Yuvraj’s sixes, Brathwaite’s blitzes, and more: 15 best moments from the T20 World Cup

When the inaugural T20 World Cup — it was called World T20 then — was held in South Africa in 2007, the shortest format of cricket was taking its baby steps. Fifteen years later, as the eighth edition of the tournament opens Down Under, we rewind 15 unforgettable moments from the T20 World Cup.

Yuvraj Singh lines up for a big hit off Stuart Broad in the 2007 World T20. Thanks to his six sixes in the over, he reached his 50 off just 12 deliveries. It remains the fastest fifty in international cricket across formats.

Yuvraj Singh lines up for a big hit off Stuart Broad in the 2007 World T20. Thanks to his six sixes in the over, he reached his 50 off just 12 deliveries. It remains the fastest fifty in international cricket across formats. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

When the inaugural T20 World Cup — it was called World T20 then — was held in South Africa in 2007, the shortest format of cricket was taking its baby steps. Fifteen years later, as the eighth edition of the tournament opens Down Under, we rewind 15 unforgettable moments from the T20 World Cup.

Slam bang Yuvraj

2007: India v England, Durban

Poor Stuart Broad. He had to pay the price for teammate Andrew Flintoff’s sledging of Yuvraj Singh. Before the start of Broad’s over, the dashing left-hander had hit the England all-rounder for two successive fours. The first ball from Broad went over long-on deep into the stands. The seamer then continued to disappear into the stands at different parts of the field — over square leg, long-off, backward point, deep midwicket and long-on again. With those six consecutive sixes, Yuvraj raced to 50 off just 12 balls. It remains the fastest fifty in international cricket across formats.

Mendis’ six-for

2012: Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, Hambantota

Ajantha Mendis, returning to the team after an eight-month lay-off because of a back injury, gave Sri Lanka a perfect start, spinning the host to a comprehensive victory in the tournament’s opening match. Chasing 183 was always going to be an uphill task for Zimbabwe, and the wily off-spinner made it an impossible one. He got going with just his third ball, which pitched on the middle stump and took it, leaving Hamilton Masakadza dumbfounded. The rest of the Zimbabwean batting didn’t have any answer to his googlies and carrom balls, either. The figures — 4-2-8-6 — were the best ever in T20I at the time. Ten years on, they are the fourth best.

Brathwaite goes berserk

2016: West Indies v England, Kolkata

When Chris Jordan denied Marlon Samuels, batting on 85 (66b, 9x4, 2x6), a single off the last ball of the 19th over, England must have heaved a sigh of relief. With West Indies requiring 19 from the final over, Eoin Morgan’s men would certainly have preferred Carlos Braithwaite (10 not out, 6b, 1x4) to be on strike. They would have wanted him to keep Samuels at the non-striking end as much as possible. They got their wish: Samuels remained there till the end of the match. He morphed into one of the 66,000-odd spectators, as Braithwaite slammed four consecutive sixes off a stunned Ben Stokes to make the West Indies the first — and only — team to win the T20 World title twice.

Quickfire Netherlands

2014: Ireland v Netherlands, Sylhet

In the battle between two minnows, the smaller one triumphed in stunning fashion. The Netherlands needed to score 190 to win, but if it wanted to move into the Super 10, it had to make those runs in 14.2 overs. And it did in 13.5 overs. The chase was set up by opener Stephan Myburgh, who slammed a 23-ball 63, with four fours and seven sixes, including a splendid one over long-on off Alex Cusack. Tom Cooper’s 45 off just 15 balls all but ensured the Dutch would meet the requirement.

Amir opens with a wicket-maiden

2009: Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Lord’s

A statistician’s delight it wasn’t, but the first over of the Sri Lankan innings in the final of the 2009 edition could be just about the closest you could get to a Test-match over in T20 cricket. Mohammad Amir got Tillakaratne Dilshan, the tournament’s leading scorer, out for a duck with the fifth ball. He had begun with a superb bouncer that had the batter swaying out of harm’s path. He continued to bowl short, frustrating Dilshan, who eventually scooped the fifth ball to fine-leg, where Shahzaib Hasan took a fine running catch. Sanath Jayasuriya could not score off the last ball, giving Amir, just 17 then, a wicket-maiden. Sri Lanka could only make 138 for six; it was overtaken by Pakistan with eight balls to spare.

Netherlands caused one of the biggest upsets in T20 World Cups when it beat England at Lord’s in 2009.

Netherlands caused one of the biggest upsets in T20 World Cups when it beat England at Lord’s in 2009. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Young guns fire on all cylinders

2007: India beats arch rival Pakistan twice

It was a tournament neither the BCCI nor the senior players were too keen on. The ICC’s chairman Ehsan Mani and CEO Malcolm Speed managed to ensure India’s participation, but it wasn’t the first-choice team that was sent to South Africa. In the absence of stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, the captain at the time, a young Mahendra Singh Dhoni, led the side — and all the way to the title. India was grouped with Pakistan and won the league match in a bowl-out after the scores were tied. The arch rivals met again in the final, in which India won in a more conventional way — by five runs. And cricket was never the same again.

