The Indian Cricket Team won the inaugural edition of the World T20 tournament played in South Africa by beating Pakistan in the finals by 5 runs. The Indian Cricket Team were without senior players including Zaheer Khan, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar.
They were placed with Scotland and Pakistan in Pool D. The first match against Scotland at Kingsmead, Durban on 13th September was abandoned due to rain.
The 2nd match against the arch-rivals against Pakistan at Durban on 14th September was a classic affair as India won via Bowl out. In that match, Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik won the toss and decided to field first. The Indian team was reduced to 36 for 4 with Gambhir, Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, and Dinesh Karthik being dismissed cheaply. Robin Uthappa and MS Dhoni steadied the Indian innings adding 46 runs for the 5th wicket. Uthappa 50, MS Dhoni 33 and Irfan Pathan quickfire 20 off 15 balls helped India post 141 for 9.
The Indian bowlers produced a sensational effort as they reduced Pakistan to 103 for 6. Misbah UL Haq played a great knock scoring 53 off 35 balls and was dismissed off the last ball via run out. In the bowl out, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, and Robin Uthappa hit the stumps. Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul and Afridi missed the stumps. By winning this match, India qualified for the Super 8 stage.
India was placed with New Zealand, England and South Africa in Group E. MS Dhoni-led side lost their first match against New Zealand played on 16th September 2007 at Wanders Stadium, Johannesburg. Indian captain MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to field first. Lou Vicent was dismissed in the 2nd over. Peter Fulton and Brendon McCullum added 58 runs for the 2nd wicket. India reduced New Zealand to 91 for 5. Jacob Oram and Craig McMailian 73 runs stand for the 6th wicket helped NZ post 190.
In reply, Sehwag and Gambhir got Indian team off to a flying start adding 76 runs in first 6 overs. After the loss of Sehwag’ wicket, India kept losing wickets at regular intervals and could only score 180 for 9 in 20 overs.
The Indian Cricket Team took on England in an all-important match played at Kingsmead, Durban on 19th September. Indian captain MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to bat first. Sehwag and Gambhir put on 136 runs for the opening wicket. Yuvraj Singh provided the magic hitting 6 sixes off Stuart Broad’s bowling. He hit the fastest half-century in T20I cricket. Thanks to his knock, India posted a massive total of 218 for 4.
Despite the England batsmen scoring 200, RP Singh and Irfan Pathan economical bowling, India defeated England by 18 runs to keep their hopes alive of reaching the semi-finals.
In their last league match against South Africa played on 20th September at Durban, Indian captain MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to bat first. The Indian Cricket Team were reduced to 61 for 4. Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni added 85 runs for the 5th wicket. The young Rohit scored an important unbeaten 50 off 40 balls. Their partnership helped India recover to 153 for 5.
It was a brilliant bowling effort as RP Singh 4 for 13, Sreesanth 2 for 23 helped India bowl out hosts South Africa for 116 to knock the hosts out of the tournament. With this win, the Indian team reached the semi-finals.
The Indian Cricket Team produced another sensational performance against a strong Australian unit in the semi-finals at Kingsmead, Durban on 22nd September. Indian captain MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to bat first.
India lost 2 early wickets of Gambhir and Sehwag. Yuvraj Singh came to the crease and took the attack to the Australian bowling. He played with aggressive intent reached his fifty off just 20 balls. Singh scored a quickfire 70 off 30 balls and added 84 runs for the 3rd wicket. MS Dhoni played a quickfire cameo with 36 off 18 balls to help Team India post 188 for 5 in 20 overs.
Defending the target of 189 runs to win, Sreesanth produced a magical spell getting the wicket of Adam Gilchrist cheaply. As things were looking good for the Aussies, Sreesanth got important wicket of Matthew Hayden for 62. Irfan Pathan dismissed Andrew Symonds to dash Australian hopes. India restricted Australia to 173 for 7 and won the match by 15 runs to reach the finals.
The finals saw India and Pakistan meet again at Wanders Stadium, Johannesburg on 24th September 2007. Yusuf Pathan came to open the innings with Gambhir. Sehwag was ruled due to an injury. Gambhir played a great knock scoring 75 off 54 balls. The Indian team struggled to score runs when Rohit Sharma came to the crease and scored a quickfire 30 off 16 balls. India posted 157 for in 20 overs.
Defending the target of 158 runs to win, the Indian bowlers produced a magical performance reducing Pakistan to 77 for 6. Misbah UL Haq showed his class with bat. With 13 runs needed to win off last over, MS Dhoni gave the ball to Joginder Sharma and was hit for a six off the 2nd ball. With 6 runs required off 4 balls, Joginder dismissed Misbah with a catch by Sreesanth.
It was a great day as none of the fans expected the young side to go out and help India register a memorable win. After the 1983 World Cup win, MS Dhoni as a captain proved his worth and won his first title.
Every team member contributed to the team’s success. It was a great day for Indian cricket as, without senior players, they achieved the impossible and fans in India celebrated for the night on that day.