cricket20
Text Edition
Top Stories

India clinch thrilling victory

India have won the inaugural World Twenty20 title after beating arch-rivals Pakistan by five runs in an intensely fought contest in Johannesburg.

After Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat, his decision had seemed to backfire when, opener Gautam Gambhir aside, India laboured to 157 for five.

India's attack made amends by reducing Pakistan to 152 all out. However, the match was - to say the least - a close contest, with matters only being settled when late resistance led by Misbah-ul-Haq was quelled in the last over.

India struck in the very first over of Pakistan's reply, with Mohammad Hafeez edging RP Singh to Robin Uthappa at second slip.

Shantha Sreesanth was then hit for 21 runs off his opening over, but Singh soon struck again to calm the nerves of Indian fans, the left-arm seamer this time clean bowling Kamran Akmal (0).

Opener Imran Nazir had looked dangerous in compiling his 33 but, after appearing to struggle running between the wickets, he was run out by Uthappa in the sixth over.

Despite what had appeared to be a short Indian total, their attack was making inroads, with the threat of Younus Khan (24) extinguished by Joginder Sharma.

India - specifically Irfan Pathan - then really began to turn the screw, with Shoaib Malik (8) mis-timing a pull shot to Sharma at mid-on.

Then, in the same 12th over, Shahid Afridi was out first ball, the big-hitter lashing out but only finding the safe hands of Sreesanth at long-off.

As Pakistan's required run rate edged ever higher, they gained a slice of luck when Uthappa dropped Yasir Arafat at deep mid-wicket.

Arafat's stay at the crease lasted little longer, Pakistan's seventh wicket falling when he was clean bowled by Pathan for 15.

The 17th over showed how quickly the balance can shift in the Twenty20 game, with Misbah bludgeoning three sixes to help shift pressure back onto India.

Sohail Tanvir then hit two more before being yorked by Sreesanth with Pakistan's late resistance dealt another blow when Umar Gul went without scoring.

However, one clipped Asif boundary later and the stage was set: Pakistan needed 13 runs to win off the last over.

After bowling a wide, Sharma's third delivery was propelled back whence it came by Misbah. However, with the very next ball caught at fine leg, the balance finally settled in India's favour.

Earlier, Gambhir hit eight fours and two sixes in his innings, which ended on 75 after an attempted reverse sweep off Umar Gul fell to Mohammad Asif as short fine leg.

But India's first six came from fellow opener Yusuf Pathan, who made 15 before mis-timing pull shot to Malik at midwicket.

When Uthappa (8) was caught at mid-off, Yuvraj Singh arrived at the crease and, as perhaps expected, he and Gambhir accelerated India's innings.

But it was Gambhir who dominated the partnership, which added 63 runs off 48 balls and ended when the out-of-sorts Yuvraj was caught and bowled by Gul.

Gul then clean bowled Dhoni (6) in the very next over before Gambhir became the last of his three wickets - at the expense of 28 runs.

source - sportinglife.com
Text Edition Home
Cricket | Champions League Cricket | IPL | ICL | Twenty20 World Cup