England won the ICC World T20 2010 title after beating Australia © Getty Images
England won the ICC World T20 2010 title after beating Australia © Getty Images

In ICC World T20 2010, England put up heart-stirring performances to win a world title for the first time in the history of the game. Bharath Ramaraj jogs his memory back to the day, on May 16, 2010, when England beat Australia in the final to script a monumental win.

In the world of sport, it can take years together for fabled dreams to turn into reality. Sportsmen strive every ounce of their energy to taste the glory of success. But success can still remain elusive. In cricket, England was one such team that came close to lifting a coveted World trophy on four occasions, but failed to cross the finishing line every time. Eventually, in the ICC World T20 2010, Kevin Pietersen engineered England to a memorable triumph with a compendium of breathtaking knocks.

However, when England lost their first game via Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method to West Indies, it seemed like another tournament full of doom and gloom for them. It was a game in which the England setup put up a monstrous score on the board, only for D/L method to come into play to slightly favour the home side. It has to be said though, in their next game against Ireland, England were in a spot of bother, and the game was abandoned due to rain. It meant that England went through to the Super Eights on the basis of a better net run-rate when compared to Ireland.

Once they reached the Super Eights, they went through the cut-and-thrust of the rest of the tournament by defeating one team after another. In the semi-final, they achieved a facile win over Sri Lanka. In the final to be played at Kensington Oval at Barbados, they were up against their traditional rivals, Australia. A team that had just pulled off a coup de theatre act against Pakistan to beat them in a humdinger of a contest. Michael Hussey, the lynchpin of Australian batting line-up with his eclectic mix of short-arm pulls and lofted strokes had stunned Pakistan into submission.

David Hussey top-scored for Australia with 59 runs © Getty Images
David Hussey top-scored for Australia with 59 runs © Getty Images

In the all-important final, with a bit of moisture underneath the surface, there was an inkling that England may plump for James Anderson ahead of Ryan Sidebottom. But England stuck to their tried and tested formula and went for the left-arm swing bowler, Sidebottom. England captain Paul Collingwood won the toss and elected to bowl.

Actually, during the early overs of the match, the England setup married skill with perseverance to ensnare a few wickets. Shane Watson, the dangerous all-rounder lost the plat by slashing a short and wide delivery from Sidebottom to wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter. The wicketkeeper couldn’t hold onto it, but luckily, Graeme Swann took the rebound, while fielding in the slips. Maybe, Watson was hit by a bout of jangling nerves of playing in the final. But the simple fact was that the wicket lifted the spirits of England unit.

Soon, Australia were three down, as they lost the ‘Pocket Dynamo’, David Warner and Brad Haddin. Warner was out to a smart piece of work from Michael Lumb, who ran him out with an under-arm flick from covers. Warner was left short of the ground despite running like a jack-rabbit between the wickets. Haddin was unlucky, as the catch taken by Kieswetter seemed to have come off his thigh.

Michael Clarke, the captain and David Hussey seemed to be stitching a fine partnership. But England captain Collingwood plucked a catch out of thin air at short mid-wicket to send Clarke on a long walk back to the pavilion. Despite some fine striking by the younger Hussey and Cameron White, Australia limped their way to a score of 147 for 6 on the board in their 20 overs.

With Pietersen playing like a true messiah by combining mystical brilliance and a singular vision during most part of the tournament, it seemed like England had a great chance to create history. However, they didn’t start well, as a meaty flick shot on the on-side from Lumb was caught by David Hussey. It was now left to Kieswetter and Pietersen to take England home with their thunderous volley of strokes.

Kevin Pietersen (left) and Craig Kieswetter shared a 111-run partnership for the second wicket at almost 9.8 runs an over © Getty Images
Kevin Pietersen (left) and Craig Kieswetter shared a 111-run partnership for the second wicket at almost 9.8 runs an over © Getty Images

It was Kieswetter, who opened up his shoulders by playing some wondrous shots against the likes of Dirk Nannes and Shaun Tait. The lofted stroke off Tait through the off-side for a moment left you speechless, as one ran out of superlative synonyms to describe it. Pietersen himself was looking in ominous touch when he thwacked an off-cutter from Mitchell Johnson through the covers that raced to the boundary boards.

As run flowed like a gigantic river from the willowy maestro, Pietersen, he went one step further to clout into Tait by smashing him for a six over long-off. In fact, he had opened the face just a touch to play a sumptuous shot. To play that kind of felicitous stroke requires celestial talent, and the batsman needs to be in top form to pick the length quickly.

Yet, it turned into a bit of nerve tingling contest when Pietersen (47) was caught in the deep by Warner off Steven Smith’s bowling. Kieswetter and Pietersen shared a 111-run partnership for the second wicket at almost 9.8 runs an over. Kieswetter (63) then tried to make room, but backed away too much, and his off-stump went somersaulting in the air as Johnson fired in a yorker. A few hearts must have pumped and jiggered against the rib-cages in the English camp. But Collingwood and Eoin Morgan played with a calm head on their shoulders to take England to a historic win.

The ICC World T20 2010 title remains England's only world title to date © Getty Images
The ICC World T20 2010 title remains England’s only world title to date © Getty Images

There was unfettered celebration in the English camp, as Collingwood lifted the ICC World T20 2010 Trophy. Kieswetter was the Man of the Match. Pietersen was duly adjudged as the Man of the Series for his splendid performances. The champagne must have surely flowed liberally all night on every English player.  In short, the victory rekindled the flames of passion back into English cricket.

Brief scores:

Australia 147 for 6 in 20 overs (David Hussey 59, Cameron White 30; Ryan Sidebottom 2 for 26) lost to England 148 for 3 in 17 overs (Craig Kieswetter 63, Kevin Pietersen 47) by 7 wickets.

Man of the Match: Craig Kieswetter.

Man of the Series: Kevin Pietersen.

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)