It is March 2016 and if you can still manage to concentrate on your office work or on your studies if you are a student then please stop calling yourself a cricket fan because all what resides in the minds of cricket fanatics these days is in one way or another connected with the upcoming T20 World Cup leaving them good for nothing. The sight of teams practicing in India’s stadiums is enough to gee up any cricket crazy person but before we get to see the grueling battles between the participating teams why not spare some time and recollect some of the best clashes that have ever occurred in the comparatively.
#1. Pakistan Vs India 2007
Misbah had so conveniently deposited the cricket ball over the long off boundary for a massive six in a massive over of massive game. One needs all superlatives ever contemplated to describe the immenseness of this game that we are talking about. It was the final of the first World T20 Cup in South Africa, the two teams that were ramming against the doors of the citadel of victory were India and Pakistan. Misbah ul Haq was the man on crease. When everything seemed to have fallen apart for Pakistan, this guy stood like a rock against the waves of angry ocean.
India had set a fairly good target of 158 runs for Pakistan to become the champions. Pakistan’s batting can give their fans heart attacks from any situation and that is exactly what they did. Pakistan, which had played out of the world kind of cricket throughout the tournament were left groveling at 77-6 with their key all-rounder Shahid Afridi going back into the pavilion without disturbing the scorers at all. India had it covered but this is when the unimaginable happened. Misbah Ul Haq decided not to surrender. The lone man got little help from his tail0enders as well but his clean hitting surprised everyone. This was a man who was selected for this World Cup from out of the blue.
Maybe the selectors for once had made the right decision. In last 4 overs more than 50 runs were needed but Misbah, oblivious to any kind of pressure, brought the equation to 6 runs of 4 balls before trying to scoop it over fine leg and eventually getting caught. He brought the hopes of Pakistani people to a zenith they had never really scene before but a little error in judgement and all hopes went crashing down. T2O World Cup couldn’t have asked for any better final. It couldn’t have asked for any better game than this to announce itself. This match was one of the best cricketing games in the last decade.
#2. South Africa Vs Pakistan 2009
You asked anyone prior to this game who the T20World Cup winner would be and you would have had to walk miles before meeting someone who didn’t think that South Africa was the favorite team. Graeme Smith, Ab De Villiers, Harchelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn, Johan Botha. You name the top South African players and you will find that they were part of that squad. In the semifinal South Africa locked horns with a highly charged Pakistani team honchoed by Younis Khan. The day belonged to enigmatic Shahid Afridi who not only scored a fifty but took important wickets at crucial timings and gave Pakistan a famous victory.
#3. Australia Vs England 2010
Whenever these two teams come up against one another, tensions go high and stadiums go full. In the Final of 2010 WT20, these two arch rivals took on each other. Never before that day had England won any World Cup trophy so the pressure was naturally on them but when you have the likes of Kevin Pieterson in your dug out one need worry not. Batting first Australia could have wished for a better start as their wickets tumbled one after another but they managed to accumulate runs in the latter half of the innings setting a reasonable total of 148 for England to chase and chase they did. The now retired Kieswetter and the now banished Pieterson were the names that stood out for England as it clinched the World T20 Cup with a 7 wickets victory over the perennial rivals, Australia.
#4. West Indies Vs New Zealand 2012
SriLanka’s Pallekele International Cricket Stadium is one pitch that the kiwi middle order batsman Ross Taylor fancies on. In a group match of 2012 World T20 Cup, batting first West Indies scored a humbling 139 which in usual circumstances should be an easily chaseable target but slumps in kiwi batting didn’t really allow that to happen. Ross Taylor was the sole man who showed resistance and scored an impressive 62 runs but in their allocated overs, kiwi batsmen only mustered 139 exactly equal to the score of the boys from Caribbean. In the super over, kiwis scored 17 runs and chances of a Windies victory were all but gloom. Doing the impossible is what they are known for, the lads from Caribbean scored 19 runs in the super over to win the game.
#5. Australia Vs South Africa 2016
So far this game has been the best in 2016. The last ball thriller in which the Kangaroos emerged triumphant involved a record 161 runs partnership between David Warner and Glenn Maxwell. Nothing is safe from the reach of batsmen, this was what came out clear that day when South Africa scored a mammoth 204 and had little idea that at the end Aussies would call off the day with 205 runs. After sustaining 3 early disappointments in the shape of Finch, Smith and Watson, the duo took Australia to 150 for 3 plundering runs of all the bowlers who came in their way. In the last over 11 runs were needed and in ordinary circumstances a bowler of Riabada’s talent would have backed himself to defend that but after witnessing the brutal massacre by Warner and Maxwell, he lost control on his nerves and bowled a loose over which only helped Australia in getting a famous victory.
#6. Sri Lanka Vs Pakistan
Pakistan and SriLanka are two teams which had dominated this form of cricket right from its inception but recent changes in their teams and retirements of senior players have had adverse effects on both these teams. SriLanka and Pakistan were involved in a thriller on August 1, 2015 when batting first SriLanka scored 172 and had Pakistan’s batting lineup in tatters as they loosed half their team for about 40. Shahid Afridi’s lusty blows gave some support to the capsizing ship of Pakistan but the real star of the night was the little known all-rounder, Anwar Ali who came in and started hitting everything that came his way. Lasith Malinga is no easy bowler to play but he bludgeoned Malinga’s ball and reputation out of the park with disdain. He scored 46 important runs on just 22 balls. Imaad Waseem hit a six in the last over to take Pakistan across the line in
#7. Australia Vs India 2007
Australia was a team which steered itself to victory in almost all matches that it played in the first decade of the 21st century. In the semifinal of 2007 T20 World Cup, they came up against India, the eventual champions, and tasted defeat for a change. This match holds great significance because it was the first time since 1999 that Australia had been eliminated from a World Cup. All Indians remember this game with great fondness and no one can forget the cover drives that Yuvraj Singh played off Bret Lee. India scored 188 and in reply Australia fell short by
#8. West Indies Vs SriLanka
In the semifinal of 2009 World Cup, the two nations who can both be called as Islanders took the field of England’s great Oval Stadium. Batting first, SriLanka’s Dilshan proved too hot for the West Indian Bowlers as he scored 96 runs and fell short of his hundred by just 4 runs. What made this match more interesting was the first over by the young SriLankan all-rounder Angelo Mathews who took 3 wickets in the very first over to sign a defeat for West Indies. This match wasn’t as tight as many of the preceding ones in the list but it is one of the great clashes because of the quality of batting skills exhibited by Dilshan in this game and the interesting first
#9. Australia Vs Pakistan 2012
By the time Australia came against Pakistan in the semifinals of the World T20 in the Caribbean, the Pakistanis had already become well versed in the art of playing T2O and were cruising their way to another T20 World Cup final. Batting first, Pakistan had erected an edifice of a total thanks to the partnership between Akmal brothers who went berserk at Gros Islet. Both of them scored fifties and powered Pakistan to a mighty total of 191. Chasing such a big total, Australians showed great character and their “never say die” attitude was all but showcased on that day. But it was Australia’s Mr. Cricket, Mike Hussey, who played the innings of his life to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat for his team. Hussey absolutely annihilated Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal who was bowling the last over trying to defend some 17+ runs in his last over. Ajmal didn’t get to complete that over because Hussey had chased down the total even before the over had been completed. That was one of the most spirited innings ever by an Aussie batsman and the celebrations that ensued were certainly even more spirited.