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4 close finishes in T20Is

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Number_one_Best_Greatest_cricketEven the most jingoistic of cricket fans would sometimes prefer it that their team is involved in a close contest. It makes for exciting viewing, as opposed to a one-sided thumping by their favourite team. Most neutrals would definitely prefer a closely contested match as it gets the pulse racing and provides unparalleled entertainment.

How exactly do you define a close contest? The obvious answer would be a game where both sides have a chance to win almost till the final stages of the match.

In Tests, it is the margin of defeat that defines a close contest. In ODIs, it could be the number of overs remaining if the chasing team wins. But in T20Is, if the chasing team wins with even an over to spare, it would be wrong to call it a close contest as an over is 5% of the total match. Therefore, if the margin of victory is less than 5 runs or the chasing team wins with just 2 or 3 deliveries to spare, only then can you call it a close match.

Here we look back at 4 T20Is which were riveting and had everyone watching at the edge of their seats, glued to the final moments.

Australia vs New Zealand, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, 15th February 2009

Australia won the toss and elected to bat first. Their innings never really picked up momentum and New Zealand picked up wickets at regular intervals. David Hussey provided the innings with much needed impetus from the middle, but even he scored just 41 off 39 balls with a solitary four and six. Australia struck just 11 fours and 2 sixes in their entire innings and finished with a below par 150/7 from 20 overs.

In reply, New Zealand got off to a horrendous start as Peter Siddle knocked over Martin Guptill and Peter Fulton. Uncharacteristically, Brendon McCullum began slowly while Neil Broom kept the scoreboard ticking. At the end of the 10th over the Kiwis were 66/2 and needed 85 to win, with 8 wickets in hand.

In the 17th over, bowled by James Hopes, McCullum struck a six and 2 fours. The Kiwis plundered 20 runs off that over, bringing the equation down to 25 off the last 3 overs. They still had 7 wickets in hand and were in command at this stage. However, on the first ball of the 19th over, McCullum was dismissed to a good catch by Adam Voges off Ben Hilfenhaus for a well-made 67.

New Zealand needed 14 off the last over and 12 from the last two deliveries. Nathan McCullum struck the penultimate ball by Nathan Bracken for a four, which left the Kiwis needing 8 off the last ball. Bracken ensured that he did not bowl a no ball or wide and yet, Nathan McCullum struck a six off the last ball. Australia had won a cliff-hanger by just 1 run.

Australia vs India, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, 31st January 2016

India recovered from a 4-0 deficit to win the final ODI and had also won the first 2 T20Is in the 3 match series. A win for India would ensure that the combined total of victories in both ODIs and T20Is would be tied at 4 apiece.

Australia won the toss and elected to bat. Shane Watson played a blinder and did the bulk of the scoring. He went after the bowling right from the word go and struck an unbeaten 124 off 71 balls with 10 fours and 6 sixes. The 2nd highest scorer in the innings was Travis Head with 26. Australia made a formidable 197/5.

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan got India off to a rollicking start, putting on 46 in just 3.2 overs. Sharma and Virat Kohli both struck fifties but both were dismissed in quick succession and Yuvraj Singh joined Suresh Raina at the crease.

Yuvraj’s promotion ahead of the skipper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni seemed to be a mistake, as he could muster only 5 runs off his first 9 balls. India needed 17 runs off the last over bowled by Andrew Tye. Yuvraj made amends by hitting Tye for a four and a six off the first 2 balls before Raina stole a bye on the third. India needed 2 runs off the last ball and Raina struck a four past point, taking India to a memorable 7-wicket victory.

South Africa vs England, World T20, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, 18th March 2016

The pitch at the Wankhede Stadium was a belter and England chose to field. Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock got the Proteas off to a flier, scoring 96 off the first 7 overs (both scored fifties). JP Duminy and David Miller provided the finishing kick to the innings scoring 54 and 28 off 28 and 12 balls respectively.

South Africa posted a score of 229/4 from 20 overs, striking an incredible 20 fours and 13 sixes in their innings.

England came out all guns blazing, with Jason Roy and Alex Hales scoring 48 off just 2.3 overs giving a much-needed boost to the dressing room. In 6 overs, England were at 89/3.

Joe Root and Jos Buttler put on a partnership of 75 runs before the latter was dismissed with England needing 44 from 26 balls. Root struck Chris Morris for 3 consecutive fours off the first 3 balls of the 18th over to tilt the scales firmly in England’s favour.

England needed 1 run off the last over. Jitters went down the spine of the English players as Kyle Abbot dismissed Chris Jordan and David Willey was run out on the second ball of the final over. However, Moeen Ali scored a single off the 4th ball to take England to a famous victory by 2 wickets.

India vs Bangladesh, World T20, Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru, 23rd March 2016

Bangladesh won the toss and put India in to bat. All of India’s top 6 batsmen reached double figures but no one scored more than 30 as the Bangladesh bowlers managed to keep them in check. Suresh Raina was the top scorer with 30 from 23 balls as India made a below par 146/7 in 20 overs.

Bangladesh got off to a steady start and Tamim Iqbal gave them the momentum they needed, hitting Jasprit Bumrah for 4 fours in the 6th over, at which point Bangladesh were at 45/1. They continued to stay in the hunt with the occasional six and wound up requiring 11 runs off the last over, bowled by Hardik Pandya.

Mushfiqur Rahim hammered Pandya for consecutive fours off the second and third balls to put Bangladesh in the driver’s seat. They needed 2 runs off 3 balls and had the game in the bag. What happened next is one of the most famous meltdowns in recent cricket history.

Rahim pulled Pandya straight into the hands of Dhawan at mid-wicket, while Mahmudullah slogged a full toss and Jadeja took a well-judged catch. Shuvagata Hom missed the last ball and Dhoni ran to the stumps and whipped off the bails off to run out Mustafizur Rahman, pulling off a memorable victory for India by 1 run.

 

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