Top 5 matches of the 2024 ICC T20 World Cup

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This was the first time the USA hosted an ICC Cricket tournament

The month-long 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, hosted in the USA and West Indies, concluded with immense joy for the Indian team and their dedicated supporters. After an 11-year wait, the Men in Blue finally lifted an ICC trophy, spreading a wave of happiness.

While only one team lifted the trophy, the tournament was made even more memorable by the presence of the other 19 teams, who caused several upsets throughout the event. Besides the upsets, there were several nail-biting last-over finishes that kept viewers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look and relive the top 5 matches from the recently concluded T20 World Cup.

#5 India vs Pakistan

The high-stakes match between arch-rivals India and Pakistan held at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York, lived up to its perennial hype. Following a 30-minute delay in the toss due to a wet outfield, Pakistani captain Babar Azam chose to bowl first, inviting India to face the deliveries under overcast conditions.

India lost both their openers, Captain Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, within the first powerplay overs. However, partnerships of 39 runs between Axar Patel and Rishabh Pant, and 31 runs between Suryakumar Yadav and Pant, provided some stability to the innings. 

Despite this, India’s batting lineup collapsed rapidly, and Pakistani bowlers bundled them out for 119 runs with 6 balls remaining. Pakistan’s Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf claimed 3 wickets each, while Mohammad Amir’s crucial dismissals of two left-handed batsmen added to India’s woes.

Chasing a modest target of 120 runs, the Men in Green faltered significantly as the Indian bowling attack restricted them to 113 for 7, securing an unexpected and thrilling six-run victory for India. Jasprit Bumrah’s masterful performance, with bowling figures of 4-0-14-3, earned him the Player of the Match award and helped India clinch two crucial points.

#4 South Africa vs Nepal

In a gripping showdown at Arnos Vale Ground in Kingstown, St Vincent, South Africa faced off against Nepal in a low-scoring yet highly exciting match. Nepal captain Rohit Paudel won the toss and opted to bowl first against the formidable Proteas lineup. 

Nepal’s bowlers shone in the first innings, restricting South Africa, led by Aiden Markram, to just 115 runs in their allotted 20 overs. 

In the second innings, Nepal appeared on course for a historic upset as they closed in on victory. However, an eventful 18th over bowled by Tabraiz Shamsi, where he took two crucial wickets, swung the momentum in favour of South Africa. The match went down to the wire with Nepal needing 2 runs off the final delivery to secure victory. 

Unfortunately for Nepal, a run-out on the last ball dashed their hopes, and South Africa narrowly clinched victory by just 1 run, eliminating Nepal from the tournament and leaving their fans heartbroken.

#3 South Africa vs India

After battling through the group stage and Super 8 matches, undefeated teams South Africa and India faced off in the Final of the tournament, each having defeated Afghanistan and England in the Semifinals, respectively. The match held immense significance as it was South Africa’s first-ever ICC Final appearance and India’s bid to end a long trophy drought in ICC tournaments.

In the Final, held at Barbados, India won the toss and chose to bat, sticking with an unchanged playing XI. Despite the advantage of winning the toss, India stumbled early, losing Rohit and Rishabh Pant in the second over, followed by Suryakumar Yadav in the fifth over.

Rohit and Virat bid farewell to T20Is after clinching the trophy

The responsibility fell heavily on Kohli, who had struggled for form throughout the tournament and the former Indian skipper then anchored a crucial 72-run partnership with Axar Patel, guiding India from a precarious 34-3 to a more competitive 106-4. Axar was unfortunately run out after contributing 47 runs while Kohli departed after a resilient innings of 76 runs. Shivam Dube’s late hitting propelled India to set a target of 177.

The Proteas also endured a shaky start, losing two wickets within the first six overs. However, they dominated the middle overs, putting India on the defensive. In the latter stages, Indian pacers turned the tide, with Suryakumar’s sensational catch at long-off to dismiss David Miller proving pivotal.

With 16 runs needed in the final over, Hardik Pandya rose to the occasion, showcasing why he is highly regarded by the team management. His nerveless bowling ensured India clinched their second T20 World Cup title after a 17-year wait, sealing a memorable victory.

#2 Afghanistan vs Australia

One of the biggest upsets in the history of the T20 World Cup occurred when Australia lost to Afghanistan by 21 runs in the Super 8 match held at Kingstown.

After Australia’s Mitchell Marsh opted to bowl first, Afghanistan delivered a stunning 118-run opening partnership. However, the former champions staged a strong comeback with the ball, conceding only 30 runs after Afghanistan’s opening stand was broken. 

Chasing a target of 149 runs, Rashid Khan‘s side took three Australian wickets inside the powerplay overs. Glenn Maxwell fought back with an innings of 59 runs but the rest of the batters struggled as Afghanistan scripted history by defeating the mighty Australians for the first time and eventually qualifying for the semi-final stage as well at the expense of the Kangaroos.

#1 United States of America vs Pakistan

Pakistan suffered their first-ever T20I loss to a non-full member side

The most exciting match of the tournament between co-hosts United States of America and Pakistan in Dallas was nothing short of dramatic, as the former stunned the Azam-led side in a thrilling super over.

Pakistan posted a total of 159 for the loss of 7 wickets in their 20 overs, with Babar Azam and Shadab Khan scoring the bulk of the runs, while Shaheen Shah Afridi’s 23 added some respectability to the score.

Despite an early setback with the dismissal of opener Steven Taylor, the home team rallied through captain Monank Patel and Andries Gous, who built a crucial 68-run partnership that posed a significant challenge to the visitors.

The match intensified towards the end when Pakistan’s Haris Rauf had 15 runs to defend in the final over. However, he conceded 14 runs, resulting in a tie and pushing the game into a Super Over.

Even in the Super Over, the drama continued as Pakistan’s Amir leaked 18 runs, giving the USA a significant advantage. In response, Pakistan sent Iftikhar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, and Shadab Khan to face the 6 deliveries, but the trio failed to secure the 2 points for their team.