India vs Pakistan 2007 T20 World Cup Final: First Finale That Came Ever So Close

The India vs Pakistan 2007 T20 World Cup final finish is considered one of the closest amongst ICC events, as it went right to the wire. Know in full detail.

Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan Dutta

Last Updated: 2023-10-11

Dillip Mohanty

The Biggest Rivalry in Cricket

No rivalry in cricket has survived the test of time to remain as intense as the India-Pakistan one, and it reached its peak during the 2007 World T20 when the two sides faced in the summit clash. The match would go down to the wire in the inaugural edition of the new format, thereby skyrocketing T20s’ popularity forever.

It was surprising to see two teams from the sub-continent reaching the final in the first place, given how regularly T20 was already being played in England, Australia and South Africa before ICC decided to make it an official tournament.

The underwhelming performances of India and Pakistan in the 2007 ODI World Cup had further lent to the impression that neither India nor Pakistan was a title contender coming to the T20 tournament.

While the Men in Blue had lost to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to bow out of the group stages of the ODI World Cup, their archrivals Pakistan were defeated by West Indies and Ireland to be ousted from their respective groups. The consequence was mass criticism back home, with some Indian fans even burning effigies in front of players’ houses.

Both India and Pakistan had decided to send a young side, with some experienced guidance, to the World T20 in 2007. India had handed over the leadership role to first-time captain MS Dhoni while Pakistan had Shoaib Malik as theirs. 

India’s Road to Final

2007 T20 World Cup

Sep-13KingsmeadScotlandTieNo Result
Sep-14KingsmeadPakistanWonWon in Bowl-out
Sep-16WanderersNew ZealandLostBy 10 Runs
Sep-19KingsmeadEnglandWonBy 18 Runs
Sep-20KingsmeadSouth AfricaWonBy 37 Runs
Sep-22KingsmeadAustraliaWonBy 15 Runs
Sep-24WanderersPakistanWonBy 5 Runs
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India vs Pakistan T20 World Cup 2007 First Match

Initial evidence that both teams would remain unseparated had come in the very first clash between them in the group stages at Durban when the match went down to the first-ever super over.

Having pitted in the same group to provide hype to a nascent tournament, India faced Pakistan in their second group game and unfolded a memorable contest. Batting first, India lost wickets at regular intervals before Robin Uthappa (50) and Dhoni (33) steadied the ship. Further, help down the order from Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarakar saw India set up a tricky target of 142 runs.

Pakistan would see a familiar top-order collapse initially before captain Shoaib Malik and Misbah-ul-Haq held the fort to move closer to the target. However, a dramatic run-out on the very last ball of the match saw both teams standing at 141 runs after their respective 20 overs. What ensued was India vs Pakistan T20 World Cup 2007 super over!

Super over at the first T20 World Cup was referred to as a bowl-out, where players from each team would bowl six deliveries at the stumps trying to hit it. India had taken all their chances, as Pakistan managed to hit none.

India vs Pakistan T20 World Cup 2007 Final Scorecard

GFX 2 - match summary IND vs PAK.png

India - 157/5 in 20 overs | Gautam Gambhir (75), Rohit Sharma (30) | Umar Gul (3/28), Mohammad Asif (1/25) (Add another bowler’s data)

Pakistan - 152/10 in 19.3 overs | Misbah-ul-Haq (43), Imran Nazir (33) |  Irfan Pathan (3/16), RP Singh (3/36) (Add another bowler’s data)

India vs Pakistan T20 World Cup 2007: Final

With the first match of their campaign getting washed out and the second win coming in a brand-new, dicey bowl-out format, India wasn’t really optimistic about a great campaign. However, what followed was an unexpected streak of four wins against great teams of the T20 format - New Zealand, England, South Africa and Australia - as India booked a place in the final.

Pakistan had an identical run as well, since the bowl-out. The Men in Green would go on to beat Sri Lanka, Australia, Bangladesh and New Zealand to set up an iconic clash with India at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on September 24, 2007.

MS Dhoni got a shot in the arm even before the match started as Virender Sehwag had failed to recover from a groin injury. The veteran opener wasn’t in the best of form in the 2007 World T20, tallying just 133 in five innings, but his experience at the top order would have been crucial for India. He was replaced by Yusuf Pathan, who was making his debut not only in an ICC event but also for India.

