By R Kaushik in Colombo
At the end of the 20-day extravaganza, we pick the moments that will linger in our memories
Ajantha Mendis (6/8, Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, Sept 18, Pallekele)
A powerful batting display had propelled Sri Lanka to 182 for 4, and Zimbabwe needed to bat out its skin to make a match of it. Enter Ajantha Mendis, in his first Twenty20 International for 10 months. In a brilliant display of conventional and unorthodox spin bowling, he ripped the heart out of Zimbabwe’s batting with one rapid strike after another. Mendis finished with T20I best figures of 6 for 8 from four overs as Zimbabwe folded up for an even 100.
Brendon McCullum (123, New Zealand v Bangladesh, Sept 21, Pallekele)
There had been a few question marks over New Zealand and its wherewithal to play quality spin, but on an excellent batting surface, Brendon McCullum conjured a sensational century, the only one of the competition, to emphatically address those concerns. McCullum became the first batsman to make two T20I hundreds, his 58-ball 123, with 11 fours and seven sixes, setting up a commanding 59-run victory and a place in the Super Eights.
Shane Watson (2/29 & 41*, Australia v West Indies, Sept 22, Colombo)
In the middle of a golden run that netted him four consecutive Man of the Match awards, Shane Watson was hugely responsible for Australia’s 17-run win over the West Indies on the Duckworth-Lewis method. Watson picked up the key wickets of Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard and then, with Australia needing 192 for victory, blasted an unbeaten 41 off just 24 deliveries when the rains arrived, with Australia on 100 for 1 and well ahead on the D/L charts.
Harbhajan Singh (4/12, India v England, Sept 23, Colombo)
This was supposed to be India’s first big test of the tournament, against defending champion England, but it degenerated into a no-contest thanks to India’s potent spin attack. Harbhajan Singh, playing his first international game since August 2011, spun a wicked web with his varied bag of tricks, using the off-spinner, the doosra and the top-spinner to brilliant effect. Harbhajan’s 4 for 12, the best by an Indian in T20I cricket, helped India complete a most one-sided 90-run rout.
Umar Gul (32, Pakistan v South Africa, Sept 28, Colombo)
Chasing South Africa’s modest 133 for 6, Pakistan had found ways of self-destructing, gifting wickets away to stumble to 76 for 7. Enter Umar Gul, to turn the match on its head. Batting without a care in the world, Gul smashed South Africa’s bowling around too rattle up 32 in just 17 deliveries, with two fours and three sixes. It was uninhibited ball-striking, Gul clearly the dominant partner in a stand of 49 with specialist batsman Umar Akmal as Pakistan pulled off an amazing two-wicket victory
Nida Dar (3/12, Pakistan Women v India Women, Oct 1, Galle)
Pakistan Women had made only 98 for 9 from its 20 overs against a strong India Women batting line-up, and when India Women reached 44 for 1 in the 10th over, a regulation victory appeared on the cards. Nida Dar, the 25-year-old off-spinner whose father played a clutch of first-class matches in the late 1980s and early 1990s, had other ideas. She ended a second-wicket stand of 31 between Poonam Raut and Mithali Raj by having the former stumped, and in her next over, got rid of both Raj, India’s captain, and Harmanpreet Kaur for impressive figures of 4-0-12-3. 51 for 4 all of a sudden, India Women huffed and puffed to 97 for 8, Pakistan Women’s one-run victory the narrowest in the ICC Women’s World T20 2012.
Lasith Malinga (5/31, Sri Lanka v England, Oct 1, Pallekele)
Sri Lanka had all but secured its semifinal berth after following up two successive wins in Group 1 of the Super Eights by posting 169 for 6 against England. Spin was expected to do the job for Sri Lanka, but Lasith Malinga had other ideas. Until then relatively anonymous in the tournament, he sprang to life with the wickets of Luke Wright, Alex Hayles and Jonny Bairstow in the first over. England, desperately needing a win to move into the semis, had no answers to his guile, and Malinga came back to complete a five-wicket haul with the scalps of Samit Patel and Jos Buttler
Chris Gayle (75*, West Indies v Australia, Oct 5, Colombo)
Chris Gayle had two fifties coming into the semifinal, but the big one he had threatened all tournament long couldn’t have come at a better time. Gayle faced only 41 deliveries as he carried his bat through the innings, but it was enough for him to launch a ferocious onslaught which fetched him a sparkling 75, inclusive of five fours and six sixes. It was the giant base around which the West Indies constructed a tournament-high 205 for 4, burying Australia under the massive weight of those numbers.
Jess Cameron (45, Australia Women v England Women, Oct 7, 2012)
Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy had got Australia Women off to a brisk start against England Women, but it needed someone to keep that momentum going. Jess Cameron, batting at No. 3, provided that thrust with an attacking innings, hitting five fours and a six in her 34-ball 45. Australia Women knew it had to put a substantial total on the board to challenge England Women and defend its Women’s World T20 crown. With Cameron in the forefront, it posted 142 for 4 and kept England Women down to 138 for 9 to complete a memorable four-run win. Cameron was, unsurprisingly, the Player of the Match.
Marlon Samuels (78, West Indies v Sri Lanka, Oct 7, 2012)
It was an innings that had seemingly hit a permanent roadblock, 32 for 2 off 10 overs in the final. The West Indies, ever the sentimental favourites, appeared to have frittered the advantage of batting first on a slow track to Sri Lanka when Marlon Samuels decided to have his say. His first 37 deliveries produced just 26 runs, with one four; Samuels then laid into Lasith Malinga, smashing him for five of his six sixes as his next 19 balls yielded a whopping 52 runs. From playing diffidently, the West Indies suddenly went on to the ascendancy, riding on Samuels’s blitz to reach 137 for 6. Armed with that momentum, it ate into the Sri Lankan batting to complete a fabulous 36-run win, and its first world triumph since 1979.
Listed in chronological order