Since I began watching cricket in 2001, India’s hopes at a major tournament were always pinned on Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly & Rahul Dravid. So when none of these three were selected for the 2007 WT20 I was surprised. But then the explanation given was that T20 is a format for the younger generation and it would make more sense for them to play. So India entered the WT20 with a new captain in Mahendra Singh Dhoni, with a combined playing experience of 7 T20I games across the 15 players.
Despite that lack of experience in the format and 3 players who did not play for India before the WT20, India made it to the final, thanks to their charismatic and cool captain. In the final they met arch rivals Pakistan, who were favourites for the tournament. They had all recognisable T20 players in their side. On the day of the final Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat and India scored 157 runs. In the early days of T20 cricket, this was a challenging total. Pakistan started off with a bang, scoring 25 runs in the first 2 overs and it looked like they would race to their target.
But with some smart bowling changes, some really good bowling from Irfan Pathan and some really mediocre shot selection from the Pakistani batsmen, India came back into the game and were in a dominating position. But when it looked like India would run out winners, there was another twist in the tale and India ran into Misbah Ul Haq (this was before his Tuk Tuk days). Misbah had scored 6 runs in 11 balls at this stage but along with Sohail Tanvir & Yasir Arafat got the equation down to 13 runs in 6 balls.
In the period between the 12th and 19th overs, Pakistan scored 67 runs, and India were in the backseat.
With 13 runs needed in 6 balls, Dhoni had a decision to make - whether to bowl Harbhajan Singh or Joginder Sharma. In his previous over Harbhajan went for 19 runs including 3 maximums all by Misbah Ul Haq, who he would be facing the final over. So Dhoni chose to ditch his star spinner in favor of the inexperienced Joginder Sharma.
The first ball was wide and you could hear people think “Are you sure Dhoni?” The next ball was played and missed by Misbah.
12 runs in 5 balls.
“Maybe India has a chance here?” was what many Indians fans thought. Next ball, Misbah swings and connects and the ball goes past the bowler for a huge 6. “NAHHIIIII” was what 99% of the Indians screamed.
Next ball, Misbah scoops to fine leg - Ravi Shastri screams “In the air…” India and Pakistan both gasp - in reality the ball took a few seconds to come down, but for us it felt like hours - and then Indian fans heard those beautiful words “Sreesanth takes it, India win.”