Monday 24 September 2007 

India Hold On To Clinch World Twenty20 Title

India survived a last-ditch onslaught from Misbah-ul-Haq to win the final of the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 by five runs against Pakistan in Johannesburg.

India scored 157 for 5 before bowling Pakistan out for 152.

Pakistan got off to a good start in their run chase, mainly thanks to 33 from Imran Nazir although losing Mohammad Hafeez for 1 and Kamran Akmal for a duck kept things in the balance.

Irfan Pathan (3 for 16) and RP Singh (3 for 27) then turned in brilliant performances to really turn the screw and when Pathan had Shahid Afridi caught by Sreesanth for a golden duck, it looked like there was no way back for Pakistan.

Enter Misbah, and unlikely near-hero Sohail Tanvir, who between them struck six sixes in three overs to bring the target into range. Last man Mohammad Asif played his part with an edged four to leave Pakistan requiring 13 to win from the last over.

Nervous Joginder Sharma sent down a wide, then a full toss that was hammered for six by Misbah. Then followed a dot ball, and with the pressure growing, Misbah then attempted to scoop the ball over fine leg, but failed to clear Sreesanth, who took the catch to send the Indian players and spectators wild with delight.

The crestfallen Misbah had scored 44 from 38 balls and must wonder what he must do to taste victory over India, having narrowly failed take his side to victory with a half-century in the group match which ended in a tie before India won on a bowl out.

Earlier, Umar Gul excelled once again with three for 28 as India themselves were unable to capitalise on a fine start. They were 40 for 2 from six overs with Gautam Gambhir scoring a majestically compiled 75 before the middle-order of Robin Uthappa (8), Yuvraj Singh (14) and Mahendra Dhoni (6) couldn't kick on.

It was left to Rohit Sharma, fast developing into a player to watch, to hit a swift 30 from 16 balls to push them past the 150 mark. At the time, it didn't look like enough, but under pressure, it was Pakistan who wilted, and the Indian bowlers had just enough in reserve to take the title.

© Cricket World 2007