Yes! The mother of all matches is here. At the Wanderers, India and Pakistan are to clash for the title of the first world T20 champions, a few hours from now. Hold on to your seats!
24 SEPTEMBER 2007 is one of the most important days in the history of cricket, as the first final of ICC World
Twenty20 is going to be held on this day. On Monday, two of the titans, India
and Pakistan are going to meet at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg in South Africa. It is really interesting that both these team made it to the finals of World Twenty20, just six months after first-round exits from the World Cup 2007 in West Indies. However, forgetting their World Cup 2007 failure as a distant nightmare, India and Pakistan turned the tables in the inaugural World Twenty20 Cup. Initially, it was not clear if India and Pakistan would be able to reach to the finals of World Twenty20, as other teams like Australia, New Zealand and host South Africa were also hot favourites.
The young Indian team landed in South Africa without their big guns - Sachin Tendulkar
, Sourav Ganguly
, Rahul Dravid
and Zaheer Khan
. Interestingly, the average age of the players is below 24 years. Here I would specially like to mention that India team’s achievement is remarkable, as they do not have a special coach for the tournament. The strong determination of players and teamwork took them to finals.
On the other hand, the Pakistan team, which passed through a dismal phase after death of former coach Bob Woolmer in Jamaica, are also having a comparatively less-experienced team. Middle-order batsman Mohammad Yousuf and all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, who had a contract rift with the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) could not make their place in the team and controversial strike bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who hit the teammate Mohammad Asif, was sent home from South Africa.
Despite such ups and downs, both India and Pakistan played exceptional cricket in South Africa. Apart from a single defeat against New Zealand in the first match of Super 8s, the Indian team performed very well all through the tournament. The India team, under supervision of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, defeated Pakistan in the first round, in a ’bowl out’ by 3-0, after a tied game. Later they beat England and the host South Africa, in must win matches in the Super 8s.
Meanwhile, the other finalist Pakistan, under the captaincy of Shoaib Malik lost only one game against India but won the rest of their matches in the tournament against Scotland, Sri Lanka, Australia and Bangladesh in the Super 8s stage.
In the first semi-final, Pakistan beat New Zealand and in the second semi-final, India scored a fine 15 runs win over World Champions Australia. Just after the wins of their respective teams, the cricket fans of the Indian sub-continent started to celebrate by bursting crackers and by other means. On Saturday, after India’s win over Australia in the semi-final of World Twenty20 Cup, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said, "It’s the biggest stage and the biggest match you can play, it’s a match that needs to be played with intensity and I think we are ready to do that." While vice-captain Yuvraj Singh
, who made a quick 70 off 30 balls and was declared man of the match on Saturday, said, “India versus Pakistan is a dream final, the whole world is going to be watching."
Indian and Pakistani cricket fans are praying for their respective teams. Who would win, will become clear before 9 pm today. We do not know what will happen, but Indian team is surely looking for the title, in the shorter and newest version of game. This may happen, as the Indian team has learned how to win matches. We can expect our batsmen - Virender Sehwag
, Gautam Gambhir
, Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rohit Sharma to come up with good innings and bowlers - RP Singh, Sreesanth, Irfan Pathan
, Harbhajan Singh and Joginder Sharma to return with magical figures.
Moreover, it is a great moment for all Indians and we hope that Indian team will repeat the magic of World Cup 1983. It is a truth that team India has a ‘final phobia’ and that has taken away victory from India’s hands several times in the past. However, in this World Twenty20 Cup, team India is looking different, their excellent performances and fighting spirit will surely make them champions. Till the start of the game we can only say- “come on India! Come on Dhoni’s army! We want the first World Twenty20 Cup from you guys. Just stand up, gather your potential and score a sensational win over our neighbour Pakistan.”
India Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Yuvraj Singh (Vice-captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Rohit Sharma, Joginder Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Rudra Pratap Singh, S Sreesanth, Harbhajan Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla
, Ajit Agarkar and Dinesh Karthik.
Pakistan Squad: Shoaib Malik (Captain), Salman Butt (Vice-captain), Imran Nazir, Younis Khan, Kamran Akmal
, Mohammad Asif, Sohail Tanvir, Shahid Afridi
, Fawad Alam, Umar Gul, Mohammad Hafeez, Misbah-ul-Haq, Yasir Arafat, Iftikhar Anjum and Abdur Rehman.
at 1730 IST.
The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa.
India has never lost any game against Pakistan in a World Cup.