On September 24, 2007, a young Indian side led by a charismatic captain in MS Dhoni lifted the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup in South Africa after beating arch-rivals Pakistan in the final by 5 runs.
It was the first time a young MS Dhoni captained the Indian team in any format of the game. He led the side to their maiden and only T20 World Cup title win in the six editions of the tournament organised so far.
With the odds stacked against them in the absence of star players, Dhoni and Co. scripted history in the most remarkable fashion, beating some of the T20 heavyweights like England, South Africa and Australia along the way.
Here are the players that made it possible.
T20 World Cup 2007 India squad
MS Dhoni scripted history when he led India to their maiden and only T20 World Cup title win till date. Dhoni played an important cameo of 45 (33) against South Africa and followed it up with another important knock of 36 (18) in the semi-final against Australia to help India reach the final.
Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes in a single over off Stuart Broad was one of the highlights of the ICC T20 World Cup 2007. The southpaw became only the second player in Indian cricket history after Ravi Shastri to achieve the feat in professional cricket. Yuvraj with 12 sixes, was second on the list of leading six hitters in the tournament behind Craig McMillan, who smashed 13 maximums.
Gautam Gambhir was the leading run-scorer for India in the ICC T20 World Cup 2007 with 227 runs across six innings. The opener played a crucial knock of 75 runs in the final to help India post a competitive total on the board.
The swashbuckling opener played a key role in India getting off to a brisk start in the powerplay overs. Despite failing to notch big scores, the Nawab of Najafgarh scored at a healthy strike-rate of 139 throughout the tournament.
Robin Uthappa had an underwhelming ICC T20 World Cup 2007, scoring 113 runs at an average of 19. However, the Karnataka-born player scored a handy 50 to resurrect India’s innings in the first game against Pakistan in the group stages.
Rohit Sharma scored a measured half-century against South Africa in his very first outing with the bat in the T20 World Cup. Entrusted with the responsibility of being a finisher in the final, Rohit’s cameo of 30 off 16 balls proved to be the difference between the two sides in the end.
Picked as a reserve wicket-keeper in the squad, Dinesh Karthik was played as a pure batter in the middle-order at the start. However, the addition of Joginder Sharma in the playing XI meant Karthik had to sit on the sidelines for the latter half of the tournament. That said, Dinesh Karthik’s spectacular diving catch to dismiss Graeme Smith in a pressure match was one of the catches of the tournament.
Irfan Pathan was the unsung hero of India’s maiden T20 World Cup title. Pathan scalped 10 wickets across six innings with the ball, including game-changing figures of 3/16 against Pakistan in the final.
Making his debut for India in the T20 World Cup final in place of injured Virender Sehwag, Yusuf Pathan got India off to a brisk start smashing Mohammad Asif for 13 runs in the very first over. However, he failed to get going and was eventually dismissed for an 8-ball 15.
RP Singh was the leading wicket-taker for India in the tournament with 12 scalps across six innings. The left-arm seamer was the second joint-highest wicket-taker in the tournament alongside Australia’s Stuart Clark.
Joginder Sharma’s last over in the final was one of the defining moments of India’s T20 World Cup triumph. Added in the squad to bolster the bowling attack, Joginder snapped four wickets in as many matches, including the prize wicket of Misbah-ul-Haq to steer India to an epic win in the final.
With seven wickets in as many games, Harbhajan played a pivotal role for India in the middle overs of the innings. Harbhajan’s best figures of 2/24 came against New Zealand, although India ended the match on the losing side.
Expected to lead the bowling attack in the absence of senior fast bowlers, Ajit Agarkar featured in only two matches in the ICC T20 World Cup 2007. His only noteworthy contribution came against Pakistan in the group stages where the Mumbai seamer picked one wicket.
Sreesanth alongside RP Singh formed a potent combination with the new ball for India. The Kerala seamer picked six wickets in the tournament with an impressive spell of 4-0-12-2 against Australia in the semi-final. He also took the catch to dismiss Misbah-ul-Haq in the final and help India become champions of the inaugural T20 World Cup.
Piyush Chawla was the only player in India’s 15-member squad who did not play a single match in the ICC T20 World Cup 2007.
India squad for T20 World Cup 2007: MS Dhoni (captain and wicket-keeper), Yuvraj Singh (vice-captain), Ajit Agarkar, Piyush Chawla, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Joginder Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, RP Singh, S. Sreesanth, Robin Uthappa
Author: Kaustubh Potdar
Featured photo: Alexander Joe / AFP