Legendary Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood is of the opinion that Misbah-ul-Haq could have got the job done in the 2007 World T20 final against India had he opted for a conventional straight hit instead of a fancy scoop. Mahmood further described the final as the birth of a great leader for India.
The World T20 2007 final between India and Pakistan, which is considered as one of the greatest finals in the sport’s history, witnessed a moment that every Pakistan cricket fan, to date, looks back on and wishes to change. With Pakistan 152/9, needing 6 runs to win off 4 balls, Misbah-ul-Haq, batting on 43*, went for a fancy scoop over the head of the short-fine leg fielder off the bowling of rookie Joginder Sharma, but to his dismay, the ball went straight to the hands of Sreesanth, who held the catch to hand India the title.
Misbah’s puzzling shot selection has been questioned by many an expert over the years and recollecting the final, former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood said that the right-hander, instead of going for the scoop, could easily have swatted the ball down the ground. Mahmood said that he was in disbelief when the ball found the fielder and revealed that he initially thought it was headed for a six.
"Unfortunately, Pakistan was on the losing side. Misbah Ul Haq was playing so well but in the end, he tried to play that scoop shot. He could have hit a straight six off Joginder Sharma but he tried to go with a fancy scoop. I jumped on my sofa, when I saw, but then when the catch was taken, I was like 'what's happening,” Mahmood said on Wisden's The Greatest Rivalry podcast, reported Times Now.
Mahmood, who was able to participate in the IPL despite being a Pakistan player due to him holding a British passport, noted that the unexpected World T20 win in 2007 propelled India, a country that didn’t care about T20s prior to the World Cup, to launch the Indian Premier League.
"India were not keen (on playing T20s) before the T20 World Cup. They were concentrating more on Test match cricket and one-day cricket. It was a massive boost for Indian cricket to win the T20 World Cup, which eventually led to the birth of IPL. It was great to see.”
The 45-year-old, who played 164 international matches for Pakistan between 1997 and 2007, also stated that the World T20 final against Pakistan was the game where India witnessed the birth of a great leader in the form of MS Dhoni.
"It was a great game of cricket, especially for Indian cricket. It was the birth of a great leader in Indian cricket, M.S. Dhoni. He changed the mindset and a lot of things in Indian cricket, for which he deserves credit.”
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