Shamik Das

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dhon it!

THE MOMENT DREAMS ARE MADE OF: India's players are cockahoop following a thrilling last over victory against Pakistan.

• India squeeze home in thriller • Déjà vu as Misbah misses out • Dhoni touted for Test captaincy after win
Wanderers, Johannesburg, World Twenty20 Championship final: India 157/5 (20 overs) beat Pakistan 152 (19.3 overs)
by five runs

INDIA won the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship in dramatic style today with a nerve-jangling last gasp win against their deadliest rivals.

The victory – India's first global triumph since winning the 1983 World Cup – sparked wild celebrations back home, as millions of fans across the cricket-mad country partied long into the night.

Fireworks lit up the Johannesburg sky as thousands of flags waved with a patriotic fervour not seen on these shores since the Springboks' 1995 Rugby World Cup success.

"It's something I will treasure for the rest of my life," said India's talismanic captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as he basked in the glow of glory, draped in orange, white and green.

"There was a determination among us. We were not expected to do well because we had not done well in the last World Cup and that was a key point.

"We also enjoyed this format of the game because nothing much was expected from us so we didn't have added pressure or added responsibility on anyone – the guys really enjoyed it and played it match by match."

And Dhoni believes that his team's success can be the start of something big on the sub-continent. "The Twenty20 version will catch on in India," he added.

"The excitement and type of game it is will be a big hit in India. After the way we departed from the World Cup this will do some repair work for some time."

LET THE PARTY BEGIN: Fireworks go off as Mahendra Singh Dhoni hoists the Twenty20 World Championship trophy aloft.

Pakistan had appeared destined for defeat for the majority of their chase, especially so as the game and the tournament neared its denouement.

Seven wickets down and requiring a further 54 runs to win from four overs, the game seemed up for the men in green. Then Misbah-ul-Haq, who so nearly saw off India in the group stages, set about the task of putting the record straight.

Three enormous sixes off Harbajhan followed by two more by Sohail Tanvir off Sree Santh brought the equation down to 20 off 13. Then two more wickets fell to leave Pakistan needing 13 runs and India one wicket off the final over to win.

Joginder Sharma fired down a wide and then a dot ball, followed by a full toss which Misbah smoted into the stands. Six off four. Tension at its most taut; fingernails gone; nerves shredded.

Then Sharma sent in a full-pitched delivery, Misbah twisted his bat in his hands and scooped the ball up, high up into the air and straight into Sree Santh's grateful hands.

What a shot to play at such a moment.

Misbah had again lost his mind with the finish line in sight, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory to send a billion Indians into ecstasy, and a hundred million Pakistanis into agony.

Earlier Gautham Gambhir had rescued India's innings, scoring a well-crafted 75 to take them to a below-par 157. It proved defendable, though only just.

Here is the full match scorecard from Cricinfo.


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