India vs Pakistan: Thrilling ICC World Twenty20 World Cup Final 2007 Recap

India and Pakistan clashed in what is hailed as one of the most exhilarating finals in a major tournament.

The thrilling encounter saw India emerge victorious with the margin of only five-run in the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 at Wanderers, Johannesburg, South Africa.

India vs Pakistan: Thrilling ICC World Twenty20 World Cup Final 2007 Recap

Pakistan 152 (Misbah-ul-Haq 43, Pathan 3-16, RP Singh 3-23) lost to India 157 for 5 (Gambhir 75, Gul 3-28) by 5 runs.

In Durban ten days ago, India and Pakistan were inseparable. They performed in what was arguably the greatest major event final ever witnessed on Monday night in front of an enthralled audience at the Wanderers. The ever-cool Misbah-ul-Haq tried to pull Pakistan back from the edge once more, but the Indians narrowly avoided losing to secure a five-run victory and the first-ever ICC World Twenty20.

India were inspired with the ball and looked far out of contention with three wickets remaining and 54 needed from 24 balls after Pakistan had battled their way to 157 for 5 against some formidable bowling and defending. However, the unlikely became feasible when Misbah hit three sixes from Harbhajan Singh and Sohail Tanvir added a four-ball twelve.

With Misbah on the attack, Pakistan required 13 runs in the last over. After giving it some serious deliberation, Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to take a chance on the rookie Joginder Sharma.

Indian fans let out a sigh when he opened with a wide, and things got much more desperate when Misbah hit a complete toss miles over long-off for six. But just when he was about to win, his judgment failed him. He reached down for the scoop, reaching across his stumps to the fine leg. Millions of people on the subcontinent held their breath as Sreesanth came under the ball at short fine leg because he failed to connect cleanly. As soon as he raised it, the stadium exploded.

The two left-handers, Rudra Pratap Singh and Irfan Pathan, who each took three wickets to ruin the chase, were the masterminds behind India’s victory. While Imran Nazir performed a brilliant job at the other end to put his team ahead of the asking rate, Singh struck in both of his opening overs, getting Mohammad Hafeez caught at slip and lifting Kamran Akmal’s off stump clear of the ground.

In Sreesanth’s opening over, Nazir cut and pulled with tremendous force, resulting in two sixes and two fours. With a maiden against Younis Khan, Sreesanth made up for it, but India still needed wickets to try and hold a respectable total. The inspiration came from Robin Uthappa, who ended Nazir’s explosive 34 off 14 balls with an exquisite pass from mid-off to the keeper’s end.

The next breakthrough came from Joginder’s lack of pace, when Younis misplayed a ball to mid-on. Shoaib Malik now had the responsibility of seeing his team home. However, with Irfan bowling with perfect length and line, and the volume of Indian shouts in the stadium increasing, something had to give. Malik was the one who broke, attempting a lengthy hop to reach midwicket.

Pathan was in a state of euphoria, and soon after, he and his teammates had surpassed the clouds. With a boom-boom reputation when he arrived at the crease, Shahid Afridi went with a whimper following a heads-up heave that found Sreesanth at long-off. India appeared to be winning the match decisively when the scoreboard read 77 for 6.

Also Read: Reliving the 2011 Cricket World Cup Final

However, Misbah had different ideas, and Tanvir and Yasir Arafat helped her out beautifully. And no one could rest easy till Misbah threw away his last delivery, despite the fact that Irfan, Sreesanth, and RP Singh delivered outstanding yorkers to push India to the limit.

During the Indian innings, Gautam Gambhir and Umar Gul shared the spotlight. Gul bowled yorkers virtually at whim, grabbing 3 for 28 during a fantastic stint. India’s innings was held together by Gambhir’s brilliant 75, and they had hope thanks to Rohit Sharma’s late 30-run cameo.

Virender Sehwag’s groin injury had derailed India’s intentions for the match, and Yusuf Pathan, who had been slow to warm up for the first one, was almost out of the game. Yusuf, who goes by Yusuf and is Irfan’s elder brother, gained notoriety in domestic Twenty20 after hitting Mohammad Asif for six successive runs.

India vs Pakistan: Thrilling ICC World Twenty20 World Cup Final 2007 Recap

Yusuf then cut one through point for four, with Asif bowling far below his usual pace, before an audacious pull found its way into Malik’s palms at mid-on. This turned back the early momentum, and India had to rely mostly on singles to increase their scoring rate. Uthappa attempted to give the innings some impetus, but his attempt to go over extra-cover was easily stopped by the fielder.

Malik brought in Afridi and Hafeez very quickly, thus India needed someone to fill up the gaps. As Yuvraj Singh played himself in, Gambhir was the man, striking some beautiful drives between the covers and pressing the singles. Running too swiftly for Malik, Gambhir was merciless with the wayward delivery, slamming Afridi over midwicket for six.

In reaction, he summoned Gul, who is Pakistan’s best fast bowler in this match. Gul’s round-the-wicket line was soon to pay off, but Gambhir sliced him behind point en route to a 38-ball fifty. Yuvraj, who had been in outstanding batting form in previous important games, never managed to get going, and a misplayed pull fell back into Gul’s hands.

The batters became more and more irritated as Gul combined brilliant yorkers with short-pitched deliveries and the outfield fielders were playing with incredible dedication. When Gul produced another quick-witted masterpiece, Dhoni’s swipe was met only with air as the pressure eventually got to him.

Gambhir attempted to release himself from the restraints, and the Indian supporters celebrated when he hammered a huge six into the scoreboard at midwicket. However, Gul’s reprisal came quickly. At short fine leg, an attempted flick-paddle was direct to Asif, ending Gambhir‘s magnificent century.

After shining in a crucial match against South Africa, Sharma was back at it in the last two overs, hitting Arafat for two fours before lofting a slower ball from Tanvir towards long-on. When Hafeez arrived, he was only able to tip the ball over the rope. These circumstances determine whether these two fierce rivals win or lose in their matches. However, on a captivating afternoon at the Bullring, there were no victors or defeatists—just a huge triumph for a format that is definitely here to stay.

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