The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup has begun with the first round matches underway followed by the Super 12 stage that will feature the highly-anticipated India vs Pakistan on clash on Sunday. Five years after the epic final of the 2016 edition, which was one of the best examples of the unpredictability of the format, the delayed T20 World Cup is back, being held in UAE and Oman.
In the marquee tournament of the most unpredictable format, the first major upset has already happened as Scotland stunned Bangladesh on the opening day. It sets the tone for a competitive tournament overall with qualifiers and lower-ranked teams – including former champions Sri Lanka – battling it out before the the higher-ranked teams start their campaign.
As we get into World Cup, here’s a look at some of the most memorable moments from the past editions.
Yuvraj takes route 6x6
At the inaugural 2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa, India’s Yuvraj Singh hit six sixes in an over off the hapless Stuart Broad in a group game against England in Durban.
Yuvraj had been inspired by a verbal altercation with Andrew Flintoff and he went on to lead his team to an 18-run win. India then defeated Pakistan in the final, to mark MS Dhoni’s first major win as captain. Yuvraj was named Player of the Tourament for his all-round contribution, with the six sixes being a major highlight. He reached a half century in 12 balls that night, and it remains the fastest international fifty till date.
Dutch courage at Lord’s
In the 2009 tournament opener, the Netherlands pulled off a sensational four-wicket win over England at Lord’s, the ‘Home of Cricket’, in one of the sport’s greatest shocks. Chasing 163 to win, the Dutch scored two runs off the final ball.
Tommy de Grooth, who made a crucial 49 for the Netherlands, said: “We set out a few months ago to achieve a few things – and this was one. We wanted to play at Lord’s, qualify for the World Cup in 2011 and beat a big nation, and I think we just did that.”
England has been at the receiving end of a few upsets on the World Cup stage, but this one at home was an especially tough one to swallow.
Carlos Brathwaite, ‘remember the name’
England sensed victory in the 2016 final at Eden Gardens where West Indies, chasing a 156-run target, needed 19 off the final over. Not an impossible ask but an unlikely one. But not on the night.
With Marlon Samuels at the other end after a crucial innings of 85 runs in 66 balls, Brathwaite launched four successive sixes off Ben Stokes into the Kolkata night sky. There was nothing to be done but watch in amazement as Windies pulled off a stunning finale, hours after the women’s team had similarly upset the odds against Australia in their final. It was a special day for West Indies women and men’s teams.
“Carlos Brathwaite! Carlos Brathwaite - remember the name! History for the West Indies,” said commentator Ian Bishop. A line, and a moment, that has gone down in cricket history.
Pakistan heal wounds
Two years after their heartbreaking final defeat to old rivals India by just five runs in Johannesburg, Pakistan took the 2009 trophy with an eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka at Lord’s. Pakistan restricted Sri Lanka to 138/6 before superstar Shahid Afridi led the run chase, hitting an unbeaten 54 off 40 balls.
Mohammad Amir, then a young gun, set the tone for the win with a superb over against opener Tillakaratne Dilshan, who had scored 317 runs at 52.83. But the Pakistan pacer bowled a wicket maiden to kick off the final.
Sri Lanka had to wait for a long time to be world champions since their famous triumph in 1996, after losing two finals in World T20 and more in the 50-over World Cup. But their time came in 2014, beating India in the edition held in Bangladesh.
But they needed all the wily skills and control of spinner Rangana Herath to just make the semi-finals. Facing New Zealand in a make-or-break qualifying game, Sri Lanka were bowled out for just 119 against an explosive batting lineup.
But veteran Herath dismissed Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi and Trent Boult as the Black Caps were undone for just 60 runs. Herath claimed five wickets for just three runs in one of the most memorable spells by a spinner at the World Cup level.
Root, Roy star in epic chase
At the 2016 tournament, South Africa piled up 229/4 in Mumbai off their 20 overs with Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy all making half-centuries.
At the time it was second highest ever total at a T20 World Cup, but eventual runners-up England dug deep as Joe Root hit a 44-ball 83 and Jason Roy smashed 43 from 16 deliveries. England lost two wickets in the last over with the scores level before Moeen Ali sealed victory with two balls to spare.
It was an early indication of the formidable white-ball batting unit England were to become. In 2019, the unit would go on to be crowned World Champions and the signs of white-ball dominance were evident already.
With AFP Inputs