The 8th edition of the ICC T20 World Cup is currently on in Australia. The gap between the last edition and this one was one of only xxx months, with the last one having been played in the UAE in 2021, after being shifted out of Sri Lanka. The gap between the sixth and seventh editions meanwhile was a very long one of five years (2016 and then 2021).
Overall, in the seven previous editions, the tournament has seen as many as six different champions, with only the West Indies managing to win two titles so far.
Here, TimesofIndia.com takes a look at the champions of the previous editions and the big highlights:
2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa
Champions – India
The inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup changed Indian cricket in more ways than one. History was made, a legend was born and it all culminated in the birth of a T20 league that shaped Indian cricket’s future, by filling the BCCI’s coffers more than any other property in the past.
Still licking their wounds after an embarrassing exit from the ODI World Cup just a few months back, Indian legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly were not part of the inaugural edition. Some reports claimed that the BCCI wasn’t too keen on sending a team, but later assembled a bunch of youngsters with Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the helm.
Chris Gayle set the ball rolling by smashing the first T20I hundred in the inaugural match itself. Though West Indies lost the match, the fireworks generated were enough to set the stands on fire and raise the excitement levels.
Then on September 14 came the match that everyone was waiting for. India vs Pakistan. Any clash between the archrivals in any field draws a lot of interest. And this was the World Cup – a stage where India had never lost to Pakistan, so the build-up was immense. And the match lived up to its billing. The match was tied and the winner was decided by a bowl out – a first at that time. India won, Pakistan lost, fans went crazy and the broadcasters were over the moon. T20 cricket had finally arrived.
India lost to New Zealand, but against England, words were exchanged, tempers flared and amidst all this Yuvraj Singh unleashed such carnage on the burning deck that England players were left dumbstruck while the whole world watched awestruck. Yuvraj smashed Stuart Broad for six consecutive sixes to become the first batsman to achieve the feat in T20 cricket.
India went on to beat South Africa to storm through to the semifinals where they defeated the mighty Aussies, thanks to a whirlwind knock by Yuvraj who slammed a 30-ball 70 that was studded with 5 fours and 5 sixes.
And then came the finals and to the delight of the organisers, the fans and the cricketing world overall, the final was between India and Pakistan. The archrivals crossing swords in a World Cup final – it couldn’t get bigger or better than this.
The build-up to this match was immense and to say that the match lived up to its billing would be an understatement. Dhoni won the toss and India batted first. The Men in Blue were dealt a big blow when Virender Sehwag got injured. Yusuf Pathan was Gautam Gambhir’s opening partner. Gambhir top scored with a 54-ball 75 as India scored 157/5.
RP Singh and Man of the Match Irfan Pathan took 3 wickets each and it all boiled down to Pakistan needing 13 runs off the last over with one wicket in hand. Their best batsman Misbah-ul-Haq was at the crease. Harbhajan Singh had one over left but he had been hit for three sixes by Misbah in the 17th over. With the match on a knife’s edge and heart-rates going through the roof, Dhoni handed the ball to rookie Joginder Sharma to bowl the last over.
As the tension mounted, Joginder started off with a wide and followed it up with a dot ball. But the cool and confident Misbah smashed the third ball for a six to bring the equation down to 6 needed off 4 balls. Pakistan were on the verge of victory, it was India’s match to lose, but life had different plans, destiny changed as Misbah lost it.
Joginder bowled a full delivery, on the stumps, and Misbah who had till then played so brilliantly in front of the wicket, looked to scoop the delivery over the infield on the leg side and as luck would have it, he got an edge, the shot got the height but not the distance. It went high up in the air and with it went the hearts of all the Indians to their mouths but Sreesanth got under it and took a safe catch at short fine-leg as India became the inaugural World Twenty20 champions.
The Indian team was giving a rousing reception on their return, the legend of Dhoni was born and he was hailed as a calm and charismatic leader and the popularity of T20 cricket sky-rocketed in such a way that it led to the birth of the Indian Premier League.
2009 T20 World Cup in England
After the stupendous success of the maiden edition, the second T20 World Cup tournament was held in England in June 2009.
India won their first match against Bangladesh and their second match against Ireland. But three consecutive defeats against the West Indies, England and South Africa meant that the MS Dhoni-led side failed to reach the semi-finals.
Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies reached the semi-finals. And it was an all Asian clash in the final at Lord’s on June 21, 2009 as Pakistan squared off against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara won the toss and top scored for his team with a classy unbeaten 64 as his team managed 138/6, batting first. Abdul Razzaq was the wrecker-in-chief for Pakistan, taking 3/20.
Pakistan easily chased down the target of 139, with Kamran Akmal scoring 37 at the top and Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik hitting unbeaten 54 and 24 respectively to guide Pakistan to their maiden T20 World Cup title.
2010 T20 World Cup in the Caribbean
Even though the game of cricket started in England, the British had not won any World Cup title till this edition of the T20 World Cup. England had made it to the finals of the ODI World Cup in 1979, 1987 and 1992 but ended up as runners-up on all the occasions.
All that changed in 2010 when Paul Collingwood led England all the way to the title.
