Tuesday, September 25, 2007

India wins the inaugural 20-20 World Cup title

India beats Pakistan to claim the first ever 20-20 World Cup Title. The Final match was a roller-coaster ride. Pakistan looked in control after it restricted India to a total of 157 in 20 overs. It also looked in control when Imran Nazir was hitting the Indian bowlers to all parts of the ground. However, after his exit India was back in the game and seemed to be cruising along to victory. But then Misbah-ul-haq was standing tall and he almost swung the pendulum in Pakistan's favour. Just when Indian fans were thinking that the match is lost, Misbah-ul-haq's wicket falls and India wins.

How it all began?

India won the toss and elected to bat first. It is always crucial to win the toss and elect to bat in an important match. Chasing in a world cup final is not easy at all. Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again took the wise decision of batting first. However, the Pakistan bowlers bowled a tight line and length and never let India to take charge. Yusuf Pathan came in as a replacement to the injured Sehwag. Yusuf Pathan is Irfan Pathan's elder brother. He is a good hitter of the ball and bowls off-spin too. He hit some good shots but lost his wicket early. Gautam Gambir continued to be solid. Robin Uthappa gave away his wicket early. Yuvraj Singh or should I say the six hitting machine also could not continue his good work. Umar Gul took his wicket. Umar Gul was the pick of the bowler for Pakistan. All Pakistani bowlers bowled nicely. They kept the Indian Tigers from cutting loose.

It was Gautam Gamhir's 75 and Rohit Sharma's 30 that brought India to a respectable total of 157 for the loss of 5 wickets. Pakistan did a great job of restricting India. As always chasing in a final of a world cup match is not easy at all. But then the Pakistani's started off well. Though Mohammad Hafeez lost his wicket early, Imran Nazir was hitting sixes and fours and laying the foundation for a Pakistani victory. The hearts of Indian fans was sinking like the Titanic. Kamran Akmal was clean bowled by Rudra Pratap Singh. Imran Nazir was run out by an accurate and direct throw at the stumps by Robin Uthappa. Younis Khan too literally threw away his wicket when he should have played sensible cricket. Shahid Afridi was out for a duck, caught by Sreesanth of the bowling of Irfan Pathan. But Misbah-ul-haq was still there. He is a dangerous customer. He started hitting sixes and Sohail Tanvir gave him good support. Harbhajan and Sreesanth were targeted in particular.

Sohail too hit few sixes before getting bowled by Sreesanth. Umar Gul lost his wicket trying to hit R P Singh. Wickets kept falling at the other end but Misbah-ul-haq seemed still in control.

The match went into the last over of the match. Joginder Sharma was given the ball. He initially bowled a wide bowl. The next ball was hit for a six. But the next ball he bowled was the one that helped India defeat Pakistan. The improvisation made by Misbah-ul-haq to hit the ball over fine leg got the better off him. He was caught by Sreesanth and Misbah was disappointed to have thrown away the match from a winning position. He just needed 6 from 4 balls but could not keep his patience. The catch taken by Sreesanth decided the World Cup champion.

Misbah-ul-haq is devasted after losing his wicket. He could have easily won it for Pakistan.

The whole Pakistani Team could not believe it that they lost the match as they were so close to winning it.

Indian team marshalled by Mahendra Singh Dhoni has transformed itself into world beaters. Dhoni has emerged as a great leader. Young players like Robin Uthappa, Rohit Sharma blossomed under Dhoni's captaincy. The cool headed nature of Dhoni seems to have rubbed over to it's team members. Everyone chipped in one way or the other in every match played. First time India was not depending on the stars to win the match for us. All 11 players contributed throughout the series. It was a team effort in real sense.

Irfan Pathan along with his brother Yusuf Pathan. Irfan Pathan was awarded the Man of the match for taking 3 crucial Pakistani wickets. Irfan Pathan has come back well after being dropped from the ODI team.

Yusuf Pathan and other team members celebrating the win. Indian team members were very excited after this victory and rightly so. After 1983, it is for the first time that the Indian team is holding the world cup in their hands. It was a long wait after coming close under Ganguly's leadership.

The victory run by the Champions. It was a great sight to see the Indian tri-colour flying high.

Champagne being uncorked. Every Indian Team member is soaked in Champagne. After all it is time to celebrate this great victory.

Let the world take notice of the new world champions. I am sure the Indian team will continue the winning streak under Dhoni's leadership. There are many positives to take from this 20-20 World cup. Young players who stood strong in difficult siutations. Rohit Sharma is one of the best finds for India. He is just 20 yet he played such a mature innings. He scored quickly and yet was always in control of the situation. This is how champions play. No matter what the situation,they play without fear. I am sure the Indian Team will continue to play fearless cricket in the coming days.

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