As the ICC World Twenty20 2012 reaches the semi-final stages, we take a look at the most memorable semi-final games in the tournament's history
Since the tournament began in 2007 – the women followed suit in 2009 – the climactic stages have seen some tremendous contests. Here, we look back at the best of the semi-finals.
India beat Australia by 15 runs (2007)
India had eliminated England and South Africa in the Super Eights, while Australia’s patchy progress included a first-round defeat to Zimbabwe. In a big match, however, few were inclined to look beyond a side that had won three consecutive 50-over World Cups. Australia started the better too, and India was treading water at 41 for 2 with eight overs complete. Yuvraj Singh had missed the win against South Africa with an elbow problem, but it didn’t affect him in the slightest as he transformed the game with an innings of awesome power. He struck five fours and five sixes in a 30-ball 70, adding 84 in just 40 balls with Robin Uthappa. A flick off Brett Lee was measured at 119m, the longest hit of the competition. MS Dhoni ensured that the momentum was not lost, but as long as Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds were together – they added 66 in just six overs – Australia had a chance of overhauling 188. Then Sreesanth, who conceded just 12 in a brilliant spell, returned for his final over to topple Hayden’s off stump and make the task became immeasurably harder. Once Irfan Pathan castled Symonds, there was no way back.
Pakistan beat South Africa by seven runs (2009)
South Africa had made serene progress through the tournament’s initial stages, but were then ambushed by an all-round tour de force from Shahid Afridi. He came in at No.3 to face the ninth ball of the innings, and after watching a Wayne Parnell bouncer sail wide over his head, he thumped the next ball down to long-on for four. Jacques Kallis was twice pulled for four and Johan Botha smacked thrice over cover. Just to show that he could finesse it too, Afridi finished then late-cut Botha for four more. He finished with 51 from 34 balls as Pakistan reached 149. South Africa started sedately and though Kallis was solid at one end, impetus was lost once Afridi came on for his star turn with the ball. Herschelle Gibbs had no answer to one that hurried past his bat, and a similar delivery accounted for AB de Villiers a delivery after Kamran Akmal had reprieved him behind the stumps. By the time Kallis was out for 64 (54 balls), South Africa needed 39 from 17 balls. JP Duminy had a brief tilt at the windmill, but with Umar Gul holding his nerve, South Africa saw another final place recede from view.
England Women beat Australia Women by eight wickets (2009)
This was the match that told the world just how good women’s Twenty20 cricket could be. England had won the 50-over World Cup a few months earlier and also held the Ashes, but when Australia powered its way to 163-5 with a 10,000-strong crowd watching, the odds were stacked against the hosts. Each of Australia’s top four contributed handsomely, with Karen Rolton, the captain, pulling a delivery over midwicket for six. When England lost Charlotte Edwards, Rolton’s counterpart, at the end of the seventh over, the asking rate had climbed to 9.3. With the Australian fielders increasingly vocal, Claire Taylor and Beth Morgan let their bats answer. The two added an unbroken 122 to see England home with three balls to spare. Morgan was 46 not out (34 balls), while Taylor’s magnificent 76 spanned just 53 deliveries. Rolton, who retired afterwards, would not get her Cinderella ending.
Australia beat Pakistan by three wickets (2010)
On paper, this was a mismatch. Australia had powered through the draw, while Pakistan had lost thrice and made it through to the last four only on net run rate. Nobody told the Akmal brothers that though. Kamran made 50 from just 34 balls, adding 82 for the first wicket with Salman Butt, while Umar had Australia staggering with three sixes in a Mitchell Johnson over as he raced to 56 from 35 balls. The target was 192 and it looked the width of the Atlantic away as Mohammad Amir got rid of both David Warner and Shane Watson. When Michael Hussey arrived at the crease, Australia needed 87 from 45 balls. Cameron White fell after clubbing five sixes, leaving Hussey to solve an equation that read: 21 balls, 53 runs. That was whittled down to 18 required from Saeed Ajmal’s final over. He had conceded just 23 in his first three overs, and Johnson managed just a single off the first ball. What followed was scarcely believable. Ajmal kept trying to find the blockhole, and Hussey kept freeing his arms and finding the rope. A sequence of 6,6,4,6 later, Australia had a place in the final, after having been second best for the duration of the game. Hussey’s 24-ball 60 remains the greatest Twenty20 innings ever.
New Zealand Women beat West Indies Women by 56 runs (2010)
New Zealand lost Suzie Bates in the third over with only 18 on the board, but it proved a blessing in disguise as Sarah McGlashan came out and played a sensational innings. The sister of New Zealand men’s wicket-keeper Peter, Sarah lashed six fours and two sixes on her way to 84 from 55 deliveries, the primary contributor in a commanding final tally of 180 for 5. West Indies, which had tried eight bowlers, needed to bat out of its skin but was never in the hunt despite a classy 40 from Stafanie Taylor. Nicola Browne scythed through the middle-order and the host nation finished on 124 for 8, handing New Zealand a comprehensive 56-run verdict.