Defending champions India will take on Pakistan on Sunday in the final of the 2017 Champions trophy and the anticipation for the clash is sure to rekindle memories of the last time they met in a final of an ICC tournament.
It was MS Dhoni’s India which squared off against Pakistan in the final of 2007 World T20 – the first time these two teams fought to become world champions. T20 cricket was still at a nascent stage in that period and an exciting battle between the two neighbours was exactly the kind of promotion it needed.
Just like Virat Kohli, It was Dhoni’s first ICC tournament as a captain, and he won the toss and decided to bat. Middle-order batsman Shoaib Malik was leading Pakistan’s charge. India handed a debut to Yusuf Pathan as opener as Virender Sehwag was ruled out due to an injury.
The openers gave India a quick-fire start, but two quick wickets (Pathan and Robin Uthappa) left India reeling on 40/2 from 5.4 overs.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man
Gautam Gambhir took the responsibility to steady the boat – as he normally has in big matches. He smashed 75 off 54 deliveries – four years later, he would go on to score 97 in the 2011 ODI World Cup final for India. He was well assisted by Rohit Sharma, who scored 30 off 22 balls, as India finished with 157 runs from 20 overs with the loss of five wickets.
Pakistan returned the favour
Pakistan’s start was not too different. The loss of quick wickets left them struggling on 65/4 from 8.3 overs. They were in desperate need of a messiah and Misbah-ul-Haq came forward. He played an extremely crucial innings under pressure to take his team within touching distance of the trophy.
Joginder Sharma’s magical over
With 13 runs required from the last over with one wicket in hand, Dhoni pulled off the biggest gamble of his captaincy career. Medium pacer Joginder Sharma was given the responsibility to take India across the line.
The chances of victory looked extremely bleak as the bowler conceded seven runs off the first two balls, but what happened next has become a legendary story.
Misbah decided to go for the scoop on the third ball of the over – the batsman moved across his stumps to place the ball behind the wicket, but his shot ended in the hands of S Sreesanth at short fine leg and it was all over.
India had won the maiden T20 World Cup and it was the start of their domination over world cricket – which continues till this day.
Feature image: AFP