Herath’s magic spell

2014: Sri Lanka v New Zealand, Chattogram

Rangana Herath had a hand in the seven dismissals out of nine (an injured Corey Anderson did not bat). Sri Lanka had just 119 to defend, 18 of which had already been knocked off when he came on in the fourth over. Off his first ball, Martin Guptill was run-out, his swift throw back to wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara doing the trick. The duo combined again for the last ball of the over, Sangakkara whipping the bails, off one that turned away from Brendon McCullum. The left-arm spinner took wickets off the last two balls of his second over, at the end of which his figures read 2-2-0-3. He finished with 3.3-2-5-3, leading Lanka, the eventual champion, to a 59-run win.

Dhoni — smart, swifter

2016: India v Bangladesh, Bengaluru

It was arguably the greatest race between a batter and a wicket-keeper in international cricket. With Bangladesh needing a run to tie the scores and force a Super Over, Mustafizur Rahman dashed off from the non-striking end to steal a bye, but he was outsprinted by Dhoni, who had already taken his right glove off in case he was required to throw. He ran with the ball, after Shuvagata Hom failed to connect Hardik Pandya, and knocked off the off-stump.

A first for England

2010: England v Australia, Bridgetown

Eoin Morgan may have revolutionised England’s white-ball cricket, but a less flamboyant Paul Collingwood led the country to its first global title four years before the former became the captain. Fittingly, it was Collingwood who scored the winning runs in the final against a familiar opponent, Australia, which could only make 147 for six. Interestingly, Morgan was at the non-striking end. But the job had nearly been accomplished by opener Craig Kieswetter, who hit a 49-ball 63 and added 111 for the second-wicket with fellow South-African born Kevin Pietersen (47, 31b).

Umar Gul’s dazzling show

2009: Pakistan v New Zealand, The Oval

Umar Gul did not bowl until the 13th over. Five other bowlers had already been tried by the Pakistan captain Younis Khan and they hadn’t done badly, either. New Zealand had been reduced to 72 for four. The Gul show began with two dot balls followed by a wide. Off the next ball, he had Scott Styris caught by a running Shahid Afridi at long-on. Next came a yorker that trapped Peter McGlashan in front. He took wickets off successive balls in his third — and final over — to finish with amazing figures of five for six, as the Kiwis were bundled out for 99.

Gangnam style: West Indies celebrates its T20 World Cup win in 2012.

Gangnam style: West Indies celebrates its T20 World Cup win in 2012. | Photo Credit: AFP

Aussies fall like nine pins

2010: Australia v Pakistan, Gros Islet

The final over of the Australian innings in the Group A encounter should count among the most bizarre ones in the T20 World Cup’s history. It began with Australia on 191 for five. It ended with Australia 191 all out. Mohammad Amir’s first two balls saw Brad Haddin edging to short third man and Mitchell Johnson losing his middle stump respectively. The third and fourth balls produced run-outs. The fifth ball brought a massive relief to the Aussies, who somehow averted the loss of another wicket. It was business as usual off the last ball though, Amir cleaning up Shaun Tait. WWWW0W. It was as if Australia had invented a new spelling for wow.

Hong Kong beat Bangladesh in Chittagong in the T20 World Cup in 2014. It remains Hong Kong’s greatest win in the competition.

Hong Kong beat Bangladesh in Chittagong in the T20 World Cup in 2014. It remains Hong Kong’s greatest win in the competition. | Photo Credit: AP

A long wait comes to an end

2012: West Indies v Sri Lanka, Colombo

The decline of the West Indies — from the sunny days of Lloyd, Richards, Marshall, Holding... — has been one of the most discussed topics in international cricket in our times. The team hadn’t won a World title since retaining the World Cup in 1979. The long wait was finally over when the West Indies defeated host Sri Lanka by 36 runs in a low-scoring final. Marlon Samuels was the standout performer, making a 56-ball 78 in the West Indies total of 137 for six. Only one other batter went past 30 in the entire match.

A Dutch stunner

2009: England v Netherlands, Lord’s

The second edition of the tournament got off to a sensational start with the Netherlands scoring a last-ball victory — by four wickets — over the host on cricket’s most hallowed ground. The last over began with the Netherlands needing seven with four wickets intact. Stuart Broad gave just five runs off the first five balls, but off the final ball, his overthrow allowed Edgar Schiferli to complete the most important couple of runs of his life. The knocks from Tom de Grooth (49, 30b) and Peter Borren (30, 25b) had earlier put the Dutchmen firmly on track to the famous win.

Gaylestorm

2007: West Indies v South Africa, Johannesburg

At the time of writing this, there have been 96 hundreds in T20I. The first was scored, perhaps not surprisingly, by Chris Gayle. The ‘Universe Boss’ hit a scintillating 117 off 57 balls (7x4, 10x6) in the opening match of the inaugural T20 World Cup. If cricket’s newest international tournament needed an explosive start, Gayle provided that. He put on 145 in less than 14 overs for the first wicket with Devon Smith, whose contribution was a meagre 35. But Gayle’s blitzkrieg wasn’t enough to stop the host South Africa, which chased down the target of 206 for the loss of two wickets, with 2.2 overs remaining.

Bolt from the blue

2014: Bangladesh v Hong Kong, Chittagong

In one of the biggest upsets in T20I history, Hong Kong humbled host Bangladesh in stunning fashion. Bangladesh began horribly, losing two wickets in the opening over, as seamer Tanwir Afzal clean bowled Tamim Iqbal and then trapped Sabbir Rahman lbw. Left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed then took over, claiming four wickets. Bangladesh was dismissed for 108 and Hong Kong completed its greatest win in style, with Haseeb Amjad hitting a one-handed six over extra cover when one run was required from three balls.

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