T20 World Cup rewind: Brendan Taylor heroics help Zimbabwe stun Ricky Ponting's Australia | Crickit

T20 World Cup rewind: Brendan Taylor heroics help Zimbabwe stun Ricky Ponting's Australia

May 20, 2024 04:24 PM IST

Australia came into the 2007 T20 World Cup as favourites but were given a rude introduction to the unpredictable nature of the format by an inspired Zimbabwe

The 2007 T20 World Cup was a tournament whose ripples continue to be felt around the cricket world more than a decade later. There had been a few top-level matches played in the T20 format before that, but this tournament introduced it to the world, and cricket has never been the same since. In India, the tournament is remembered fondly for the fact that the team went on to win it despite being led by a rookie captain in MS Dhoni and being devoid of a number of major stars.

Brendan Taylor stayed unbeaten on 60 off 45. (Getty Images)
Brendan Taylor stayed unbeaten on 60 off 45. (Getty Images)

It started off with a bang, with hosts South Africa chasing down a target of 206 set by the West Indies and thus winning by eight wickets with as many as two overs to spare in the tournament opener. However, the first big upset, and arguably the biggest of them all in the tournament, came in the fourth match where the mighty Australia faced Zimbabwe. Ricky Ponting led a team that was fresh off their dominant win in the 2007 World Cup just a few months earlier in the West Indies. The personnel were almost exactly the same as the one that won the previous tournament and naturally, Australia were seen as an outright favourite to win the T20 World Cup itself.

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But the nature of the format is such that anyone could beat anyone on any given day, form and history not withstanding. Australia's first match was against rank outsiders Zimbabwe and Ponting chose to bat first after winning the toss. Just a few minutes later, Ponting was walking back into the pavilion after being the third man to be dismissed inside the first four overs. Fast bowler Elton Chigumbura sent back Matthew Hayden in the first over of the match and then Adam Gilchrist in his second. Ponting fell to Gary Brent and Australia found themselves tottering on 19/3 in four overs. There was some middle order fight by Andrew Symonds and Brad Hodge but that got Australia only to a score of 138/9.

While Australia didn't allow Zimbabwe to run away to an easy win, the latter were on top for much of their chase. Opener Brendan Taylor anchored it all the way to the end, staying unbeaten on 60 off 45 and Zimbabwe, incredibly, beat the ODI world champions by five wickets with a ball to spare.

Zimbabwe's innings was interrupted by rain in the 12th over. Taylor had been largely conservatinve before this period but he changed tactics after the teams returned post a 25-minute break. With the threat of rain still hanging over the match, Zimbabwe were 12 runs behind the D/L target at the end of the 14th over. Taylor smashed two sixes in the 15th off Brad Hodge and solved that problem. It came down to Zimbabwe needing 12 to win off the final over. Taylor hit Nathan Bracken for a four off the first ball after which both he and Chigumbura kept their cool and saw their side over the line.

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