India win Twenty20 title after rousing finale
by AFP

Ground:New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Scorecard:India v Pakistan
Event:ICC Twenty20 World Championship 2007/08

DateLine: 24th September 2007


Mahendra Singh Dhoni's young Indian team snatched the inaugural Twenty20 world title after defeating arch-rivals Pakistan by five runs in a thrilling final on Monday.


The Indians, restricted to 157-5 after electing to take first strike in good batting conditions, fought back to bowl out valiant Pakistan for 152 before a sell-out crowd of 32,000 at the Wanderers here.


Pakistan appeared out for the count when they were reduced to 104-7 after 16 overs, but Misbah-ul Haq gave the Indians a scare with a late charge of 43 off 38 balls.


Misbah and his tail-end partners took 19 runs in the 17th over bowled by spinner Harbhajan Singh, 13 in the 18th of Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and seven runs in the 19th from Rudra Pratap Singh, leaving 13 to get off the final over.


Seamer Joginder Sharma bowled a wide off the first ball and was hammered for a six by Misbah with the second legitimate ball, but gave India victory with his next delivery as the batsman holed out to fine-leg.


Rudra Pratap and Irfan Pathan claimed three wickets each as Pakistan's jinx of never having beaten India in a World Cup or world championship match continued.


Top Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan was at hand to witness India take home the winner's purse of 490,000 dollars while Pakistan received no prize money for their efforts in the final.


The Indian cricket board announced a separate bonus of two million dollars for the triumphant team which had played just one Twenty20 international before the tournament and were without senior pros Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly.


"It was a real team effort," said Dhoni. "I am so proud of my team for fighting till the end and never giving up hope.


"I had told them before the match that all I needed was 100 percent effort, it did not matter if we won or lost. We gave it our all and won in the end."


Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik also praised his young team, saying they did not go down without a fight.


"We kept India to under 160, but lost too many wickets at the start," said Malik. "But I am very happy my team did not give up hope and fought till the end."


India's innings was restricted by seamer Umar Gul who scalped three prize wickets of Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni and top-scorer Gautam Gambhir.


Gambhir slammed 75 off 54 balls, studded with eight boundaries and two sixes, but none of the other batsmen settled in to play a long innings.


The best partnership in the innings was between Gambhir and Yuvraj, who put on 63 for the third wicket.


India's total was boosted by Rohit Sharma and Irfan Pathan who plundered 27 runs in the final two overs. Sharma remained unbeaten on a 16-ball 30.


Pakistan's chase of the victory target of eight runs an over was launched by Imran Nazir who smashed 33 off 14 balls, taking 21 runs in the second over sent down by Sreesanth.


But Pakistan lost three wickets by the sixth over as left-armer Rudra Pratap dismissed Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal in his first two overs and Nazir was run out by a direct throw from Robin Uthappa.


Pakistan took the total to 65-3 in the ninth over when three further wickets fell for 12 runs, two in one over from Irfan Pathan, who was named man of the match.


Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi was declared the player of the tournament despite falling for zero in the final.

(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP)


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