Australia have been crowned the T20 World Cup champions after they defeated New Zealand in the final in a resounding fashion on Sunday.
The outcome of the tournament has been a surprise for many fans and pundits as Australia were not at all among the favourites at the start of the tournament, but Aaron Finch and his men rose to the occasion to take home their first ICC trophy after a gap of six years.
Australia’s brilliant performance has been aided by a string of upsets throughout the tournament as the close and entertaining encounters right from the start of the tournament have once again buttressed the appeal of the shortest format of the game among fans.
As teams across the world once again start their preparations for next year’s T20 World Cup, we take a look at the major upsets of the tournament.
#4: SCOTLAND VS BANGLADESH
The first major upset of the ICC T20 World Cup occurred in the First Round of matches even before the bigwigs of the game entered the tournament.
On the opening day of the tournament, Scotland stunned the cricketing world by registering a six-run victory over Test-playing Bangladesh.
Batting first, the Scots lost six wickets for 53 runs when Chris Greaves, who is playing his second-ever international fixture, scored a blistering 45 runs off 28 balls to take Scotland to a decent score of 140/9 by the end of the innings.
The Scottish bowlers then took the life out of Bangladesh’s more experienced batsmen with Brad Wheal taking three wickets and Chris Greaves picking up two scalps. Bangladesh looked comfortable in their chase during the middle overs as Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim put together a 47 run partnership for the third wicket.
But a brilliant bit of bowling at the end by Safyaan Sharif ensured a memorable victory for Scotland. Scotland’s victory strengthened the case for the inclusion of associate nations in ICC Tournaments – with both Scotland and Namibia going back from the tournament with happy faces.
#3: WEST INDIES VS ENGLAND
The Windies were one of the favourites to win the World Cup before the start of the tournament. Despite their poor form and issues within the lineup, the Windies have a track record of sparking in competitive tournaments.
But the hopes of the Golden Generation of Windies cricket to end their era with a trophy fell flat in the Super 12 stage of the tournament itself, with the team succumbing to four defeats in five fixtures – with a win against out-of-form Bangladesh being their only bright spot of the World Cup.
Their first match of the group stages was against England in a repeat of the 2016 T20 World Cup final.
Batting first, the Windies were too ambitious on a surface that did not offer batsmen much support. The spin of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid weaved a web of forced mistakes and false shots. The spin duo took six wickets between them, conceding just 19 runs in the middle overs.
Chris Gayle was the only batsman who reached double-digits among the Windies team with nine out of their 10 wickets coming from attempts to score a boundary. The defending champions could only stitch together 55 runs in 14.2 overs.
In reply, Jos Buttler had to anchor the innings for England as they lost four wickets scoring the measly score. England finished the chase in just 8.2 overs, giving their Net Run Rate a significant boost that came to their help later in the tournament.
#2: AUSTRALIA VS PAKISTAN
It has been a roller-coaster of a ride for Pakistani fans in the tournament. Entering the World Cup with scant expectations, they thoroughly dominated the Super 12 stages to become the only team not to taste defeat across both the groups.
The duo of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan put together 584 runs between them, while Shadab Khan and Haris Rauf were clinical with the ball. Although they were facing the mighty Australians in the semis, Pakistan were the clear favourites to win the game.
Batting first, Pakistan got off to a great start as the opening partnership of 71 between Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan once again gave them a solid base to build on. A blistering half-century by Fakhar Zaman alongside Rizwan propelled Pakistan to 176/4, which is a good total on the bowling-friendly Dubai surface.
In reply, the Australians faced an early blow as their skipper Aaron Finch got out without scoring any runs in the first over. But Mitchell Marsh, who is the surprise revelation of the tournament, tagged along with Man of the Tournament David Warner to put together a half-century partnership.
Pakistan looked once again on ascendancy when Shadab Khan took the wickets of Marsh, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, and Warner in quick succession. Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade had to navigate the middle overs with caution as Australia could not afford to lose any more wickets.
Australia needed 62 runs off the last five overs when the duo exploded. A dropped catch by Hasan Ali was the turning point of the match, with Wade scoring three sixes in a row in the 19th over to seal a spot in the final for the Aussies and stun Pakistan.
#1: INDIA VS PAKISTAN
The biggest upset of the tournament occurred in its most-watched fixture. Weeks of buildup preceded the encounter between arch-rivals India and Pakistan, with fans of both nations eager to see the teams play against each other after a gap of two years.
Going into the fixture, India were clear favourites. Not only did the Indian team have a more talented lineup, but the recently concluded Indian T20 League gave the players the experience they needed on UAE surfaces.
Put to bat first, the Indian batsmen struggled early on against the pace attack of Shaheen Afridi as he picked up the wickets of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma for cheap in his first spell. Skipper Virat Kohli had the difficult task of steadying the ship as he partnered with Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja to take India to 151/7 at the end of the innings.
In reply, the opening pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan stunned India’s bowlers with their innings. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar had no answer for their dominance as the duo chased the score in just 18 overs with no wickets lost.
India’s loss to New Zealand just a week later eliminated them from the tournament altogether -which was a bitter end to Virat Kohli’s captaincy of the team. A combination of poor scheduling, selection mistakes, and bad luck with the tosses put to an early end the hopes of Indian fans for a trophy.
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