India started their campaign with victories against Afghanistan and South Africa, but defeats against Australia, West Indies and Sri Lanka meant that the MS Dhoni-led failed to make it to the semi-finals for the second successive time.
2009 edition finalists Sri Lanka and Pakistan bowed out in the semis losing to England and Australia respectively.
In the second semi-final, Australia, chasing 192, were reduced to 107/5 when Michael Hussey walked in to replace his brother David Hussey at the crease after 12.3 overs. The elder Hussey lost Cameron White (43) and Steve Smith (5) as partners at the other end, but carried on undeterred.
It all boiled down to Australia needing 18 runs off the last over bowled by Saeed Ajmal. ‘Mr. Cricket’ smashed two successive sixes, a four and a six again to carry the emphatic Aussies to the final.
In the final, Australia met their traditional foes England and were favourites to start with. But the Aussie batsmen failed to fire big, with David Hussey’s 59 carrying his team to 147/6.
A 111-run stand between Craig Kieswetter (63*) and Kevin Pietersen (47) ensured that there were no hiccups in the England run chase as they chased down the 148-run target in 17 overs for their first ever World title in cricket.
2012 T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka
Champions: West Indies
West Indies were a superpower in cricket when the ODI World Cup started, winning the inaugural edition in 1975 and the second one in 1979. But since the turn of the millennium there had been a steady decline in the quality and fortunes of Windies cricket.
But the T20 World Cup title victory in 2012 was seen as a mark of resurgence of cricket in the Caribbean.
India started their campaign with a victory against Afghanistan and also registered a convincing 90-run victory against defending champions England. Though India lost to Australia, they beat arch-rivals Pakistan to maintain their all-win record in World Cup matches. India beat South Africa by one run in their last group match but failed to make the semi-finals because of their low net run rate.
Hosts Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in the first semi-final and West Indies stunned Australia to storm into the final. Sri Lanka were the firm favourites but the T20 format is so short that a team doesn’t get the time to recover in case of a major batting failure. And that’s exactly what happened in the final on October 7, 2012 in Colombo.
There were only 3 double-figure scores for the Windies as Ajantha Mendis took 4/12, but Marlon Samuels’ 78 took the Windies to 137/6 – a total worth fighting for. And fight well they did as Sunil Narine spun a magic web with the ball taking 3/9 as the Sri Lankan line-up fell like a pack of cards, being bundled out for 101 in 18.4 overs to pave the way for the Windies’ maiden T20 World Cup title victory.
2014 T20 World Cup in Bangladesh
Champions: Sri Lanka
The 2014 edition was the first one in which India reached the final since the inaugural 2007 edition.
India had won the Champions Trophy in 2013 and when they reached the 2014 T20 World Cup final, all were hoping that Dhoni would lift his second ICC trophy in as many years. But that was not to be.
With Virat Kohli in red-hot form, the Dhoni-led side were undefeated in the league stage winning all their matches. Till the Lasith Malinga-led Lankans spoiled the Indian party in the final.
Put into bat, India scored 130/4, riding on Kohli’s 77. But the Lankans comfortably chased it down to give their stalwarts Mahela Jayawardene (24) and Kumar Sangakkara (52*) a befitting farewell and clinch their first T20 World Cup title.
2016 T20 World Cup in India
Champions: West Indies
Home team India were the big favourites to go all the way. Though India lost their opening match against New Zealand, they registered thrilling victories against Pakistan, Bangladesh and Australia to reach the semi-finals.
India ran into the Windies in the semis at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. Rohit Sharma (43) and Ajinkya Rahane (40) put up a fine opening stand and Kohli’s 47-ball 89 took India to a formidable 192/2.
But the Indian bowlers failed to stop the Windies’ run flow as Lendl Simmons (82*), Johnson Charles (52) and Andre Russell (43*) powered their team to a seven-wicket win in 19.4 overs.
In the final played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on April 3, 2016, England were stunned by the Windies in one of the most memorable finals ever played.
Chasing a 156-run target, the Windies were losing wickets regularly and only Marlon Samuels stood up against the England bowlers with a rapid-fire unbeaten 85-run knock. But it was Carlos Brathwaite who put the finishing touches to the West Indies run chase in such an emphatic manner that his name will be remembered forever.
With the Windies needing 19 runs off the last over, Brathwaite smashed Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes to fire the Caribbean cricketers to their second T20 World Cup title and become a national hero overnight.
2021 T20 World Cup in UAE
The 2021 T20 World Cup was originally scheduled to be held in Australia in 2020. But due to the Covid19 pandemic, it was first confirmed that India would host the 2021 edition but again due to coronavirus the tournament was shifted to the UAE and Australia were given the rights for the 2022 edition.
The one thing Indian fans didn’t want to see – India, under Virat Kohli, lost to Pakistan in a World Cup match for the first time ever and that too by 10 wickets. India then lost to New Zealand and though won against minnows Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia, failed to reach the semi-finals.
The final of the tournament was played between Trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand that the Aussies won by 8 wickets for their maiden T20 World Cup title. It was an important win for the Aussies, who were desperate to show the world that they could still be world beaters. It was a big shot in the arm overall for Australian cricket.