New Delhi, Oct 22 (UiTV/IANS) – If S. Sreesanth had helped India script victory against Pakistan in a Group game of the inaugural edition of the ICC T20 World Cup, the wily pace bowler had a massive role to play in the final of the tournament played 10 days in Johannesburg on September 24 – but this this not as a bowler but as a fielder.
Misbah-ul-Haq went for the scoop with only six runs needed from 4 balls but was caught at short fine-leg by Sreesanth who pouched an easy catch, signalling India’s win by five runs and with it the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup trophy.
India had won the toss and opted to bat. Opener Gautam Gambhir scored a scintillating 75 and helped the Men in Blue post a below-par 157/5. Apart from Gambhir, Rohit Sharma scored a blazing 16-ball unbeaten 30 to propel India past the 150-run mark.
In reply, even though Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals, Misbah kept his side in the hunt. It all boiled down to the last over, with Pakistan needing 13 runs for victory with one wicket in hand.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni tossed the ball to pace Joginder Sharma. The pacer’s first ball was a wide, and the next a dot ball. Misbah, on 37, then smashed a six off the second ball bringing the required runs to just six needed off four deliveries.
Patience would have easily seen Pakistan lift the inaugural trophy, but a rush of blood saw Misbah scoop a length delivery from Joginder, sending the ball high up in the air. Sreesanth kept his nerve and pouched the catch, as India emerged as the champions of the tournament.
After the match, Dhoni said, “It’s one of the things I will treasure for the rest of my life. I’d like to congratulate the boys and thank them for the response they have given me. No one expected us to win and the way we played we deserve a big celebration. Pakistan bowled really well in the second half. But we knew we had runs on the board and we could bring some pressure on the batsmen. I thought I should throw the ball to someone who really wants to do well in international cricket. Jogi did a really good job.”
This was the beginning of the Dhoni era in Indian cricket as India went on to win the 2011 ODI World Cup as well as the 2013 Champions Trophy — all under Dhoni’s leadership.