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On this day: 13 years ago, India beat Pakistan to become inaugural WT20 champions

On September 24, 2007, India became the champions of inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa, defeating Pakistan in a thrilling final.

India TV Sports Desk India TV Sports Desk
New Delhi Published on: September 24, 2020 9:34 IST
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On September 24, 2007, India became the champions of inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa, defeating Pakistan in a thrilling final.

Ahead of the first World Twenty20 tournament in South Africa, India were not seen as favourites going into the competition. The Indian team had played only one game in the shortest format of the sport prior to the competition, and that too came a year ago, in 2006. In addition, the stalwarts of Indian cricket -- Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and others had withdrawn from the tournament and it was a relatively young team which participated in South Africa.

However, MS Dhoni, the first-time captain of the Indian team, and his men defied all odds to clinch the inaugural WT20 title on this day 13 years ago when they defeated Pakistan by five runs in the final. 

Perhaps, the lack of experience in his format came as a blessing in disguise for the youngsters, as they were spared of the hype which is usually built around India's cricketing adventures. 

The regulars in the Indian team at the time - MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Rudra Pratap Singh and Irfan Pathan remained a vital part of the side throughout the tournament, and incredible efforts pitched in from the rest of the side at certain moments to put Team India's name in the record books.

India's campaign saw a bowl-out against Pakistan in the group stage itself, in which Dhoni's side cruised to win, hitting the stumps on three successive occasions with no reply. The side did face a setback with a loss to New Zealand, but Yuvraj Singh's miraculous six-sixes off Stuart Broad's over set the foundation for a stunning win over England, as the side returned in race for a position in the semifinal. Eventually, the side defeated South Africa to reach the semifinals where the mighty Australians stood between the young Indian brigade and a place in the final of the tournament.

The Aussie team, which had the likes of Mathew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds and Michael Hussey - all lifting the ODI World Cup in the same year, were a force to reckon with. India defied the odds again, as they showed the world that this Aussie side was beatable in brilliant fashion. It was an incredible effort from the Indian bowling line-up, as the Men in Blue successfully defended 189 to secure a 15-run win. Sreesanth conceded only 12 in four overs, taking two crucial wickets, and Harbhajan Singh also only went for run-a-ball.

In the final, Gautam Gambhir shined with the bat as he scored 75 off 54 deliveries to take India's score to 157. Again, it was an all-round effort from the Indian bowling line-up wrapped-up perfectly by Joginder Sharma, as Misbah-ul-Haq's heroics went in vain. 

Joginder defended 13 runs in the final over despite being hit for a six on the third delivery, as a mistimed scoop from the Pakistan batsman landed the ball straight into Sreesanth's hands. 

"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 today we deserve a big celebration," MS Dhoni would go on to say, as a nation rejoiced a historic triumph.

 

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