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T20 World Cup: 15 years and five strokes of cricket history

Dubious cricket records, a bowl-out, sixes raining—the T20 World Cup has witnessed some memorable moments

The Indian team celebrates after beating Pakistan in a bowl-out to decide the outcome of a tied group D match in the 2007 T20 World Cup at Kingsmead, Durban. (Getty)

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Even though this is just the eighth edition of the T20 World Cup in the 15 years since the inaugural one in 2007, plenty of moments and individual performances have stood out—from Yuvraj Singh’s 6 sixes in one over against England in 2007 to M.S. Dhoni’s heroic last-ball run-out effort against Bangladesh in the 2016 tournament. Here’s a look at some of them.

India, Pakistan and the 2007 tournament

India and Pakistan highlighted two of the biggest moments of the 2007 T20 World Cup. While the epic final between the two will stand the test of time, the first moment arrived in a group D match at Kingsmead, Durban. Chasing India’s total of 141, Pakistan’s Yasir Arafat and Misbah-ul-Haq needed to score just one run off the last two deliveries, having started the final over needing 12 runs for a victory. Instead, the match ended in a thrilling tie after Misbah was run-out. A bowl-out followed to decide the winner.

Each team picked five players who would bowl at the stumps, taking turns alternately. The team with the most hits wins—almost like a penalty shootout in football. Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Robin Uthappa hit the stumps for India, while Arafat, Umar Gul and Shahid Afridi all missed. India had won. In the end, the result didn’t hurt either of the teams. Both India and Pakistan qualified for the Super Eights and would go on to face each other in the final. The bowl-out method has since been replaced by a “super over” as a tie-breaking method.

Chris Gayle’s historic century

West Indies (now known as the Windies) met South Africa in the first match of the 2007 Cup. Chris Gayle became the first person to score a century in an official T20 international. Gayle’s sensational innings (117 off 57 balls) saw him hit 10 sixes and 7 fours, at an astonishing strike rate of 205.26. The performance was in vain, however, as South Africa comfortably chased down the Windies target of 205 runs. The Windies also lost their second group match against Bangladesh, sealing their elimination from the tournament. Gayle went on to become one of the most dominant batsmen in T20 international cricket and still holds the record for most sixes in T20 World Cups (63).

The Netherlands stun England at Lord’s

The shorter format has also produced its share of shock results. In the opening match of the 2009 tournament at Lord’s, the Netherlands caused a massive upset by beating hosts England. Chasing a target of 162, the Dutch team capitalised on an excellent innings of 49 by Tom de Grooth and took the game to the last ball of their innings. Needing two runs from one ball, Edgar Schiferli faced England pacer Stuart Broad, with Ryan ten Doeschate at the other end. Broad’s delivery was smashed right back at him, as both the Dutch players attempted a single. Broad went for a direct hit at the non-striker’s end but missed. The overthrow allowed Schiferli and ten Doeschate to take a second run for their victory, as a horde of orange-clad Dutch ran on to the pitch to celebrate. England captain Paul Collingwood was gracious in defeat, admitting that the Dutch put in a “major performance”. Not bad for a team making its first appearance at the T20 World Cup.

Carlos Brathwaite of the West Indies celebrates hitting the winning runs against England in the 2016 T20 World Cup final at the Eden Gardens, in Kolkata.
Carlos Brathwaite of the West Indies celebrates hitting the winning runs against England in the 2016 T20 World Cup final at the Eden Gardens, in Kolkata. (Getty)

Carlos Brathwaite’s demolition act

There’s something about Windies batsmen dispatching sixes for fun and English bowlers at the receiving end of such match-winning innings at a T20 World Cup. In the 2016 final, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, the Windies needed 19 from their last over to reach their target of 155. Crucially for England, Marlon Samuels, who had by then scored 85 from 66 balls, was not on strike. England seemed in control as their trusted all-rounder, Ben Stokes, faced up against Carlos Brathwaite.

What followed was carnage. One six heaved into the leg side. The next one smashed over long-on. The third sailed over long-off. The fourth and final six disappeared into the stands towards deep midwicket. 6, 6, 6, 6. Stokes was on his knees in disbelief as Brathwaite roared, his bat held high. The Windies had become T20 World Cup champions for the second time.

Records still standing tall

Some individual and team records have stood the test of time. Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene, who retired in 2015, has the most runs in the tournament’s history (1,016 in 31 matches). Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan has the most wickets to his name, with 41 from 31 matches.

The list of centurions in the T20 World Cup just has eight names: Chris Gayle (2), Suresh Raina (India), Jayawardene, Brendon McCullum (New Zealand), Alex Hales (England), Ahmed Shahzad (Pakistan), Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh) and Jos Buttler (England). Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi and Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan hold the record for most ducks (five each). Unsurprisingly, South Africa’s A.B. de Villiers, one of the finest fielders of his generation, holds the record for most catches in a tournament (23).

Also read: T20 World Cup 2022: Get set for the cricket battle down under

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