Let us go back to a time when India were not firm believers in the Twenty20 format. There were doubts regarding BCCI’s sending a team for the inaugural ICC World T20 in 2007, in South Africa. They did and it is a decision they did not repent.

Till then, all India had played was one T20I. Ahead of the tournament, big guns Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and then captain Rahul Dravid pulled themselves out citing it was a format for the young legs. MS Dhoni was named skipper, and India sent a young and inexperienced side to the tournament.

The main event saw 12 teams divided into four groups. Group A had hosts South Africa, Bangladesh and West Indies, while Australia, then No. 1 Test side and ODI World champions, entered the tournament as favourites and were pitted alongside arch-rivals England and Zimbabwe in Group B.

Group C had Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Kenya, while India were pitted along with Pakistan and Scotland in Group D. The 13-day tournament got off to a kick-start at Johannesburg on September 11 with hosts South Africa taking on West Indies. Gayle smashed the first ever T20I hundred against a formidable bowling attack, but Herschelle Gibbs, with 90 ensured that South Africa chased down a massive 205.

No one knew what to expect from a tournament that was played in a relatively unknown format, but this event acted as a balm to the ordeals that fans faced earlier that year, during ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in West Indies. India and Pakistan, teams that had crashed out in the first round of the World Cup six months earlier, locked horns in the final this time and that helped the TRPs to soar.

India won the thriller by 5 runs and Dhoni’s young men lifted the trophy. Soon afterwards, Dravid stepped down from captaincy with Dhoni taking over the limited-overs mantle. IPL soon came into existence, changing the face of the game forever.

The first edition of the mega event was an eye-opener that not only changed the face of Indian cricket but also the dynamics of the game.

Infographics by Suvajit Mustafi | Designed by Jyoti Desale
Infographics by Suvajit Mustafi | Designed by Jyoti Desale

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sportsmarketer , strategist, entrepreneur,  philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)