Out of favour of Indian international, Robin Uthappa, recently opened up about MS Dhoni’s mastermind which helped the Men in Blue win the bowl-out against Pakistan in the 2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa.
The tournament was lined up after the long Indian tour of England. As a result, stalwarts Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and Sourav Ganguly allowed the young Indian brigade to participate by stepping out of contention for the inaugural ICC tournament.
At that point in time, T20 cricket was relatively nascent in international cricket. India played a single T20I game in South Africa, before taking part in the tournament.
Thus, India was reasonably inexperienced in comparison to England, Australia, and New Zealand. Therefore, not many gave Indians a chance under the captaincy of MS Dhoni.
However, against all the odds, India managed to bring home the prized ICC title, thanks to the inspirational captaincy from Dhoni.
The talismanic Indian captain worked with his team in preparation for the ‘bowl-out’, which was an event like the penalty shoot-out in soccer and in cricket it came into place when matches were tied. Instead of goals, bowlers had to hit the wicket. Super Over later replaced the bowl-outs.
“One of the things that MS [Dhoni] did really well, and that he did differently from what Pakistan ‘keeper did was, where he stood behind the stumps. Pakistan’s keeper (Kamran Akmal) was standing where a WK usually stands. A few feet back and besides the stump — just alongside the stump,” Uthappa told Ish Sodhi during Rajasthan Royals’ podcast.
“But 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,” added Uthappa.
India first posted 141 in their 20 overs, in return, Pakistan just managed to reach the same number of runs as 40 overs could not differentiate between the sides in the group stage of the match.
The game went into the bowl-outs and Uthappa, along with Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh were nominated from the Indian team for the tie-breaker event. All three Indians managed to hit the stumps, while the likes of Umar Gul, Shahid Afridi and Yasir Arafat struggled to hit the stumps even once.
In the end, India won the match and progressed into the next stage. Then, the Men in Blue defeated Pakistan even in the finals of the tournament to win the inaugural T20 World Cup.