Imran Nazir, the former Pakistan swashbuckling opener, has revealed his inability to close off the game against India in the 2007 T20 World Cup final against arch-rivals India as the biggest regret of life.
Nazir, who was Pakistan’s third-highest run-scorer in the tournament, feels that he could have singlehandedly won the game for his side, given the kind of form he was in during that innings.
Chasing 158 to win, Pakistan got off to the worst possible start as RP Singh reduced them to 2-26. But, Nazir was batting on a completely different level that day. The Pakistani swashbuckler launched a stunning counterattack on the Indian bowlers-especially S Sreesanth- as the Men in Green reached the 50-run mark in mere six overs.
Imran Nazir scored a whirlwind 14-ball 33 and it took a brilliant direct-hit from Robin Uthappa that brought an end to his knock.
“Cricket-wise it will remain the biggest regret of my life. It will continue to hurt till my last breath. We had a chance to create history. From a personal point of view, I can say, I should’ve won that match single-handedly for Pakistan like I had done in ISL because when a player starts middling the ball he has the confidence…I was playing really well then, unfortunately, got run out and the match slowly slipped away, it still hurts.” Imran Nazir said on Youtube show ‘Cricket Baaz’
‘We couldn’t finish the game’- Imran Nazir on the 2007 T20 World Cup final against India
Post the dismissal of Imran Nazir, Pakistan suffered a middle-order meltdown courtesy Irfan Pathan, who claimed 3-16, which also included the prized scalp of Shahid Afridi and skipper Shoaib Malik.
Pakistan were reduced to 7-104 before Misbah-Ul-Haq scripted yet another comeback courtesy his calculated 38-ball 43 to bring the target down to six runs off the last four balls. Misbah then went for a scoop off Joginder Sharma, and the rest, as they say, is history. And, Nazir still rues the fact that they could not finish off the game that day in Jo’Burg.
“To reach the finals of the first-ever T20 World Cup and then the kind of crowd and atmosphere was there in the finals, these sort of things stay with you always. I knew whoever performs well that day will win… I had given a good start, had built a solid partnership but what matters, in the end, is how you finish, which we couldn’t.” Nazir said.
Pakistan did go on to win the next edition of the T20 World Cup in England [in 2009] but Imran Nazir was not a part of the squad due to injury.