was in despair as they were not even aware of what was to happen next i.e Bowlout but on the other hand, India had prepared for the same.
Simon Taufel and Billy Doctrove explained the rules to both the captains for cricket's first and only Bowl-out. Both the captains named 5 players from their team to take an aim at stumps. It was India who went in first as Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, and Robin Uthappa were Dirty Harry-accurate, while Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul and Shahid Afridi all missed by a fair distance as a sell-out crowd celebrated an enthralling finale.
Though the same tournament witnessed another Ind-Pak epic, this was quite easily one of the best Ind-Pak matches one would ever come across. As they say, "One for the ages" and that's why we remember it today.