Harbhajan was not sure of bowling yorkers in last over: Dhoni
That prompts skipper Dhoni to once again give the final over of the nail-biting T20 WC final to Joginder Sharma.cricket Updated: Sep 24, 2007 22:33 IST
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was not sure of getting his yorkers right, prompting skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to once again give the final over of the nail-biting Twenty20 World Cup final to Joginder Sharma.
"Harbhajan was not sure of getting his yorkers right so I decided to give the last over to Joginder, who wanted to make a name for himself in international cricket," Dhoni said.
Pakistan needed 13 runs off the final six balls and the pressure was on the Haryana medium pacer when Misbah-ul-Haq hit a straight six off the second legitimate delivery of the over for a straight six.
With just six needed in four balls, the Pakistan batsman attempted a scoop shot over fine-leg, which was inside the circle, but his attempt landed in the hands of S Sreesanth, sparking scenes of wild celebration in the Indian camp.
Joginder had bowled the final over in the semi-final victory over Australia, when they needed 22 runs. However, this time the task was much more arduous for the bowler, who started the over with a wide.
The Indian captain said the title victory had given him moments that he will "cherish for life". "I am very excited and congratulate and thank my teammates for their response to my captaincy," the wicketkeeper-batsman said after the match. He said the Pakistan bowlers kept up the pressure which did not let India get to as big a score as they would have liked.
"Umar Gul and Yasir Arafat bowled good yorkers. But I knew that whatever score we got, they would have to make that. The asking rate is always over six and they had to go for the big hits," Dhoni said.
He said the victory would go some way in healing the wounds of the cricket-crazy public after the early exit from the World Cup in the Caribbean earlier this year.
"This would do some repair work in that direction but we need to continue the good work in the coming series against Australia and Pakistan," Dhoni said, adding "the Twenty20 format will now catch on in India."
Rival captain Shoaib Malik said restricting India to less than 160 was part of the plan, but the batting did not click. "India has a strong batting line-up and the bowlers did their job but the batting was not up to the mark," he said.
"It was not a case of pressure getting to the batsmen but they played some bad shots." Malik said his team played superbly throughout the tournament and would now prepare for the home series against South Africa coming up soon.
Man of the match Irfan Pathan, who put the skids under the Pakistan batting with a spell of 3-16 in four overs after they had got off to a rollicking start, said "it is a great feeling to make such a comeback. It is amazing."
Reliving the final few overs, the Baroda left-armer said "there was pressure all around us but we held our nerve and performed under pressure." Pathan assessed the pitch quickly and bowled accordingly.
"The wicket was on the slower side and I used the split finger slower ball as the batsmen were going after the bowling and I took the pace off the ball," he said.
Player of the tournament Shahid Afridi congratulated the Indians saying "winning and losing does not matter and is part of the game."
The swashbuckler could not come to his team's aid when it mattered most and was out for a duck on Monday. "I have been struggling with my batting in recent times," but said "the tournament has been great fun," Afridi said.
First Published: Sep 24, 2007 22:20 IST