It’s been quite a show since it started as a bit of fun in 2007. Here are 10 of the best moments served up by the World Twenty20 tournament so far.
1) GAYLE’S PARTY-STARTER
Chris Gayle, when he’s not doing his bit to further the inequality of the sexes, is very good at hitting cricket balls a very long way. He’s also very good at choosing his moments, he performs when the stage is set and everyone’s watching. He did just that in the first-ever World T20 match, against South Africa in South Africa, to kick off the 2007 tournament in super-smashing style. Gayle thrashed his way to 117 from 57 balls, with seven fours and 10 sixes along the way.
2) YUVRAJ’S SIX SIXES
It’s still the inaugural tournament, and England are facing eventual winners India. Yuvraj Singh, pumped up after hitting two fours off – then squaring up to – Andrew Flintoff, is facing 21-year-old Stuart Broad for the 19th over of the innings. A hoick, a flick and a few smacks later, Yuvraj was in the record books: the first to hit six sixes in an over in T20 cricket. It was also the fastest-ever half-century, from 12 balls – as he ended on 58 from 16 and India made a match-winning 218. Broad’s figures? Four overs, 0-60.
3) MISBAH’S FAILSCOOP, INDIA’S TROPHY
The first final was an absolute belter: India v Pakistan at Johannesburg, and with one over left, Pakistan were nine wickets down with 13 required. Cool-headed future skipper Misbah-ul-Haq was Pakistan’s last hope, and after smashing a six down the ground off Joginder Sharma to make the equation six from four, attempted a scoop over fine-leg. It’s his ‘Gatting reverse-sweep’ moment. Sreesanth took an easily spooned up chance and India won the tournament. They ended up rather taking to 20-over cricket.
4) ENGLAND GO DUTCH
It didn’t quite seem right anyway. Lord’s? T20? Coloured kits? Specialists? In hindsight, the writing was on the wall. And anyway, there’s something terribly English about kicking off your own party – a party which you feel slightly uncomfortable about hosting – and then getting embarrassed. England got off to a great start, 101-0 in the 12th, before everything fell away and they posted 162. Still, we probably had enough, right? Not to be, the flying Dutchmen played some total cricket and deservedly got there off the final ball, courtesy of a fluffed English run-out. Just to prove that it was no fluke, and weirdly that every country – Test-playing or otherwise – deserves the chance to compete, they did it again in 2014.
5) BOOM BOOM’S FINEST HOUR
Though his leg-spin was growing ever more effective, by 2009, Shahid Afridi’s batting was already thought by some to be over-hyped and over the hill. But in the World Twenty20 final at Lord’s that year, he gave his loyal fans the narrative they (and he) so craved. Coming in at No.3 as Pakistan chased down Sri Lanka’s 138, he struck a 40-ball 54 to see his team to the silverware in typically dramatic style.
6) ENGLAND’S MIRACLE PARTNERSHIP
The first time the women’s tournament was held in parallel with the men’s, and this semi-final between England and Australia – the first part of a double-header – was the finest showcase of the women’s game you could hope for. Australia scored a healthy 163, and in reply England lost both openers – Sarah Taylor and Charlotte Edwards – relatively early, leaving No.3 Claire Taylor and No.4 Beth Morgan to set about scoring 10 an over for a full 13 overs. They did just that – marshalling the run-chase expertly with deliberate strokeplay and tireless running to win with three balls to spare. An all-time classic.
7) HUSSEY IN A HURRY
For all of his many talents – and undoubted ability – Mike Hussey wouldn’t have been the player that fans most wanted at the crease when Australia needed 92 from 45. It was the 2010 semi-final, and while Australia had enjoyed a serene journey up to this point, it looked like they’d be heading out when Hussey walked out with a Herculean task ahead of him. Mr Cricket, though, opened his shoulders and did the business. In the end, he scored 60 from 24, with three fours and six sixes.
8) ENGLAND WIN!
Not only a first ICC world title, but a hiding for the Aussies in the final. It couldn’t have got much better for England fans watching the 2010 tournament in the Caribbean. Opening bat and wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter – sadly now retired – earned the Man of the Match award in the Bridgetown climax for his 49-ball 63, before captain Collingwood hit the winning runs to bring on a jubilant pitch invasion from the dugout.
9) SAMUELS FLIES THE FLAG
Lasith Malinga was the most feared bowler in T20 cricket: impossible to read, impossible to get away. Not for Marlon Samuels, a man at the peak of his swaggeringly stylish powers. West Indies had bulldozed their way to the 2012 final in Sri Lanka and, batting first against the hosts, lost openers Chris Gayle and Johnson Charles for a combined total of 3. No.3 Samuels went on to hit 78 from 56, with six sixes (five of them off Malinga) and three fours, sending The Slinger for 54 off his four overs. West Indies took the trophy, sending waves of hope and excitement through the Caribbean – for a while at least.
10) LANNING HITS LONG
En route to captaining Australia to victory in the 2014 tournament in Bangladesh, Meg Lanning smashed the second-highest score in all WT20I history. Her 126 in her side’s group match against Ireland came in 65 balls with 18 fours and four sixes, continuing the Southern Stars’ march to the trophy and proving Lanning to be perhaps the most accomplished batsmen in the women’s game.