From India to Pakistan to England among the men and England and Australia among the women, it's been a series of fantastic performances in the ICC World Twenty20 finals
Ahead of Sunday’s final in the ICC World Twenty20 2012 between Sri Lanka and the West Indies, and the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2012 final between England and Australia, we look at title clashes in the previous editions of this competition.
India v Pakistan (September 24, 2007, New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg)
A repeat of an opening-round clash between the teams that was decided through a bowl-out, the final too went right down to the wire, with only five runs separating the victor from the vanquished in an emotional, high-voltage showdown. India, initially reluctant to embrace the Twenty20 format, had ridden on its explosive batting and the seam-friendly conditions in Durban to reach the final, but didn’t produce its most convincing batting performance in the title clash. Only Gautam Gambhir, who batted deep into the innings with a 54-ball 75, showed any fluency as Umar Gul struck at regular intervals. It needed a sparkling 16-ball unbeaten 30 from Rohit Sharma for India to reach a challenging but not insurmountable 157 for 5. Rudra Pratap Singh, India’s most potent bowling weapon throughout the competition, winkled out Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal and when Robin Uthappa ran the free-stroking Imran Nazir out, Pakistan’s innings hit a roadblock. Amid mounting pressure, one batsman after another lost his head and Pakistan slumped to 77 for 6. Misbah-ul-Haq, the captain, orchestrated an excellent rearguard fightback alongside the tail. Yasir Arafat, Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Asif launched useful blows and Misbah lay into Harbhajan Singh. Going into the last over, Pakistan needed 13 with only one wicket standing. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, surprisingly, turned to Joginder Sharma, and after conceding a six to Misbah, Joginder had the last laugh when Misbah scooped the ball to Sreesanth at short fine-leg. Pakistan had been dismissed for 152 with three deliveries left, India crowned champions in the inaugural ICC World Twenty20.
Pakistan v Sri Lanka (June 21, 2009, Lord’s, London)
This was as complete a performance from Pakistan as could have been hoped for as it powered to victory in the battle of the Asian teams. Sri Lanka believed it was in with a chance to add to the ICC Cricket World Cup 1996 trophy, but an inspired Pakistan, driven by the irrepressible Shahid Afridi, had other ideas. Hoping to make the most of putting runs on the board, Kumar Sangakkara opted to bat, but Sri Lanka was rocked straightaway by Abdul Razzaq (3/20). Inside six overs, it was 32 for 4 and playing catch-up cricket. Sangakkara held the innings together even as the others fell around him, and it wasn’t until Angelo Mathews joined him that Sri Lanka finally put together a partnership of substance. The pair put on 68 in 42 deliveries to boost the tally team to 138 for 6, Sangakkara remaining unbeaten on 64 and Mathews making a quickfire 24-ball 35 not out. Pakistan got off to a frenzied start through Kamran Akmal and Shahzaib Hasan, and Afridi then took over. Having warmed up with 1 for 20 with his leg-spinners, he smashed two fours and two sixes in a 40-ball 54 not out, muscling Pakistan to 139 for 2, and a commanding eight-wicket rout.
England Women v New Zealand Women (June 21, 2009, Lord’s, London)
In a disappointingly one-sided final, England Women brushed aside New Zealand Women with a commanding eight-wicket victory. Charlotte Edwards, the England captain, stuck New Zealand Women in and her decision was immediately justified as Laura Marsh dismissed Suzie Bates in the first over. Katherine Brunt and Jenny Gunn then assumed charge, a rash of wickets in the middle of the innings denying New Zealand Women any momentum. Its final tally of 85 all out was never seriously going to test a formidable English batting line-up, and while England Women didn’t exactly storm to victory, it got home with reasonable ease. There was some artificial excitement towards the end when Beth Morgan and Lydia Greenway were both dismissed in quick time, but Claire Taylor’s experience guided them home with six wickets in hand and 18 deliveries to spare, steering England to victory in the first Women’s World T20.
Australia v England (May 16, 2010, Kensington Oval, Bridgetown)
It was a singularly one-sided final, made so by the discipline of the England bowling and the brilliance with the bat of Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen, named the Player of the Tournament. Upon being put in by Paul Collingwood, Australia lost openers Shane Watson and David Warner for two each, with only seven on the board in the second over. Brad Haddin followed in the next and at 8 for 3, this was as good as over as a contest. It was left to David Hussey, who made a measured half-century, and Cameron White, who blasted 30 off 19, to provide the impetus, but Australia perhaps missed a trick by batting Mike Hussey at No. 7. Hussey had single-handedly blasted Australia past Pakistan in the semi-final, but came in with only 26 deliveries left, making 17 off 10 as Australia wended its way to 147 for 6. England lost Michael Lumb early but Kieswetter and Pietersen repelled Australia with a blistering counter-attack. The pair added 111 for the second wicket in just 68 deliveries, Kieswetter smashing 63 and Pietersen making 47. The rest was a formality, Collingwood fittingly in the middle when the winning runs were brought up, with seven wickets and three overs left, as England finally ended its world title drought.
Australia Women v New Zealand Women (May 16, 2010, Kensington Oval, Bridgetown)
It was a final remarkable for the tigerish resolve with which Australia Women defended a most modest total against New Zealand Women, which had entered its second consecutive Women’s World T20 final. With Nicola Browne and Sophie Devine leading the way, New Zealand Women kept Australia Women down to just 106 for 8. Leah Poulton top-scored with 20; several of the Australian batters got off to starts but no one could kick on on a slow-paced surface. Only Lisa Sthalekar, batting at No. 8, scored at better than a run a ball and in the final analysis, her 13-ball unbeaten 18 proved the difference between the teams. New Zealand began promisingly through Suzie Bates but its challenge quickly dissipated as not only did the runs dry up, but wickets too fell at regular intervals. After 11 overs, it was 36 for 5, and hard as Devine tried with an unbeaten 38, New Zealand Women found 29 in 19 deliveries too hard an ask. Ellyse Perry, the right-arm fast-medium bowler, was Australia Women’s hero as she finished with 3 for 18 from her four overs, New Zealand Women restricted to 103 for 6.