Like any other sporting spectacle, the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 also produced its share of brilliance, moments worth remembering – for players, for organisers and fans. Let`s have a look at 10 things that defined the tournament.
Associate teams: Before the tournament proper – aptly named Super 10 as it involved all the big boys, two-group round-robin format first-round matches were held for the six Associate teams and two Full Member teams – Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. As expected, Bangladesh topped their group and earned the right to compete with the big boys.
But Netherlands surprised everyone when they pipped Zimbabwe and Ireland to represent their group. It served as a perfect platform for the Dutch team to showcase their skills as they beat England, yet again, and almost shocked South Africa in their Super 10 outings.
Dew factor, hail-storm, weather: One factor which seemed to have affected most of the matches in the tournament was that of dew. Teams fielding second had to endure some tough times with wet balls. The menace of wet balls had become so alarming, that the Pakistani team chose to practice with wet balls.
Besides the wet balls, the tournament also witnessed spells of rain. In one such spell, the Kaal-boisakhi (NorWesters), accompanied with hail-storm forced the first semi-final match between Sri Lanka and West Indies to abandon with the Lankans winning it on Duckworth-Lewis method.
Yet another Indo-Pak match: After the enthralling India-Pakistan clash in the recent Asia Cup, the T20 World Cup once again pitted the two arch-rivals. Keeping the tradition alive, India beat Pakistan. Despite Pakistan`s success in the continental competition, their jinx at the World Cup continued. It was their ninth meeting in the World Cups with India winning all of them (5 in ODIs, 4 in T20s).
Gayle`s Gangnam: Some of the best known celebrations have been enacted in the field of sports. And West Indian cricketers have always been the most-loved ones for their celebrations. During their Super 10 win over Australia, a gung-ho Chris Gayle jigged the Gangnam Style, albeit in a more ferocious manner. His celebration almost took some of his own team-mates down, as the euphoric rush to welcome Darren Sammy and Dwayne Bravo tripped a few in the melee.
Hales and Shehzad hundreds: There were only two centuries, those of Alex Hales and Ahmed Shehzad. These knocks were the high-points of somewhat other-wise lacklustre performances from their respective teams. Hales 116 was compiled off 67 balls after England had lost two wickets in the very first over against the eventual champions Sri Lanka.
For Shehzad, it was an innings of abundant joy, as a hapless Bangladesh team failed to measure the skill and craft of Pakistani opener.
Chandimal opted out: It`s hard to imagine a player sacrificing his spot during a World Cup, let alone a captain. However, Sri Lanka`s T20 skipper Dinesh Chandimal showed novelty in sacrificing the captaincy, citing poor form in the latter part of the tournament.
From cricket to football, every player wants to compete at the highest stage. But few have the guts and better sense to opt out for the greater cause of the team. In his absence, Lasith Malinga led the Lankans to their much-awaited World Twenty20 title.
South African misery: South Africans are known as the perennial chokers of the game! This is how the cricketing world have started to write-off the Proteas. And the misery continued in Bangladesh. Their semi-final defeat to India was yet another blot in their poor ICC sanctioned tournaments.
Despite a strong batting display, posting 172, South Africa`s famed bowling unit led by Dale Steyn failed to contain the Indians. South Africa`s last triumph in any ICC tournament was way back in 1998, when they won the inaugural Champions Trophy.
Spin web: The 2014 World Twenty20 will be remembered for the resurgence of spinners. These tweakers proved themselves to be the match-winners for their teams. Tournaments top five wickets takers are all spinners – Imran Tahir (12 wickets), Ahsan Malik (12), Samuel Badree (11), Ravichandran Ashwin (11) and Amit Mishra (10). They exploited the `somewhat` favourable conditions to the hilt.
Kohli factor: India rode into Virat Kohli`s brilliance, making it to the final. The India top-order batsman, who was adjudged Player of the Tournament, performed as champion batsmen have done in the past. His average of 106.33 with a strike-rate of almost 130 was the stuff legends are made of.
His total run tally of 319 from six matches, is once again a testament of the fact of what an incredible player he has become in limited-overs cricket. Besides, he also compiled four fifties, including that of 77 in the final, and returned undefeated in three innings.
Sanga-Mahela farewell: The tournament served as the perfect farewell party for the Sri Lankan duo of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Playing in their final T20 match for Sri Lanka, the veterans contributed with bat as they beat India in the final.
Coming into the decider, both the players have played in four finals together, losing each time. Another defeat would have destroyed their status as two of the leading cricketers of modern times.