India keep nerves to clinch the title glory

Published: Monday, September 24, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Team India celebrate after beating Pakistan ICC Twenty20 World Championship final Bangalore: India held its nerve to stave off late resistance from Pakistan to clinch the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Monday

India beat Pakistan by five runs in a thrilling finale to the World Cup of the ultra-abridged version of the sport.

Recalled all-rounder Irfan Pathan and new-ball bowler Rudra Pratap Singh took three wickets each and Pakistan, who started well, tumbled to 152 all out in reply to India's 157 for five.


Misbah ul-Haq threatened to steal victory from India at the death with four sixes in his 43 but Joginder Sharma had him caught trying to spoon a ball over fine leg with three balls to spare.

Opening batsman Imran Nazir had slammed 33 off 14 balls in a flying start for Pakistan but Robin Uthappa ran him out with a direct hit and Pathan claimed the key wickets of Shoaib Malik (8) and Shahid Afridi (0) in his second over to slow their run chase.

Joginder Sharma bowled the final over with Pak needing 12 more runs. Misbah belted the second ball to lon-off for a maximum after a single scored in first ball. Now 5 off 4 balls and Jogi got Misbah-ul-Haq to play the lap shot to the man at short fine leg to complete an amazing win and cap a tournament in which the Indians died several deaths but refused to give in.

And as the DJ played the title track from Chak de! India, there was not a dry eye in the stadium. The Pakistani fans were in tears that Misbah-ul-Haq took the side so close and could not seal the win. The Indians could not control their emotions any longer and let the tears flow.

Joginder finished with two for 20, while Pathan took three for 16 and Pratap three for 26.

Earlier, a disciplined bowling performance by Pakistan seam attack, spearheaded by Umar Gul, restricted India to 157 for five in the Twenty20 World Cup final at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Monday.

Gautam Gambhir (75 runs from 54 balls) and a late charge from Rohit Sharma (30 from 16 balls) steered India to a competitive total of 157 for 5.

The pressure of the crunch game caught up on the Indian players as Umar Gul snapped two vital wickets of Yuvraj and Dhoni before dismissing the top-scores Gambhir in the second spell, taking his overall tally to 13.

Opener Gambhir batted through the first 18 overs, stroking eight fours and two sixes and needed only 54 balls for his fluent innings which give India's total some respectability.

India taking first strike with Sehwag sitting out due to groin injury started off badly with Gautam Gambhir and big hitting Baroda all-rounder Yusuf Pathan opening Innings. Yusuf after surviving the run-out scare early on started on a bright note hitting a six over long-on in the first over of Mohammad Asif but fell to the same bowler in the third over of the innings caught by Shoaib Malik at mid-wcket.

Uthappa followed immediatly mis-timing a lofted shot to give a regulation catch at mid-off to Afridi off Tanvir. In-form batsman Yuvraj and Gambhir milked 63 runs for the third wicket stand. Interestingly Yuvi played a more sedate innings for his 14 off 19 balls before conceding his wicket to Gul. Gul in his second over disturbed the woodwork of Dhoni.

What a match it was. A fitting finale. And in the end, as Sunny rightly mentioned, it is Cricket which emerged as winner.


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