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India crowned Twenty20 Champions

India have won the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa after a thrilling final in which arch-rivals Pakistan fell five runs short of their victory target of 158 in Johannesburg.

They were up against it when Umar Gul (3-28) helped restrict them to 157-5, which Gautam Gambhir's 75 dominated.

But RP Singh struck twice early on and Irfan Pathan took 3-16 as a succession of batsmen tossed away their wickets.

Misbah-ul-Haq (43) smashed three sixes in a Harbhajan Singh over and one more in the final over off Joginder Sharma but was caught to end an amazing game.

It brought a hugely entertaining tournament to a fitting climax and was always likely - after all the teams tied their group game and there was a similar frenzied atmosphere when the latest instalment in their rich rivalry commenced at a packed Wanderers.

Gambhir was a figure of calm assurance, however, after debutant Yusuf Pathan and Robin Uthappa perished with mis-timed heaves during a frenetic opening.

He placed and timed the ball elegantly, particularly through the covers, as he brought up his fifty in 38 balls.

The left-hander put India on course for a formidable total, but Yuvraj Singh - India's hero against England and Australia - never got going as Gul exerted control with his clever variations in pace and length.

Gul took a return catch after Yuvraj top-edged a pull and sent skipper Mahendra Dhoni's leg-stump flying as the scoring slowed dramatically between the 14th and 18th overs.

Gambhir quite literally hurt Gul's figures by smashing the ball into the scoreboard over the mid-wicket fence but Gul had the last word by having him snapped up at short fine-leg pouched the ball to become the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 13.

Sharma collected successive fours off Yasir Arafat and Mohammad Hafeez helped a swipe off Sohail Tanvir over the wide long-on boundary to take the score past 150.

But India still had a lot of work to do to clinch their first major silverware since the 1983 World Cup final and deny their neighbours the chance to emulate their 1992 50-over triumph.

Their prospects looked brighter when Hafeez guided RP Singh's fifth ball to Uthappa to slip and Kamran Akmal lost his off-stump to an inswinger from the left-arm paceman.

But as long as Imran Nazir stayed at the crease the run rate was never likely to be an issue.

He battered two fours and two sixes off an atrocious first over from the unruly Sree Santh which cost 21 runs.

Younus Khan was nowhere near as convincing, although he managed to get bat on ball to collect successive leg-side fours off Santh to take the team past 50 in the sixth over.

The innings then capitulated from 52-2 to 77-6 as Dhoni's bowling changes took the pace off the ball.

Nazir, who went into the game with a groin problem and was refused a runner, was short of the crease when Uthappa's throw from mid-off hit the stumps.

Younus holed out to mid-on, while skipper Shoaib Malik and dangerman Shahid Afrid, who went first ball, tossed their wickets away with ambitious heaves off Irfan Pathan.

The seamer cleaned up Yasir Arafat to end a brief revival but Misbah-ul-Haq swung off-spinner Harbhajan between cow corner and long-on, and Tanvir flicked the returning Santh for two more maximums to provide a massive twist in the tale.

Crucially, Santh ended the over by knocking out the tail-ender's off-stump and RP Singh cleaned up Gul with his penultimate delivery.

Joginder Sharma was entrusted with the final over and began with a horrible wide and when Misbah battered another six down the ground the game looked up but Misbah's gamble of trying to loft it over the keeper's head backfired horribly.

source - bbc.co.uk
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