Revisiting India's Triumph in T20 World Cup 2007
It has been 11 years since Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men pulled up a surprise by lifting the inaugural T20 Cricket World Cup in South Africa. Eleven years ago, on this day, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men did the unthinkable by winning the Twenty 20 World Cup.
In the same year, Indian cricket had gone through a bad phase when they were surprised by a lesser known Bangladesh side in the 50 over World Cup in March. Bangladesh beat India by 5 wickets in that game, which ultimately led to the latter's ouster from the tournament. Fans burnt effigies of the players they once worshipped like a god.
By winning the T-20 World Cup in South Africa, MS Dhoni and his men achieved a historic feat surprising many. India won the final by beating arch-rivals Pakistan by 5 runs. Batting first, India finished their innings at 157/5 and then bowled out Pakistan for 152.
The tournament was lit up with some sparkling performances. Chris Gayle's 117 in 57 balls in the opening game of the tournament against South Africa, Yuvraj Singh's six sixes in an over against England and Brett Lee's hat-trick against Bangladesh which was the first ever hat-trick in a T20 international were some of the finest performances in the tournament.
India's first game against Scotland was called off because of rain. India won their second match against Pakistan through a bowl out. In the Super 8 round, India were slotted alongside New Zealand, South Africa, and England. They lost their first Super 8 game against New Zealand by 10 runs while chasing a challenging target of 191.
In their second game against England in Durban, India notched up an impressive victory by 18 runs as Yuvraj Singh's demolished the English bowlers as he blasted 58 runs off 16 balls with 7 sixes and 3 boundaries. He smashed 6 sixes in Stuart Broad's over. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir too contributed well as the duo forged a solid 136 runs opening partnership.
In the third game against hosts South Africa, the Men in Blue registered a comprehensive victory by winning the game by 37 runs. Rohit Sharma had a memorable debut in that game as he put up a Man of the Match performance in that game.
Rohit scored 50 off 40 balls and was well supported by skipper MS Dhoni who too played a crucial knock of 45 runs. Chasing 154, South Africa finished up scoring 116 runs which eventually halted their progress in the tournament. They couldn't qualify for the semi-finals as their net run rate was below par.
In the semi-finals, India faced Australia. Led by Yuvraj Singh, India once again put up a sensational batting performance. He scored a match-winning 70 off 30 balls studded with 5 fours and 5 sixes. Robin Uthappa and MS Dhoni too came up with some handful contributions by scoring 34 and 36 runs respectively. Australia had to chase down a challenging total of 189.
At one time, it looked that Mathew Hayden and Andrew Symonds might take Australia home. However, the Aussies slipped in the dying moments of the game. They were restricted on the score of 173/ 8 and lost the match by 15 runs.
Led by an experienced Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan, RP Singh, and S Sreesanth, India produced some robust bowling performances during the course of the tournament. Pakistan had beaten New Zealand in the other semifinal by 6 wickets while chasing a total of 144.
India was up against Pakistan in the final. Whenever India plays against Pakistan; there are always tense moments and the pressure is always felt by fans as well as the players. This match too wasn't any different, but it was the final and the intensity of this particular match was different as compared to the other matches played in the tournament.
In the final, Pakistani bowlers put up a decent show and restricted the Indian batsmen to a total of 157/5. Their bowlers didn't allow Indian batsmen to score freely. Gautam Gambhir played a decent knock of 75 in 54 deliveries with 8 boundaries and 2 sixes. Rohit Sharma too contributed well by scoring 30 off 22 deliveries.
Pakistan started their innings on a positive note. Imran Nazir was thrashing the Indian bowlers all over the park, but an agile pickup and throw by Robin Uthappa who was fielding at mid-off, led to the dismissal of Imran Nazir.
Pakistan were losing their way, and just when it looked that India would take the game away easily, Misbah-ul-Haq led a sensational fight back and played a vital knock of 43 off 38 balls. He smashed 3 huge sixes in the 17th over off Harbhajan Singh's bowling.
Pakistan needed 13 runs in the final over to win the match. Mahendra Singh Dhoni gave the ball to Joginder Sharma and it looked like the decision could prove to be costly. After being hit for a six by Misbah on the 2nd ball of that over, the pressure was on Joginder Sharma and India. Pakistan now needed 6 off 4 balls. Misbah played a rather silly shot and tried to scoop the ball over Sreesanth who was fielding at short fine leg, but a mistimed shot went straight into the hands of Sreesanth. India won the match by 5 runs.
With the win, India became the champions of the inaugural T20 World Cup. For excellent bowling figures of 4-0-16-3, Irfan Pathan was adjudged the Man of the Match. RP Singh too bowled well and took 3 wickets giving away 26 runs in 4 overs.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys were the toast of the whole nation and there was a celebration in the entire country. Nobody expected India to win the tournament as they went into the World Cup as underdogs. The Indian team put up some tremendous performances in every department and every player chipped in with some healthy and timely contributions.
Following India's success in the tournament, the Indian Premier League came into existence in the very next year. The cash-rich league gave many young budding cricketers an opportunity to showcase their talent by playing alongside some of the legends of the game.
The inaugural T20 World Cup changed the scenario of cricket worldwide as some cricketing nations started to introduce their own T20 leagues. Winning the T20 World Cup 2007 made India a powerhouse of T20 cricket.