NEW DELHI: Dinesh Karthik’s last-ball six off Soumya Sarkar on Sunday night has found pride of place at the top of the list of best finishes in Twenty20 internationals, because it was delivered against the odds in the final of a T20I tri-series. Held back in the order while the rookie Vijay Shankar was preferred at No 5 – despite never having batted at international level – the experienced Karthik entered India’s chase after Mustafizur Rahman had bowled a stunning wicket-maiden 18th over.
India needed 34 off 12 balls, and Karthik summoned his deepest resolve – he was Man of the Match in India’s inaugural T20I in 2006 – to hit 22 off the penultimate over. Back on strike for the last ball of the match, from which India needed five to win, Karthik kept his cool and drove Sarkar over extra cover for a flat six to cue sensational scenes at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. With that unbelievable hit, India had chased 167 to claim the Nidahas Trophy.
On that note, here is a look at five unforgettable last-ball thrillers in T20Is.
Netherlands v England, Lord’s, 2009
It was a mismatch on paper, but the result was one that got the second edition of the ICC World Twenty20 off to a memorable start, if not perhaps in the manner that the host country had in mind.
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At Lord’s – the home of English cricket – the underdogs Netherlands consigned England to one of their most ignominious cricket defeats of all times, hitting the final ball of the match for two amid scenes of incredible drama. Having done well to keep England to 163, Netherlands’ batsmen did well to keep up with the asking rate with Tom de Grooth playing the innings of his life. It call boiled down to the last over from which Netherlands needed seven runs with four wickets in hand. In the end, Stuart Broad missed two run-out chances and James Foster another, with the winning run coming when Broad turned and threw at the stumps … and missed.
Immediately the Netherlands dugout was cleared and Lord’s painted orange as a merry band of giant-slayers went delirious, backed by a 1000-strong Dutch contingent in the stands.
England v Australia, Adelaide, 2011
Shane Watson starred with 59 off 31 balls during Australia’s 157/4 and then claimed superb figures of 4/15 in four overs, but still ended up on the losing side. Watson was tasked with bowling the final over of the match, from which England needed four runs. The over began with Watson claiming Graeme Swann, followed by two dot balls to Ajmal Shahzad and then a single that got Chris Woakes on strike. Woakes, on international debut, held his head and dragged the scores level with a carve past point for two and punched Watson over midwicket for the winning run. Woakes’ unbeaten 19 off 15 balls took England to a record eighth consecutive T20I win.
England v India, Mumbai, 2012
A stunning finish, with Eoin Morgan dumping the last ball over the sight screen to level the series for England. Chasing India’s 177/8, the visitors were given a good start from Michael Lumb (50) and Alex Hales (43) but Yuvraj Singh’s three wickets stemmed the chase. Morgan, the captain, kept pumping between the wickets and collected a few boundaries with innovation. England needed 29 from 13 balls, which became 23 from 12 when Morgan creamed Ashok Dinda for six. Jos Buttler took a six and four off the 19th over bowled by Parvinder Awana, which left England to get nine from six balls.
Dinda did well to allow six from his first five deliveries, and when Morgan began a premeditated walk across the stumps as Dinda ran in to bowl the final one, the Wankhede Stadium was on a knife’s edge. MS Dhoni used the moment to summon his players for a huddle, while Morgan wore a steely look. Dinda ran in again, and this time Morgan slammed the ball straight down the ground for six.
Australia v South Africa, Johannesburg, 2016
Needing a win to keep the series alive, Australia pulled off a record chase. In pursuit of 205, the visitors lost early wickets to slump to 32/3 but a stunning counter-attack from Glenn Maxwell and David Warner shoved South Africa onto the back foot. Warner led the way with 77 off 40 balls, with five sixes and six fours, and Maxwell thrilled with 75 from 43 balls with seven fours and three sixes. The records tumbled. The pair’s partnership of 161 was the highest ever fourth-wicket stand in T20Is, and the fourth highest overall; it was the first time that two Australian batsman had scored 75 or more in a T20I; and South Africa became the first team to twice lose a T20I after setting their opponents targets over 200.
The end was excruciating. Maxwell departed off the penultimate delivery of the 19th over and Warner off the first of the last, and only some fumbles in the field allowed Mitchell Marsh and James Faulkner to scamper the required run. Before this, the biggest total that an Australian team had ever overhauled was 192 against Pakistan during the epic 2010 World T20 semi-final.
Sri Lanka v Australia, Geelong, 2017
In the preceding match of this best-of-three series in Australia, Asela Gunaratne hit a match-winning 52 off 37 balls to give Sri Lanka the lead against an admittedly depleted Australian side. The series was sealed on his might two evenings later, this time with a bigger score in a bigger chase and in a bigger situation. Chasing 174, Sri Lanka had been reduced to 40/5 before Gunaratne found some support from Chamara Kapugedera (32). However, a flurry of wickets left Sri Lanka needing 48 from three overs. It was then that Gunaratne hit two fours in the 18th over and then larruped three sixes and a four off Moises Henriques in the next, meaning the asking rate had been reduced to 14 off six balls.
Andrew Tye removed Nuwan Kulasekara off the first, followed by a four and six from Gunaratne. A single meant that Lasith Malinga had to face. He managed a single to put the man of the moment back on strike with two runs required off the final ball, and Gunaratne cracked it over cover for four to finish on 84 from 46 balls. Source : timesofindia