September 24, 2007 – After defeating Pakistan in a thrilling final, India became the champions of the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa.
India were not seen as favourites ahead of the first World Twenty20 tournament. Earlier, the Men in Blue had contested only in one game of the shortest format and that too came a year ago. Senior players including Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly had also withdrawn from the tournament.
However, the Indian team, led by MS Dhoni, defied all odds to clinch the inaugural WT20 title on this day 13 years ago. They defeated Pakistan by five runs in a thrilling final at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg.
Skipper Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Rudra Pratap Singh and Irfan Pathan played a crucial part throughout the tournament, making incredible efforts to put India’s name in the record books. India’s group-stage campaign started with a bowl-out against Pakistan, where India cruised to win by hitting the stumps on three successive occasions.
Eventually, the side face a setback with a defeat against New Zealand but Yuvraj set the foundation by hitting six sixes off Stuart Broad’s over to ensure the win against England.
India booked their place in the semi-finals by defeating hosts South Africa. However, a dominant Australian side stood between the young Indian brigade and the final.
The Australian side had the likes of Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds and Michael Hussey. But it was an incredible effort from the Indian bowling line-up as it successfully defended a 189-run total and secured a 15-run win. Sreesanth conceded only 12 in four overs, taking two crucial wickets, and Harbhajan Singh recorded bowling figures of 1/24 in his four overs.
In the final, India made a decent start as Gautam Gambhir shone with the bat. He scored 75 off 54 deliveries and helped the team put up 157 on the scoreboard. Pakistan’s run-chase was bolstered by Misbah-ul-Haq’s 38-ball 43 but a fine batting display turned futile at the end.
Joginder Sharma defended 13 runs in the final over despite being hit for a six on the third delivery, and a mistimed scoop from the Pakistan batsman landed straight into Sreesanth’s hands, handing India their first silverware after the 1983 World Cup.