When Afridi helped Pak climb the summit

When Afridi helped Pak climb the summit

World T20 Flash back

When Afridi helped Pak climb the summit

A lot can change in two years. From being the toast of the nation after marshalling a group of determined youngsters to the pinnacle, MS Dhoni was forced to savour the bitter aftertaste of succes in 2009.

The 2007 triumph altered the landscape of Indian cricket, in fact world cricket. Staunch opponents to the shortest format, the BCCI, bowled over by the success of Dhoni’s men, created the Indian Premier League in 2008 that attracted the best in the world to its shores for a near two-month cricketing extravaganza.

Domestic players got a chance to go toe-to-toe with international stars and with the 2009 IPL being staged in South Africa owing to general elections at home, the Indians arrived in England for the World T20 as red-hot favourites.

However, what transpired was completely anti-climatic. Although the Indians won both their group games in fine fashion to further attest their favourites’ tag, that came at a certain price as off-field controversies saw them crash out at the Super Eights stage.

Reports of an alleged rift between Dhoni and Virender Sehwag over the former hiding an injury saw the skipper parade the entire team at a press conference much to the amazement of the scribes. The Indians failed to win a single game in the Super Eights, leaving plenty of their fans at the UK and home disappointed.

While the Indians took a massive tumble from the summit, Pakistan made up for their bitter loss in the 2007 final in the best manner possible --  clinching the title at Old Blighty.

Under the leadership of Younis Khan and backed by a sensational all-round performance from the maverick Shahid Afridi, the Pakistanis conquered Sri Lanka in a low-scoring final to send their country into delirium. It was the perfect antidote for the anguish suffered two years back.

The tournament also witnessed some memorable moments. From Stuart Broad missing the stumps from close range that allowed the Netherlands steal a second run and complete a sensational victory over England, to Chris Gayle putting Brett Lee to the sword to Kyle Coetzer pulling off a sensational one-handed catch, the 2009 edition produced its share of fireworks as T20 continued to whet the appetite of fans.

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