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.

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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.
There have been several incidents where things have boiled over just trivial matters. One of them is the final of the Austral-Asia Cup played in Sharjah on April 18, 1986.
More than 36 years have passed since Pakistan’s Javed Miandad smashed Chetan Sharma for a last-ball six to win the final.
Riding on Kris Srikkanth (75 off 80), Sunil Gavaskar (92 off 134) and Dilip Vengsarkar’s (50 off 64) brilliant performances, India posted 245/7 in 50 overs. For Pakistan, Wasim Akram claimed three wickets, while captain Imran Khan took two.


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Pakistan were off to a sluggish start as they lost three wickets for 61 runs. Coming in at No. 4, Miandad steadied the Pakistan innings and slammed a magnificent century.
Pakistan needed four runs off the final ball to win the match. Chetan Sharma decided to go for the yorker. But it turned out to be a full toss which Miandad calmly struck for a six. The sight of him running back to the dressing room with his arms aloft after hitting the shot has not been forgotten by fans from both sides.
The India versus Pakistan clash in the 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup did not produce any dramatic or enduring images usually associated with the rivalry. But it was historic and memorable for the Pakistan cricket fans as it was the first time that Pakistan had defeated India in an ODI or T20 World Cup.
India had prior to that defeated Pakistan in seven matches in ODI World Cups and five in T20 World Cups.
Pakistan’s 10-wicket win in Dubai on October 24, 2021 — with 13 balls remaining — was set up by an early burst of wickets by young left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi, who sent back openers KL Rahul (3) and Rohit Sharma (0) in the first and third over of the innings to reduce India to 6/2. Suryakumar Yadav fell to Hasan Ali (11) as India slumped to 31/3 at the end of powerplay.


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Skipper Virat Kohli soldiered on at the other end and found an able ally in Rishabh Pant, who blasted a 30-ball 39 studded with two fours and two sixes as they reached 84/4 in the 13th over — the scoring rate was slow by T20 standards. Though Virat struck a superb 57 off 49 balls hitting five fours and a six before he got out to a slow bouncer by Afridi, India could manage only 151/7 in their allotted 20 overs.
Shaheen Shah Afridi was the best Pakistani bowler on the day, claiming 3/21 in his four overs. But more than his wickets, the line and length he bowled and the late swing he generated troubled the Indian batters.
Chasing a below-par 152, Pakistan never looked in trouble as Mohammad Rizwan and skipper Babar Azam stitched together a match-winning partnership. They started slowly, preserving their wickets. The Indians bowled superbly and did not concede a single boundary between overs six to eight.
This was Pakistan’s first win in 13 encounters with India in limited-overs cricket.
One of the most memorable moments in Indo-Pak cricket rivalry that comes to mind is the tussle for one-upmanship between Venkatesh Prasad and Aamer Sohail.
Who can forget the heated argument between Prasad and Sohail in the 1996 ODI World Cup quarterfinal in Bangalore. The two otherwise cool-as-cucumber cricketers confronted each other much to the surprise of players from both sides.
In the winners-take-all match, riding on Navjot Singh Sidhu’s 93 and Ajay Jadeja’s quick-fire 45 not out, India put up a challenging 287/8 in 50 overs.


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But Pakistan openers, Saeed Anwar and Sohail, were on fire adding 84 for the first wicket inside 10 overs. Javagal Srinath then removed Anwer (48) in the 11th over to give some respite to the hosts.
The momentum swung India’s way in the 15th over following Sohail’s departure in dramatic fashion. Tensions were high when Sohail was timing the ball sweetly in front of the capacity crowd at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
After hitting Prasad through cover for a four, Sohail, who was visibly pumped up, tried to unsettle the Indian pacer by pointing his bat towards the cover region, the direction in which he hit Prasad for a boundary. However, Sohail’s gesture did not go down well with the Indian bowler. Both exchanged heated words in the middle.
On the very next delivery, Prasad gave Sohail a befitting reply by shattering his stumps with a perfectly-pitched in-swinger. The stadium erupted in joy and to add salt to Sohail’s wounds, a pumped-up Prasad also gave him the marching order, gesturing towards the dressing room.
India were playing Pakistan in a Group D match of the inaugural edition of the ICC T20 World Cup in 2007 at Durban on September 14 and Misbah had brought the arch-rivals on the doorstep of victory with a patient 53.
Put to bat, India rode on Robin Uthappa’s scintillating half-century and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s 33 to post 141/9 in their 20 overs, with Mohammad Asif scalping four wickets for the arch-rivals.


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Chasing the modest total, Pakistan were well in control of the match with Misbah cruising along nicely, but as fate would have it, he was run out on the last ball of the match and the teams were tied. With the tournament rules not allowing points to be shared, the game went into ‘bowl-out’. Up until then, Misbah, then 33, had made a superb 53 from just 35 balls, and had emerged as an unlikely hero for his side after Shahid Afridi’s dismissal, with Pakistan needing 39 from 15 balls. Undaunted by the seemingly hopeless situation, Misbah brought down the chase to just one run required from the last two deliveries.
Sreesanth decided to come round the wicket and delivered a dot ball. The right-arm pacer then bowled a short one that Misbah could only deflect to silly mid-off, giving him no chance to complete the single, thus tying the scores.
India’s Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Robin Uthappa were bang on target in the ‘bowl out’, while Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul and Shahid Afridi all missed the wicket by a fair distance as a packed stadium celebrated India’s improbable win.


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By Dipak

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