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On this day in 2007: Dhoni brought the T20 WC home

By Rediff Cricket
September 24, 2020 13:06 IST
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September 24, 2007: Thrilling five-run victory over Pakistan gives India inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa

MS Dhoni

IMAGE: MS Dhoni and India celebrate victory during the final match of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup against Pakistan. Photograph: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

The year was 2007. India had badly under-performed in the ICC 50-overs' World Cup in the West Indies, exiting the tournament in the first round itself.

In the aftermath, Rahul Dravid was replaced by exuberant, young wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

 

Noticed widely till then for his unkempt, long mane and unorthodox batting style, few would have expected him to bring about such a massive change in Indian cricket's fortunes.

Having beaten Australia in the semi-final by 15 runs, India met arch-rivals Pakistan, who had beaten New Zealand by six wickets in the second semi-final, in the summit clash.

This day, 13 years ago, India won the toss and chose to bat on what was considered to be a traditionally batsman-friendly pitch at the Wanderers.

Gautam Gambhir scored his third half-century of the tournament, but India could not capitalise on a reasonably good start.

The left-hander batted through the first 18 overs, stroking eight boundaries and two sixes. He needed only 54 balls for his fluent knock of 75.

T20 World Cup

IMAGE: Team India celebrates with the trophy after winning the ICC Twenty20 World Cup 2007. Photograph: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Young Rohit Sharma (30 not out) was the other notable contributor as the Indians found the going tough in the face of some disciplined bowling by their bitter foes, who took control of the game at the midway stage.

Paceman Umar Gul played a big role in upsetting the tempo with a brilliant effort of 3 for 28 in his four overs, capturing the prized scalps of Yuvraj Singh (14), Dhoni (6) and Gambhir.

India had to do without the services of the hard-hitting Virender Sehwag, who had to sit out because of a groin injury.

Gautam Gambhir

IMAGE: Gautam Gambhir en route his 50. Photograph: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Rohit scored 30 not out in 16 balls in the closing overs to take India to 157 for five in their 20 overs.

When Pakistan batted, pacer R P Singh gave India the perfect start, dismissing Mohammad Hafeez (1) and Kamran Akmal (0) in successive overs, the first and third of the innings.

Opener Imran Nazir scored a quickfire 33 from 14 deliveries before being run-out by some superb fielding from Robin Uthappa.

Later, a 21-run over from pacer Shantakumaran Sreesanth titled the game towards Pakistan.

However, Irfan Pathan and Joginder Sharma slowed down the scoring dramatically.

With Pakistan needing 54 from 24 balls, Misbah-ul-Haq hit three sixes off Harbhajan Singh in one over.

Sreesanth was dispatched for two sixes, as Pakistan went into the last over needing 13 runs to win, with only one wicket remaining.

Then Joginder bowled that famous last over, and instantly etched his name in Indian cricket history.

He first sent down a wide ball, followed by a dot ball.

Misbah then took a six off a full-toss and Pakistan needed just six runs to win from the last four balls.

Misbah attempted to hit the next delivery with a paddle-scoop over fine leg, but only managed to sky the ball. Sreesanth, at short fine-leg, ran in and made no mistake with the catch, leaving Pakistan all out for 152 runs.

Joginder had figures of 2-20 in 3.3 overs.

Irfan Pathan

IMAGE: India's Irfan Pathan celebrates the wicket of Pakistan's Shoaib Malik. Photograph: Hamish Blair/Getty Images

Pathan was named Man of the Match for his four-over spell, which included three wickets for 16 runs, including that of Man of the Series Shahid Afridi, who was out without scoring.

Five more T20 World Cups followed the triumph in South Africa, but India failed to reproduce the magic of 2007.

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