Former Indian player Robin Uthappa became nostalgic about the India- Pakistan league match in the inaugural World T20 tournament in 2007 and said that he had approached MS Dhoni saying that he wanted to bowl during the bowl out to decide the winner of the match after both teams ended on the same score.
In the infancy of T20 cricket, instead of the now prevalent super over, bowl outs used to happen to determine the winner of the match and each team designated five players to bowl one ball at unguarded stumps and the teams to hit the stumps the most times won. It was like the penalty shoot-out in football or hockey.
The match is epic and remembered by all the Indian cricket fans as it was the first-ever meeting of India and Pakistan in the T20 World Cup tournament which was played in South Africa. The see-saw match also saw the debut of MS Dhoni as India captain, after their first encounter against Scotland was washed out.
Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik had won the toss and opted to bowl first and kept India to just 141/9. Robin Uthappa starred with the bat with a knock of 50, while MS Dhoni made 33 and Irfan Pathan made 20.
When We Got To Know That It’s A ‘Bowl Out’, I Went Straight To MS (Dhoni), And I Said- ‘Bro, I’ve To Bowl: Robin Uthappa
In reply, Misbah Ul Haq made 53 and almost took the Pakistan team past the finish line, but got run out on the last ball of the 20th over of Pakistan innings with the score reading 141/7 and the match was tied. Now the winner of the match was to be decided via a bowl out.
Robin Uthappa was one of five players chosen by the team to target the stumps. The stylish batsman recalled how he approached Dhoni after the match ended in a tie, requesting the captain to give him a chance during the bowl out. Uthappa recalled the same in a video posted by Chennai Super Kings Instagram handle.
“I remember after we tied that game, we went to the dressing room and got to know that it’s a ‘bowl out’, I went straight to MS (Dhoni), and I said- ‘Bro, I’ve to bowl,’ and he didn’t even bat an eyelid. He just said yeah, ok, you’ll bowl. And for me when I look back at it in retrospect makes me understand the kind of leader he was. He is the kind of guy when you’re really sure about your skills and your own ability, he backs it. And he backed it in his first game as captain,” Uthappa said.
I Just Knew I Was Going To Hit The Stumps: Robin Uthappa
Further, Uthappa said that given that then bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad was making all the Indian players practice hitting unguarded stumps during nets, he was confident of scoring a hit for the team, and hence put his hand up.
He said: “I just knew I was going to hit the stumps because Venky (Venkatesh Prasad) , who was our bowling coach at the time, made us practice it in the warm-ups. In that phase, me, Rohit, Viru (Virender Sehwag) were hitting it quite often, so I put my hand up, and said I have to bowl, and he said ‘bowl’. That reaction was spontaneous.”
As things turned out, India beat Pakistan 3-0 in the bowl out. Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, and Uthappa hit the stumps with precision, while Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul, and Shahid Afridi missed for Pakistan.