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On this day: India, under Dhoni, beat Pakistan to win inaugural World T20

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It was on this day in 2007 when Team India, led by MS Dhoni, won the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup, defeating Pakistan in a pulsating summit clash which kept the fans, both in the stadium as well as those across television sets, on the edge of their seats till the very last moment.

With one wicket in hand, Pakistan needed six runs from the final four balls at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. Joginder Sharma, who was probably bowling the over of his life, was under immense pressure after giving away seven runs of the first two balls.

Misbah-ul-Haq was at the crease along with Mohammed Asif and all the players in the Pakistani dug-out were on their feet, waiting for Misbah to score the winning shot and celebrate what would have been one of their biggest wins at the international stage.

Amid all the nervousness, Joginder has a long chat with Dhoni who comes all the way down from the wicketkeeper’s end to soothe the medium-pacer.

He takes a deep breath, takes off from his run-up, and bowls a slower delivery outside the off stump. Misbah goes for the scoop shot over short fine-leg. The ball goes straight up in the air and S. Sreesanth takes the catch, a moment because of which his name got etched in the record books.

Thirteen years have passed but still the images of Dhoni lifting the World T20 trophy alongwith his teammates is as fresh as it can get in the memories of cricket fans across the country.

“I will remember this special day till my last breath. It changed the Indian cricket in terms of what followed the next http year. It was a complete team effort through out the tournament,” tweeted Irfan Pathan on Thursday while remembering that day.

India’s journey to the World T20 title was nothing short of a fairytale. A relatively young team, led by a long-haired Dhoni, made it’s way into the last-four riding on famous wins over the likes of South Africa and England who had more T20 experience and were counted among tournament favourites.

And after beating hot favourites Australia in the semifinals, the Men in Blue entered the summit clash with a belief they could achieve something special and leave behind the poor performance in the 50-over World Cup where they had to crash out of the tournament in the initial stages in the West Indies.

After opting to bat, Gautam Gambhir, who had been one of India’s top performers in the tournament, scored 75 runs as Dhoni’s side were limited to 157/5 in their stipulated quota of 20 overs in the finale. The other Indian batsmen fell cheaply and only Rohit Sharma managed to hit some good runs as he made 30 not out.

Yuvraj Singh, the hero from the epic semi-final match against Australia, found it tough to get going and was dismissed for just 14. Skipper Dhoni too departed cheaply for just 6.

During the chase, Pakistan suffered an early blow when Mohammad Hafeez was dismissed in the first over, and Kamran Akmal fell for a duck soon afterwards. The hopes were all but dashed for Shoaib Malik-led side when they lost their skipper and Shahid Afridi. However, Misbah played a blinder of an innings to take his team almost across the finishing line until he went for the scoop down the short fine leg and made Pakistan short of winning the title by just five runs.

Thirteen years have passed since that memorable day and Team India are still in search for their second World T20 title, something which Virat Kohli and boys would desperately want to achieve in the next two years when two flagship T20 tournaments take place.

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Virat Kohli is best across formats among peers: Joe Root

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India captain Virat Kohli is the most complete cricketer across formats, England Test captain Joe Root has said.

Root said he didnt consider himself in the top bracket of batsmen, including Australia’s Steve Smith, and New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson.

“I try not to measure myself against other players. But I do watch a lot of how they go about constructing different types of innings across the three formats. You’re looking at three of the greatest players the game has seen,” Root was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

“Virat is probably the most complete player out of the three of them across formats. His ability to chase things down in the limited-overs format and to pace it as well as he does as often as he does and be not out at the end is extraordinary. He’s got a very good all-round game but you wouldn’t say he’s weaker against spin or pace,” Root said.

The England captain said that Kohli had learnt from his past mistakes and had handled the pressure of being India captain well.

“He obviously struggled on his first tour to England, but he scored really heavily when he came back. And, similarly, elsewhere in the world, he’s put in massive performances. All that with the weight of India on his shoulders, as well,” said Root.

Root called his England team-mate Jos Buttler as the best white ball player the game has ever seen, though he felt that the world is yet to see the best of Buttler.

“The way he can play a number of different scenarios. He can just demoralise attacks and very quickly swing games massively in your favour,” he said.

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IPL: Our place in points table appropriate, says CSK coach Stephen Fleming

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Chennai Super Kings (CSK) coach Stephen Fleming said that there is a lot of hurt, disappointment and frustration within the camp after the three-time IPL champions crashed to Mumbai Indians (MI) by 10 wickets on Friday.

Fleming added that the loss to Mumbai Indians was symptomatic of the entire season which has gone totally wrong. He added that CSK deserve the bottom place in the points table. The Chennai franchise is placed eighth with six points.

“There is a lot hurt, disappointment, frustration that goes along with a disappointing season. There were a lot of things tried but we just couldn’t put a game together,” said Fleming after the humiliating loss on Friday.

“We’ve had holes throughout, like losing a player before the start of the season to things like being one over short or losing a couple of wickets too many. That can happen to a team off the pace. We don’t have the numbers from individuals, therefore our place in points table is probably appropriate.”

CSK were reduced to 24 for five in the power-play as MI seamers Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah ran riot. Boult picked three of those power-play wickets while Bumrah got two.

“We were pretty stunned, we had a terrible power-play, losing wickets so quickly and frequently. The game was almost over in the power-play itself. It was tough watching. They bowled well but we made them find ways of getting us out.”

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Jason Roy signs up with Perth Scorchers for BBL 10

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The Perth Scorchers have strengthened their top-order for the upcoming Big Bash League season, with the signing of explosive England opening batsman Jason Roy. Roy will play alongside countryman Liam Livingstone in orange this year.

“The Scorchers squad looks very strong, I’m excited to be joining the club,” Roy said in a statement.

“I’ve heard the environment of the club is awesome and that it’s a place where everyone wants to help get the best out of each other. I can’t wait to get amongst the boys and help contribute to as many wins as possible,” he added.

With over 200 T20 matches to his name, Roy comes with a wealth of experience and the enviable reputation of a power hitter capable of match-winning brilliance. The explosive opener has devastated new-ball attacks on the international stage with a strike rate of 147.51 across his T20I career.

Perth Scorchers coach Adam Voges said: “Jason is a world-class performer who will bring added power and experience to our top order. He is a great competitor and we look forward to welcoming Jason to the Scorchers.”

Scorchers also confirmed signing Joel Paris, who returns for his sixth season with the club, and Cameron Gannon, who’s previously played for Brisbane Heat, Melbourne Renegades and Melbourne Stars.

Perth Scorchers squad: Mitch Marsh (c), Jason Roy, Cameron Bancroft, Ashton Agar, Liam Livingstone, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Fawad Ahmad, Cameron Gannon, Jason Behrendorff, Matt Kelly, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Andrew Tye, Sam Whiteman, Jhye Richardson, Ashton Turner

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