Monday, September 24, 2007

INDIA WINS ! ! ! ---- Dhoni The Gambler wins the last Hand

SOURCE-ICC Official Website

There was no time to chew finger-nails or even think of thumping hearts as India's bowlers dug deep in their self-belief in successfully defending its low total of 157 for five to lay its hands on the ICC World Twenty20 crown with an emotional six-run victory over Pakistan at the magnificent Wanders Cricket Stadium.

There could not have been a more hard-fought contest than this one, with there being many heroes again, the team being the biggest. Gautam Gambhir (75) and Rohit Sharma (30 not out) managed the Indian innings at either end of the 20 overs and helped India to 157. Rudra Pratap Singh and man of the match Irfan Pathan took three wickets each to keep India in the hunt.

Pakistan had its stellar performers too. Umar Gul led the bowling as Pakistan kept India's batsmen in check; the two spinners Mohammed Hafeez and man of the series Shahid Afridi were instrumental in applying the brakes in second quarter of the Indian innings. And when it batted, opener Imran Nazir (33) and Misbah-ul-Haq (43) kept their chins up.

India's two left-arm seamers made the difference between winning and losing, when the bowlers were left the task of defending 157. With Mahendra Singh Dhoni leading the team with a calm and assured head, the team embraced the never-say-die spirit to keep Pakistan at bay, especially after Nazir gave the chase a fantastic start with 21 runs off S Sreesanth's first over .

Pathan finished with three for 16 – a perfect response to Gul's figures of three for 28. He claimed the wickets of Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi in an over to swing the game India's way until Misbah-ul-Haq waded into Harbhajan Singh by hitting the off-spinner for three sixes in an over. The faster bowlers returned to stop the Pakistanis in their track.

With Sohail Tanvir also claiming two sixes of Sreesanth, Pakistan was in the chase but the fast bowler claimed his revenge and then bowling the final over, Joginder Sharma got Misbah-ul-Haq to play the lap shot to the man at short fine leg to complete an amazing win and cap a tournament in which the Indians died several deaths but refused to give in.

There really was no time to do anything but keep eyes on the ball during the thrill-a-minute contest that advertised the beauty of T20 cricket.
And as the DJ played the title track from Chak de! India, there was not a dry eye in the stadium. The Pakistani fans were in tears that Misbah-ul-Haq took the side so close and could not seal the win. The Indians could not control their emotions any longer and let the tears flow. Some tried to sing along and realized their voices were choked.

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