Twenty20 revolutionized the game of cricket. The game was catching up with people. This was when the ICC decided to hold a world cup series in T20. The first series was hosted by South Africa. The event was held from September 11 to September 24. India defeated Pakistan in the closely-contested final at Johannesburg. 12 teams participated including Scotland and Kenya.
Scotland and Kenya qualified through The World Cricket League (WCL). It is a series of international cricket tournaments for teams that do not have a Test status. WCL is hosted by the ICC. Scotland became the first team to qualify from the WCL when they beat Kenya by 77 runs. This guaranteed them a place in the WCL finals and a berth in T20 world cup. Kenya secured the berth after beating Canada in the 5th round of matches.
The matches were played at three grounds; Newlands (Capetown), Kingsmead (Durban), and Wanderers (Johannesburg). The umpires were selected from the Elite panel.
There were 4 groups with 3 teams in each group. There were many path-breaking performances from the individuals as well as from the teams. The first match was a high-scoring one. Chris Gayle scored the only century of the series. This set the tournament alive. South Africa chased West Indies’ total of 205 runs successfully.
The series’ Super 8s group had top two teams from each group. The tournament threw up surprises as well. Australia lost its first group match against Zimbabwe. Brendon Taylor scored a brilliant unbeaten 64 to guide Zimbabwe home. South Africa failed to qualify for the semis.
The tournament saw 6 sixes in a single over. Yuvraj Singh hit Stuart Broad of England for 6 sixes in an over to help India cross the 200-run mark at Kingsmead, Durban. Yuvraj scored a half-century off just 12 deliveries in this match. This is the fastest fifty in a T20 world cup match. The teams that reached the semis were India, Pakistan, New Zealand, and Australia. India had a face-off with Australia, while New Zealand played Pakistan. New Zealand reached the semis by the virtue of better run-rate than South Africa. Earlier, South Africa had lost heavily to India in the Super 8s match and thus failed to qualify for the semis.
India and Pakistan had a face-off in the final at Johannesburg, which India won by 5 runs. A young Indian team led by MS Dhoni was quite consistent throughout the tournament. Irfan Pathan was the Man of the Match in the Finals for his 3-wicket spell and Shahid Afridi won the Man of the Series award for his all-round performance. Matthew Hayden (Australia) was the highest run-getter, while Umar Gul (Pakistan) was the highest wicket-taker in the series.