T20 World Cup Highlights: USA's sparkling debut, Afghan bravehearts' dream run & India's brilliance

Here are some significant moments from the past few weeks to reminisce about:
Last Updated : 30 June 2024, 10:18 IST

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Bridgetown: The curtains on arguably the most exhilarating of all T20 World Cups were drawn with India's magnificent triumph over South Africa in a pulsating final which aptly summed up the entire tournament that twisted this way and that till the very end.

While India strengthened their position as one of the true behemoths of the modern game with their embarrassment of riches in terms of talent, and an unerring determination to win, the others too, with their extremely high standard of cricket, contributed handsomely in making it an unforgettable tournament.

Here are some significant moments from the past few weeks to reminisce about:

1) USA shock Pakistan

First-timers USA, co-hosting the showpiece with the West Indies, caused a flutter when they stunned former champions Pakistan in a Super Over in Dallas in the very first week of the tournament.

A boundary off the final ball of USA's run-chase had sent the match to a Super Over, and it was the co-hosts of the tournament who came out on top at the Grand Prairie Stadium, pulling off one of the all-time great upsets.

2) India prevail over arch-rivals Pakistan on tricky pitch

On a tricky New York pitch that offered plenty of assistance to fast bowlers, India were asked to bat first by Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and were bowled out for 119 in 19 overs after a collapse.

In reply, Pakistan were cruising at one stage but as they are wont to, Babar's team pressed the panic button in the face of some incredible death bowling from Jasprit Bumrah, losing the match by six runs to stand on the brink of a group-stage elimination following back-to-back reverses.

India captain Rohit Sharma deserves some credit for the win as he kept a couple of Bumrah overs for the back end, which proved to be decisive.

3) India-US group game

The tacky pitch at New York's Nassau County International Cricket Stadium continued to be the subject of debate as India locked horns with USA, who were bowled out for 110 after Arshdeep Singh (4/9) registered his best bowling figures in T20I cricket.

In the chase, India wobbled a bit, losing big guns Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant with just 39 runs on the board.

But they overcame the anxious moments and completed the chase thanks to Suryakumar Yadav's calculated half-century.

4) Afghanistan enter semifinals for the first time

Afghanistan qualified for the semi-finals of a World Cup for the first time by beating Bangladesh by eight runs in a tense low-scoring showdown in St Vincent. But the highlight of their inspiring campaign was the stunning win over heavyweights Australia in their penultimate Super Eights game.

If not for Rashid Khan's, Australia could well have proved to be a thorn in the flesh for others.

6) Rohit goes ballistic against Australia

Leading from the front, India captain Rohit Sharma produced one of the most brutal assault on the Australian bowlers during a 41-ball 92, which left the rivals deflated as the Men in Blue stormed into the semifinals with a convincing victory.

That hammering left Mitchell Marsh's men dependent on the result of the Afghanistan-Bangladesh match to progress, which did not go their way.

5) Afghanistan's 56 all out against South Africa

Up against South Africa's high-quality pace bowling in the semifinal, Afghanistan were skittled for 56 as the giant-slayers' run in the tournament ended on a rather forgettable note.

6) Kuldeep-Axar duo bamboozle England

After Rohit Sharma once again led by example and Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya's vital runs with the bat, the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel bamboozled the English batters with their extraordinary bowling, paving the way for India's crushing win over the defending champions and their entry into the the third ICC tournament final in last 12 months.

7) Kohli finally among runs

Coming into the final after a poor run of scores and questions being asked about his place in the XI, Virat Kohli regained his touch when it mattered the most -- the big final against a quality attack -- and lifted his team from a precarious position, standing tall amid the rubble.

His 59-ball 76 laid the foundation for a total that proved to be just enough for the Indian bowlers to defend and snatch the trophy from within South Africa's grasp at Kensington Oval.

8) Surya's blinder of a catch

Kohli might have struck form in the big game but had it not been for Suryakumar's catch for the ages, India wouldn't have become champions of the world for the second time in the shortest format.

Needing 16 runs from the final over, the dangerous David Miller hit a wide full toss from Hardik Pandya but Suryakumar steadied himself on the ropes, caught the ball, released it just as he went over the boundary ropes and then came back in to complete an astonishing catch that will be talked about like Kapil Dev's from the 1983 campaign or Jonty Rhodes' blinder in 1996.

9) Kohli and Rohit's T20I retirement

Barely an hour after the epic triumph, captain Rohit Sharma joined his longtime teammate Virat Kohli in announcing his retirement from international T20 matches, the most fitting end to two glorious careers that ran parallel to each other for the last 15 years.

It is not for nothing that reams of pages, waxing lyrical, were dedicated to the two all-time greats of the game amid the euphoria over India's title triumph.

Published 30 June 2024, 10:18 IST

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