Today in 2007, MS Dhoni led a brand new version of the Indian cricket team against their arch-rival Pakistan.Prior to this, Dhoni never ever captained even any state team and was now captaining a side that had players like Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, who were proven match-winners and considered to be the big contenders for captaining India.
India’s first match of T20 World Cup 2007 against Scotland got abandoned due to rain, which could have been a good preparation, especially for the side who only played a single T20 match in 2006.
On 14th September 2007, India had a nail-biting clash against Pakistan. The Indian team were tested by the Pakistani bowlers upfront, courtesy of their fierce bowling unit. The MS Dhoni led side could only manage to get just 141 runs on the board. Chasing a low total, Pakistan was always in the chase. At one stage, the scores were levelled with 2 balls to spare. However, a miracle saved the Indian team as Misbah-ul-Haq could not cross the finishing line.
Both the teams qualified for the Super 8 but as per the rule then in case of tie, the bowl out had to be done to choose the ultimate winner. The sides were given 5 chances to hit the stumps and the team with the most hits gets the 2 points.
Where Kamran Akmal was keeping the wicket conventionally, MS was sitting exactly opposite to the erected stumps, to make the bowler’s job easy.
“MS was (sitting) right behind the stumps and that made it so much easier for us. We just had to bowl at MS and it gave us the best chance to hit the wickets. That’s all we did,” Uthappa was quoted as saying on Rajasthan Royals’ podcast with Ish Sodhi.
What amazes me is how MS had such a broad vision regarding the game!! Over the years he started getting known for his game awareness and that was one the major traits of MS Dhoni – The Captain.
We saw another ‘MS special’ in the final of the very same tournament, when Misbah-ul-Haq almost took the game away from India with Pakistan needing 13 off 6 balls to win. Joginder Sharma was given the job of bowling the last over. He was lacking confidence which was quite visible in the first few deliveries of the over. However, a pep talk by his skipper ultimately proved to be a turning point of the match.
“Don’t think about the runs that they need, think about your bowling. If you get hit, don’t over-think, just concentrate on the next ball. Whatever is the result, be confident you have my support,” Joginder Sharma wrote in his column for Hindustan Times on how Dhoni boosted his confidence.
But the question remains the same, how could Dhoni have so much courage to try his own way of captainship specially in the final match against Pakistan, only after a few months his effigy was burnt, his house was pelted with stones?
The 2007 World Cup victory was a major turning point for Indian cricket. It gave Indian cricket a new life after disastrous campaign in the 50-over World Cup
Later under Dhoni’s leadership, India won the 2011 World Cup, 2013 Champions Trophy and also achieved number 1 Test ranking.
Now, the maestro is back with the Indian Cricket Team as the mentor. Hoping that his midas touch is still there, India would now want another ICC title, this time underthe leadership of Virat Kohli.