Though the debutant didn’t last long, he hit a six and a boundary, scoring 15 off eight balls to give India a fast start. However, India failed to capitalise on that start as Robin Uthappa would depart to reduce India to 40/2 in six overs. India’s star in that World Cup, Yuvraj Singh, would come next and start a rebuild alongside an in-form Gautam Gambhir. Both of them would forge a 63-run stand to steer India out of danger.

However, Yuvraj’s dismissal in the 14th over started a batting collapse as Dhoni and Gambhir soon followed leaving the lower order to garner as many runs as possible in the last two overs. Thankfully, India had a young Rohit Sharma coming in at number seven, whose 16-ball-30 helped India set a competitive target of 158 runs for Pakistan.

2007 India vs Pakistan: The Chase Begins

With the required run rate hovering over 8 per over, Pakistan was eyeing to exploit the powerplay fielding restrictions and make a quick start. However, India’s reliable wicket-taker in that tournament, RP Singh, struck on the fifth ball to remove Mohammad Hafeez.

Singh would return an over later to dismiss a dangerous Kamran Akmal to reduce Pakistan 26/2, with the Men in Green desperately seeking a partnership. An experienced Younis Khan would join Imran Nazir at the crease, but just as the duo looked to settle down, quick thinking by Uthappa saw Nazir falling short of his crease to be run out.

This would open a middle-order batting collapse that saw Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi all returning to the pavilion in a space of 24 runs. Pakistan’s only specialist batsman remaining was Misbah-ul-Haq who continued to fight with crucial contributions from Yasir Arafat (15) and Sohail Tanvir (12) helping to get closer to the score.

In fact, when Tanvir was dismissed by S Sreesanth on the last ball of the 18th over, Pakistan needed just 20 off 12 balls to win the World Cup title. There was no point hiding now and Pakistani bowlers swung their bats at everything. While it went blank most of the time, it did fetch Mohammad Asif a boundary on the last ball of the penultimate over.

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“Bhajji was not 100% sure of getting Yorkers in the death. I thought I should throw the ball to someone who really wants to do well in international cricket. Jogi did a really good job."

MS Dhoni on asking Joginder Sharma to bowl the last over

India vs Pakistan T20 World Cup 2007 Final Last Over

With 13 runs needed off the last over and captain Dhoni exhausting all his bowling options, he had to choose between an experienced Harbhajan Singh or a rookie Joginder Sharma. And to everyone’s shock, the first-time captain handed it to Sharma with Misbah-ul-Haq at strike.

19.1 (Wide Ball): A young Sharma bowled a short-length delivery outside the off stump and it went a bit too far for comfort. The entire crowd groaned in frustration. 12 needed off 6 balls.

19.1 (Dot Ball): Joginder executes his good length ball to perfection this time as Misbah swings and misses. 12 needed off 5 balls.

19.2 (Six runs): Joginder becomes predictable with his third consecutive attempt at a good length ball outside off, and Misbah gets the ball full toss to send it down the ground for a six. 6 needed off 4 balls.

19.3 (Out): With the match very much in Pakistan’s grip, Misbah tries to be cheeky and attempts to scoop Joginder’s fuller-length delivery over short fine-leg. A perfect execution would have sent the ball over the fence, but Misbah failed to middle the ball and the ball went straight up in the air! A wobbly Sreesanth would take it to land India their first ICC T20 title.

MS Dhoni with T20 World Cup Trophy 2007.jpeg

After the match, Dhoni had revealed why he handed the final over to Sharma. He said, “Bhajji was not 100% sure of getting Yorkers in the death. I thought I should throw the ball to someone who really wants to do well in international cricket. Jogi did a really good job."

This title win kickstarted an era of MS Dhoni who would win every ICC title there was on offer for India, over the next six years.  

Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan DuttaSports Writer

An M.A. in English Literature, Subhayan is an experienced journalist and sports writer. Having worked as a journalist at Hindustan Times, Subhayan covered diverse beats including sports, education, and health, showcasing his versatility and in-depth understanding of various subjects.