Tuesday, September 25, 2007

India Twenty20 World Champions

What a telling picture this is. India's players celebrate after the dismissal of Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, last evening. (AP Photo by Themba Hadebe)

For a change, it was Pakistan that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

I wonder what reception awaits Misbah back home; the awkward scoop that he played wasn't the last ball of the match, there were three more deliveries to go, and Pakistan needed only 6. Given the way Misbah was playing -- only the previous ball he had clubbed a low full toss over the ropes for a six -- he could have done it.

Here is the Cricinfo commentary of the last over:

19.1 Joginder Sharma to Misbah-ul-Haq, 1 wide, short of a length and far outside the off stump, that one barely lands on the pitch. Nerves here for Joginder Sharma. Big, big wide. Easily called.
12 needed from 6 now

19.1 Joginder Sharma to Misbah-ul-Haq, no run, short of a good length and outside the off, play and a miss, the tension mounts.
12 from 5 needed

19.2 Joginder Sharma to Misbah-ul-Haq, SIX, full-toss outside the off, that's not the place to bowl at this time. Misbah is cool as ice, lines this up and pounds the ball straight back down the ground. This is a baseball style home run. Such incredible hitting under pressure. You have to give it to Misbah.
6 needed from 4 balls now

19.3 Joginder Sharma to Misbah-ul-Haq, OUT, India! It's all over here! Full and on the stumps. Misbah goes for the scoop shot over short fine-leg. That is a risky shot to play with only 6 needed from 4 balls. Straight up in the air and Sreesanth takes the catch. India have won by 5 runs in the inaugural ICC World Twenty20.
India win by 5 runs, three balls to spare.

This match last evening at Johannesburg, the final of the first Twenty20 Championship, was much closer than India's semifinal against Australia. That victory looked much more emphatic than this one. Actually, this seemed to be drifting perilously to the earlier India-Pak match which ended in a bowl-out.

Pakistan was so close, they were almost there. In such situations, unlike wide-margin results, it's the slightest error that does one team in. It looked like Joginder's loose final over was gifting the match away to Pakistan, but before Joginder could do that, Misbah did.

Reuters photo by Juda Ngwenya of India's players posing with the ICC World Twenty20 trophy.

With each Twenty20 match, I am getting more and more convinced that this abridged version tests the cricketing skills to the maximum. Cricketing fame has been biased towards the batsmen. It has been always thought batsmen won matches. T20 will change that.

Bowlers are so crucial to this form of cricket, more than, if not as much as, batsmen. Like I said in an earlier post, each ball sent down has to be of perfect line and length. A skilful bowler who can keep his cool, will strike gold here, since batsmen under pressure are bound to miscue a shot.

Can't believe it has been 24 long years since India won a Cricket World Cup. Hopefully the Cup will come home again sooner. Kapil's win was in the pre-cable TV era. Then we all crowded around the radio. And for the vast number of teenagers and twenty-somethings, who dominate the world so much now, this is their first cricket World Cup.

What is T20 is for Sachin, Sourav, Dravid was ODI for Gavaskar, Vengsarkar and Viswanath! What a generational change cricket itself has undergone!

By the way, I don't know if anyone of us realised that it was only six months and one week back (on March 17) India lost to Bangladesh by five wickets in a Group B ODI World Cup match at Port of Spain. Then, on March 23rd, Sri Lanka drove the final nail defeating India by 69 runs. What a humiliating run it was. People vowed never to watch this game ever again. It's all forgotten and forgiven!

The next action isn't far off. Not the T20 but the ODI: India take on Australia in Bangalore on September 29, the coming Saturday, just four days away!
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  1. where the ball was bowled, if he just stood where he was, he could've hit it nicely into the covers for two runs. joginder did well to put it in the spot given the movement that misbah showed before that ball was bowled.

    but then, those were the kind if tactics got them to that point in the final over, and those tactics are bound to fail them sooner than later - too bad (for them) it didn't work one last time for pakistan.

  2. great job it was. remember those three big guys weren't. All this celebration i am seeing on tv is also a message to them.

  3. Congrats India. Sure you guys in India had a wonderful treat on TV. I was at a customer meeting with my Indian colleague "watching" the live score on his laptop! Not many times have India done this under pressure!!!

  4. was it not a great match !! i will always remember one thing from this 20-20 series, not necessarily the great sixers of yuvi or the exploits of sree and rpsingh, or uthappa's direct hits(ravi shastri was explaining to david lloyd that his name is synonymous with breakfast in south india!)but the meaning of trust, the trust dhoni had on joginder sharma. i will always remember the eyes of sharma when he bowled those last overs in the semi & the finals..watch it again and you will know what i mean.

    Did you knoe J Sharma is deputy supdt of police??Asked why he always remained in a serious mood, he joked, "I also smile sometimes".

  5. Sastri's comments will always be remembered for ever !


  6. Hmm particularly enjoyed reading interesting observation about the differences in T20 over usual cricket