Since its inaugural edition in 2007, T20 has given fans innumerable reasons to cheer about. Despite being said slam-bang version of the ‘Gentleman’s Game’, it has been much more than just the batsmen calling shots while others were reduced to mere spectators. While on some occasions, the proverbial David triumphed over Goliath, on others bowlers turned out to be the menacing trump cards. Even fielders showed their mettle with matches and titles being decided with a single brave attempt out in the field.
Overall, the World Twenty20 has changed the way cricket is played and enjoyed around the world. Here we take a look at the top 10 moments in its short but rich history. The World Twenty20, being not so far away, we thought of taking a trip down the memory lane. The list is not all inclusive but just some which have outrightly impressed us the most.
1. Sreesanth’s catch – India vs Pakistan, 2007 World Twenty20 final
Catches win matches, but sometime it can win one the World Title. Sreesanth’s catch of Misbah-ul-Haq in the inaugural 2007 World Twenty20 final was one such occasion. Chasing India’s 157/5, Pakistan needed 13 off the final over, bowled by rookie Joginder Sharma. The start was horrific as Sharma conceded a wide and a six that brought the winning equation to six off four balls. The task looked easy for Pakistan till Misbah tried to scoop Sharma over short fine leg, but then Sreesanth was alert enough to take perhaps the most important catch of his life. It also marked the start of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s successful reign as India captain.
2. West Indies’ 2012 World Twenty20 Triumph
For all those who deemed West Indies cricket to be dead already, this was a moment to stand up and take notice. After years of slumber, the cricketing giant that West Indies once was, roared up, courtesy the World Twenty20. Top teams like Sri Lanka (final), Australia (semifinal), New Zealand (Super Eight) and England (Super Eight) fell to Caribbean might. It was also West Indies’ first major title in eight years after the 2004 Champions Trophy. Marlon Samuels (230 runs), Chris Gayle (222) and Sunil Narine (nine wickets) were the top performers in this historic win.
3. Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes of Stuart Broad – India vs England, 2007 World Twenty20 (Group E)
Yuvraj Singh has always been an impact player, with his uncanny ability to turn a match single handedly. The inaugural World Twenty20 got a proof of it in the 19th over of the Indian innings against England. A hapless Stuart Broad saw his six deliveries being smacked to sixes in the cow corner, square leg, extra cover, backward point, mid-wicket and mid-on regions, respectively. The onslaught helped Yuvraj score a 12-ball 50, the fastest Twenty20 fifty till date, equalled by Chris Gayle only recently. It was also only the fourth time that six sixes were hit in an over in senior cricket. India ended on 218/4 and won the match by 18 runs.
4. England winning 2010 World Twenty20
England had never won a world title before the 2010 World Twenty20. For a country, that is considered the home of cricket, it was an ignominy that should have been erased long back. Nevertheless, as fate would have it, England faced arch-rivals Australia in the final. England kept a tight leash on Australia to restrict them to 147/6 in 20 overs. Then courtesy Craig Kieswetter’s 49-ball 63, England reached the target with three overs to spare. Fittingly for England skipper Paul Collingwood, the winning runs were hit by him. It was the start of a cricket revolution for England as they defeated Australia for the first Ashes win in Australia in 24 years. England then defeated India in a Test series at home to be crowned World No. 1 in Tests.
5. Brett Lee’s hat-trick – Australia vs Bangladesh, 2007 World Twenty20 (Group F)
Brett Lee’s raw pace was a menacing factor for batsmen around the world. The Australian speedster put it to good use as he entered history books as the first player to take a hat-trick in World Twenty20. He scalped the wickets of Shakib Al-Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza and Alok Kapali of successive deliveries. While Shakib edged to wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, Mortaza was bowled by a yorker and Kapali was trapped in front of the wicket for a LBW. Australia won the match by nine wickets and Lee’s figures read three for 27 in four overs.
6. Zimbabwe’s win over Australia, 2007 World Twenty20 (Group B)
It was a David vs Goliath battle, and much like the Biblical story, ‘David’ Zimbabwe triumphed over ‘Goliath’ Australia. It was only the second day of the inaugural World Twenty20, as the reigning ODI world champions Australia found them in an embarrassing situation. Elton Chigumbura and Gary Brent combined to restrict Australia to 138/9 in 20 overs. A 45-ball 60 from Brendan Taylor then ensured that Zimbabwe register one of their biggest wins ever by five wickets.
7. Brendon McCullum’s 123 – New Zealand vs Bangladesh, 2012 World Twenty20 (Group D)
Brendon McCullum’s panache to bully the bowlers with clean hits is a well-known fact. Bangladeshi bowlers bore the brunt of it in the 2012 edition as the New Zealand captain pulverised them with a 58-ball 123, which included 11 fours and seven sixes. He raced to the century-run mark in just 51 balls. This is till now the highest individual score in World Twenty20. Thanks to McCullum’s hard-hitting, New Zealand ended on 191/3 and won the match by 59 runs.
8. Sri Lanka’s 260 vs Kenya, 2007 World Twenty20 (Group C)
Twenty20 is a format where batsmen rule the roost. But what Sri Lanka achieved against Kenya in the inaugural World Twenty20 is a stuff of legends. Courtesy Sanath Jayasuriya’s 44-ball 88, Mahela Jayawardene’s 27-ball 65 and Jehan Mubarak’s 13-ball 46, Sri Lanka notched 260/6 – the highest innings total ever in Twenty20I. Their run-rate of 13 per over is also the highest ever. It did not stop there as Lankans dismissed Kenya for a mere 88, thus winning by a margin of 172 runs – the highest victory margin (runs) in Twenty20I ever.
9. Ajantha Mendis’ 6/8, Sri lanka vs Zimbabwe, 2012 World Twenty20
It was one of the few occasions when bowlers called the shots in World Twenty20. It was the first match of the World Twenty20 and hosts Sri Lanka gave Zimbabwe a daunting 183-run target. Mendis then wove a web of spin that had Zimbabwe on the mat. Out of his six victims, three – Hamilton Masakadza, Vusi Sibanda and Elton Chigumbura – were bowled. Following Mendis’ show, Sri Lanka clinched the match by 82 runs. His 6/8 is still the best bowling figures in a Twenty20I match.
10. Sri Lanka Packing Netherlands for 39, 2014 World Twenty20 (Group 1)
Fell Like a Pack of Cards – the idiom must have been invented to describe something like this match. The Netherlands were dismissed for mere 39 in 10.3 overs – the lowest ever score in Twenty20I. Four of their batsmen fell for zero while , Tom Cooper (16) was the only player to reach double figure mark. For Sri Lanka, Ajantha Mendis and Angelo Mathews picked three wickets each. Sri Lanka reached the target in just five overs, winning by nine wickets. This was also the lowest aggregate for a Twenty20I match – 79.