Robin Uthappa recalls Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s leadership role in group-match win against Pakistan during 2007 T20 World Cup

Mumbai : Former India cricketer Robin Uthappa has praised the confidence level of ex-skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, saying he was instrumental in the team winning the nerve-wracking group match against Pakistan in the 2007 T20 World Cup.

Uthappa said September 14, 2007 will remain etched in his memory forever after the arch-rivals played out a thriller in the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup in Durban. This was a match which was a sign of things to come, as the Dhoni era in Indian cricket began with this epic win in the tournament.

Put in to bat, India rode on Uthappa’s superb half-century and Dhoni’s 33 to post 141/9 in their 20 overs, with Mohammad Asif taking four wickets for Pakistan.In the run chase, the match swung wildly. Even though Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals, Misbah-ul-Haq kept his side in the hunt.

It came down to 12 runs needed off the last six deliveries, and S. Sreesanth was given the responsibility to bowl the final over.In the first five deliveries, Pakistan scored 11 runs and needed one run to win off the last delivery.

Misbah then attempted a single, but Yuvraj Singh’s throw caught him short of his crease. The match ended in a tie, resulting in a ‘bowl out’.While Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul, and Shahid Afridi were designated as the bowlers by Pakistan, India opted for Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag, and Uthappa.

The Indian bowlers hit the stumps in each of their three attempts, while the Pakistani bowlers failed to do so. As a result, India won the ‘bowl out’, and recorded their first-ever win in their T20 World Cup journey.

Recalling the match on chennaisuperkings.com, Uthappa said Dhoni’s leadership made all the difference.”I remember after we tied that game, we went to the dressing room and got to know that it’s a ‘bowl out’, I went straight to MS (Dhoni), and I said ‘Bro, I’ve to bowl,’ and he didn’t even bat an eyelid.

He just said yeah, ok, you’ll bowl,” said Uthappa.”And for me when I look back at it in retrospect (it) makes me understand the kind of leader he was. He is the kind of guy when you’re really sure about your skills and your own ability, he backs it.

And he backed it in his first game as captain,” added Uthappa.India went on to win the final as well, defeating Pakistan by five runs in a cliff-hanger in Johannesburg on September 24, 2007.

 

 

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