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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

MS Dhoni’s journey to top started with this world cricket title a decade back

MS Dhoni-led India won the inaugural edition of the ICC World T20 2007 held in South Africa in a thrilling final 10 years ago.

cricket Updated: Sep 24, 2017 23:54 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
India defeated Pakistan by five runs in a thrilling final to win the ICC World Twenty20 title in 2007.
India defeated Pakistan by five runs in a thrilling final to win the ICC World Twenty20 title in 2007.(AFP/Getty Images)

A rookie team, a relatively inexperienced captain and a format which does not guarantee wins even if you have the best players on paper. India overcame each and every obstacle to win the final of the inaugural ICC World T20 2007 by defeating their arch rivals Pakistan, on this day, 10 years ago. (IND vs AUS 3rd ODI highlights | Scorecard)

At a time when traits of T20 cricket were not widely known and understood, India and Pakistan fought all their way through to the summit clash, which was a remarkable achievement in itself.

The game of cricket perhaps could not have asked for any better contest in the final: the Asian arch rivals India and Pakistan who had played out a thrilling ‘bowl out’ contest in the earlier stage of the tournament were facing off again, with a trophy as important as the World Cup at stake.

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It was also fitting that the contest, played at The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, went into the final over. A player as majestic as Misbah-ul-Haq was yet to stamp his authority on the world stage back then, and MS Dhoni too was yet to establish his image as one of the shrewdest cricket captains.

Dhoni sprang a massive surprise when he called upon a certain Joginder Sharma to bowl the final over, with Pakistan needing 13 more runs to win, chasing 158. Misbah smacked the second ball straight down the ground for a massive six, and it looked like Pakistan would eventually win the contest.

However, fate had other plans in store. With the short fine-leg in place, Misbah decided to scoop the ball over S Sreesanth to wrap it up on the third ball itself, not taking it any further. But, he ended up playing it in the air, and Sreesanth took a clean catch to send millions of Indian cricket fans into a frenzy.

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Gautam Gambhir, who top-scored from either sides in the final with a 54-ball 75, recalled the occasion on Sunday, saying it was a win for ‘you and me’.

India’s premier spinner during that time, Harbhajan Singh, too recalled the famous win which saw the popularity of the T20 format shooting through the roofs in the country.

India’s victory in the ICC World T20 2007 was never imagined before, but when MS Dhoni’s young side achieved the feat, they became overnight stars in the country.

The victory was the first major achievement for the charismatic Indian captain, who went on to guide India to world No 1 rankings in Test cricket, a win in the ICC World Cup 2011 as well as in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013.

Courtesy that win, one star was added to Indian team’s jersey that they proudly wear.

First Published: Sep 24, 2017 13:35 IST

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