T20 World Cup past winners: 2007 – India’s moment of reckoning

Low on self-belief after a humiliating first-round exit from the World Cup, lacking in experience after playing a lone T20 International against South Africa in 2006, led by MS Dhoni who was making his captaincy debut, India was far from being the favourite to lift the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007.

It didn’t help that India’s first match of the tournament, against Scotland, which could have served as much-needed preparation ahead of the clash against arch-rival Pakistan, was a washout.

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The marquee clash was one for the ages, ending in an unprecedented football scoreline as India beat Pakistan 3-0 in the first-ever tie-break bowl out in international cricket. India secured two crucial points and progressed to the Super 8 stage.

Grouped in the pool of death, India was pipped by the Kiwis by 10 runs in its first match in the Super 8s. In a must-win scenario against England, Yuvraj Singh launched a hapless Stuart Broad into the Durban night sky with six sixes off his over, and registered a 12-ball fifty, the fastest-ever in international cricket. With momentum on its side, India went on to outclass an unbeaten South Africa by 37 runs to seal a semifinal berth.

Up against the mighty Aussies in the last-four, India put up an imposing 188 with another Yuvraj special of 70 runs from 30 balls before the pacers put their hands up along with Harbhajan Singh to hand India a 15-run win. Locking horns against Pakistan in the final, India was missing Virender Sehwag with an injury and was replaced by debutant Yusuf Pathan. After a shaky start, India’s top-scorer of the tournament, Gautam Gambhir, played anchor with a gritty 54-ball 75 before newcomer Rohit Sharma’s cameo of 30 off 16 helped the team post a fighting 157.

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Down and out at 77/6 after Shahid Afridi fell for a golden duck, Misbah-ul-Haq led Pakistan’s fightback and got the team within touching distance. With the equation down to six runs off four balls, Misbah played the infamous scoop straight to S. Sreesanth at short fine-leg, handing India a five-run win and a World Cup title after 28 years.

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