From Gul’s five-wicket haul to McCullum’s smashing century: 10 of the greatest moments in World T20 history

Ozer McMahon 16:55 10/02/2016
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The ICC World Twenty20 has produced some fine moments since its 2007 inauguration.


The inaugural World T20 was special for many reasons, not least because of the nerve-jangling ‘bowl off’ played out between India and Pakistan during their Group D tie.

Each team selected five bowlers, who were tasked with hitting unguarded stumps. While that may sound simple for professional cricketers it proved to be anything but for Pakistan, who failed to hit the stumps at all as India prevailed 3-0. Spin worked a treat for the Indians as Sehwag, Singh and Uthappa all hit, while Pakistan’s Arafat, Gul and Afridi were errant with their efforts.

The ‘bowl off’ was replaced in 2008 by a ‘Super Over’ to decide drawn games, meaning this unique chapter in one of cricket’s fiercest rivalries will remain the only World T20 fixture decided in such a way.


Andrew Flintoff produced many great moments in an England shirt, but perhaps his worst was the decision to rile up Yuvraj Singh ahead of India’s 18th over at the Super 8 stage of the 2007 World T20.

Having seen the batsman chalk up 14 runs from the first six deliveries he faced, Flintoff goaded the Indian legend, who then proceeded to take his anger out on a youthful Stuart Broad – lashing him to all parts of the ground en route to a remarkable 36 of six balls.

Singh recorded a 50 off just 12 balls, the fastest ever half century in international T20 cricket, and a record that still stands almost a decade later. He also became only the fourth ever player to record six sixes in a single over in all forms of the game, and the first ever to do so in T20 cricket.


It wasn’t the first World T20 shock to send ripples through the game, but the Netherlands’ victory over England trumped Zimbabwe’s defeat of Australia two years earlier, easing any fears the tournament would simply throw up an endless barrage of hammerings for the big nations over the minnows.

As hosts, England opened the tournament at Lord’s against perceived Group B whipping boys  Netherlands, and despite being put into to bat first they failed to run up an unassailable total. An impressive knock from Luke Wright, who smashed 76 of 49 balls, led England to a total of 162-5, which was chased down by the Dutch with gusto; they ended up needing just two runs off the final ball of the game to win.

Stuart Broad bowled to Edgar Schiferli, the batman struck the ball straight back to the bowler, who gathered and took aim at the stumps to which Schiferli was desperately scrambling towards. Broad however overthrew by some distance, allowing the Duthcman to come back for the winning second run on a historic day.

UMAR GUL’S 5/6, 2009

There are few more lethal bowlers in world cricket than Umar Gul, and the Pakistani pace-man showed off all his skill with the ball as he ripped through New Zealand’s batting line up in the Super 8 stage of the 2009 tournament.

Gul only needed three overs against the Black Caps to do the damage, and he returned a five-wicket haul for the concession of a mere six runs.  In doing so he restricted New Zealand to 99 all out, setting Pakistan an easily attainable target of 100, which they reached in 13.1 overs.

Pakistan went on to defeat Sri Lanka in the final and claim their first World T20 crown, and it was in no small part to Gul who ended the tournament as leading wicket taker with 13.


You rarely forget those who achieve something first and India will always be remembered for winning the inaugural World T20 tournament.

What made it all the sweeter for them was the fact they beat fiercest rivals Pakistan in the final, and for the second time in the tournament, in a thrilling encounter that went right down to the last over. Powered on by a 75 from the bat of Guatam Gambhir, and an excellent bowling effort by Irfan Pathan, who took three for 16, India claimed their first world title since 1983.

This victory boosted the shorter form of the game in India immeasurably, with the IPL thriving off the back of such a successful tournament for the national team.


No batsman has hit more centuries in official T20 cricket than the 16 plundered by explosive West Indies opener Chris Gayle.

Despite this impressive return however, Gayle has only hit one international T20 century, though he chose a pretty appropriate time to compile those runs.

His stand of 117 runs off just 56 deliveries in the opening game of the first ever World T20 match with South Africa, was an amazing show of skill and bravado.  Although the West Indies ultimately lost to the Proteas, Gayle took the headlines after scoring the first ever century in international T20 cricket.


Has there ever been a more effective T20 bowler in world cricket?

Sri Lanka’s Mendis ran amok on home soil in the 2012 tournament as he claimed 15 wickets during the hosts’ run to the final. Mendis spun Zimbabwe into confusion in their pool clash, as he returned figures of six for eight from his four overs, including two maidens, as the hosts dispatched their opponents for a measly 100 all out in just 17.3 overs.

He  has the best strike rate of any international bowler in international T20, and his spin continues to bamboozle opposing batsmen.


Chris Gayle may have scored the first ever World T20 century, but nobody has claimed a bigger score than New Zealand captain Brendan McCullum.

McCullum is famed for his destructive style of attacking batting, and no player has registered more international runs in the shortest format of the game than the Kiwi. The 123 he plundered off just 58 balls against Bangladesh during the group stage of the 2012 tournament is the third-highest international T20 century of all time and the biggest at the World T20.

What sets this innings apart however is that it allowed McCullum to become the first ever batsman to record two T20 centuries at international level.


One of the most refreshing things about the World T20 is that the unheralded associate nations can often create the most intriguing headlines.

This was certainly the case in Hobart as the Netherlands and Ireland slugged out an incredible 30 sixes in their pool clash in 2014. The Netherlands won the toss and put Ireland in first, with the men in green lashing the ball around the park for 11 sixes and racking up an impressive total of 189-4.

The Dutch came to the crease and, not to be outdone, Stephanus Myburgh smashed seven sixes, as the Dutch recorded 19 in total, to chase down and surpass Ireland’s score in just 13.5 overs.


So often swashbuckling batting and stump-splitting bowling attracts all the attention in cricket’s shortest form, but every now and again a piece of fielding trumps all that.

Bangladesh may not have enjoyed a successful run in the 2014 World T20 tournament but their opening batsman Tamim Iqbal showed off his amazing fielding skills by taking two excellent catches in defeat against the West Indies.

The first was a great example of spatial awareness, as he caught the ball near the boundary rope before tossing it back in the air to ensure he didn’t carry it over. The second catch was a supreme example of reflexes and agility, Iqbal grabbing a ball flying high overhead and away to his right with a diving one-handed catch.

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