Related Link : Twenty20 World Championship 2007
The difference between the two sides that met in the final of the T20 World Cup becomes a question that demands answers the more we look at the distance of victory which was very narrow. Both sides batted poorly, both sides fielded splendidly and both sides bowled their hearts out then what was the point that led Pakistan short of the finishing line in the end? It is a tough question to answer especially when both sides were so evenly matched but if you look at the march of the two sides towards the Final of the inaugural T20 Tournament then there was definitely a pattern that sketched the things as it turned out in the end.
Allow me to take you back in the alley of the recent past right at the 1st Test between India and England where India tried its best to squeeze a draw to stay alive in Test series where Dhoni played one scintillating but an unlike-Dhoni innings which in the end proved an effort that saved match for his side. After that resilient exhibition by Indian batting, things never got out of hand of Dravid’s Eleven at all throughout the Test series. India rewrote the history books by defeating England in Test series and I think the first test draw was the turning point.
Then in the ODI series, England got an emphatic lead of 3-1 on India after the first four ODIs in the Seven Match series. But the Indian cricketers’ resilience again found a touch that dragged England to the stage where the score line became 3-3 at the end of 6 matches. It was a great comeback after getting thrashed in the first round convincingly. India lost the series but their never-say-die attitude got far stronger in the end. It is the quality that comes after playing years of hard cricket. It cannot come naturally. You have to fight every inch of playing field to floor opposition when stakes are down and odds are against you. India may not be as talented as some other teams in the world, but their will to fight till the end is rare which is the most important rewarding characteristic of any side in international cricket.
Same perseverance can be easily seen in the Indian side when you look back at the cricket played from 11th -24th September. They were outdone by the format when they got beaten by the New Zealand in the first super-eight tie. It looked highly improbable for India to qualify from there to the Semi Final stage where they had to face Australia, the world champions and England, the most experienced T20 side in the next two do-or-die encounters. But as I wrote it is their will to succeed that has kept them afloat even in the most nerve-wracking conditions whereas Pakistan was crossing every other hurdle in their way disdainfully. They had great momentum and everything else in their favour to tear any opposition apart in the T20 Final, but one thing was missing and that was the sense of handling pressure in the deep end when it really mattered. They were never stretched anywhere during the tournament where they could check their grit under sweltering pressure except against Sri Lanka where top order jolts made them pressurized but that spanned nothing more than 4 to 5 overs. Apart from that there was no real threat posed to Pakistan at all and not even by the Aussies which came as a surprise to everyone in Pakistan.
I wrote here in a newspaper in Pakistan that whoever handles itself better in pressure situations have a strong chance of creating history and India proved itself right just because they handled themselves better in every situation even when they were pushed by the Pakistan in the dead end of the match. Pakistan played superb cricket right throughout the tournament but India played tough cricket and became deserving winners of the tournament.