Steyn v Pietersen, and a Hussey special

Our reporters look back on their favourite World Twenty20 matches

Andrew McGlashan

September 17, 2012

Comments: 12 | Text size: A | A

England v South Africa, 18th match, World Twenty20 2010

Kevin Pietersen's 33-ball 53 was the mainstay of England's innings, England v South Africa, World T20, Group E, Bridgetown, May 8, 2010
When a batsman takes apart Dale Steyn, however briefly, you know you're watching something special © Getty Images

The warm-up: England-South Africa contests always come with an edge. The reasons why are well documented and the matches rarely disappoint. This was a game with huge significance: a win for either team would virtually assure a semi-final place. Neither side had started the tournament smoothly, with England edging through their group after a rained-off match against Ireland. South Africa, meanwhile, had lost to India and beaten Afghanistan, but the Associate nation had restricted them to 139 for 7. However, an efficient victory against New Zealand at the beginning of the second stage suggested their game was coming together. England, too, had won convincingly against Pakistan. Who would crack first?

The match itself: It did not take long for the game to come to life. Johan Botha removed Michael Lumb in the first over but the second-wicket pair of Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen launched into South Africa's bowling in a stand worth 94 in ten overs. Pietersen was at his imperious best, winning his head-to-head with Dale Steyn in thrilling style - taking 23 off the eight balls he faced from the fast bowler. Although wickets started to fall, England had a deep batting order and there were useful contributions from Eoin Morgan and Tim Bresnan as they reached a testing 168 for 7.

The match swung hugely in England's favour when South Africa struggled for early momentum with the bat. Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis had added 19 in four overs when Stuart Broad removed Kallis. England were operating finely-tuned tactics in the field and this was a day when they all worked perfectly. Ryan Sidebottom, who had been preferred at the last minute to James Anderson because of the value of a left-arm quick, and Tim Bresnan both conceded less than six-an-over while the spinners, Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy, combined to take five wickets. The pair took wickets in four consecutive overs as South Africa's top order subsided.

Highlight: Kevin Pietersen v Dale Steyn. International cricket at its best. When Twenty20 began there was a suspicion that it would not allow time for duels to develop like in the longer formats. This, however, though a brief contest, was as gripping as you could wish for. Pietersen was off the mark with a crunching straight drive but it was later, when Steyn was brought back for 11th over, that he played the shot of match by dispatching a slower ball onto the roof of the stand and out of ground. This was followed, two balls later, by Pietersen's 'flamingo' flick through midwicket as he reached fifty from 30 balls. Stunning.

The aftermatch: Hours after picking up the Man of the Match award, Pietersen was on a plane back to London for the birth of his first child. "It's my first child, so it's a hell of an exciting time for me," he said. "I'll be dashing across the Atlantic, and hopefully dashing back."

Meanwhile, the 'C' word was soon following South Africa around again, when they lost against Pakistan by 11 runs to go out of the tournament. England, though, had the force with them and did not look like losing as they secured their first global silverware. Pietersen, when he returned, flayed Sri Lanka in the semi-final and Australia in the final to be named Man of the Tournament.


Australia v Pakistan, semi-final, World Twenty20 2010

Michael Hussey celebrates after the heist, Australia v Pakistan, 2nd semi-final, ICC World Twenty20, St Lucia, May 14, 2010
Michael Hussey resurrected Australia from the dead © Getty Images

The warm-up: The two teams could not have moved into the semi-finals in more contrasting styles: Australia were unbeaten - including an opening win against Pakistan - spearheaded by their strong pace attack and muscular batting. It had been the first time Australia had enjoyed consistent success in Twenty20 and there was a feeling that they were finally taking the format seriously. Pakistan, meanwhile, lurched into the knockouts, much like they did in 2009, squeaking in despite losing two of their Super Eight matches. Really, though, anything other than that from them would have been a surprise.

The match itself: Was this the ultimate Twenty20 match? Nearly 400 runs, a penultimate-ball result, a late dramatic swing in momentum. Gros Islet is not a big ground and it was filled with 22 sixes. Pakistan had led the charge, the Akmal's - Kamran and Umar - cracking half-centuries as Australia's much-vaunted attack was given its first real test. Then David Warner fell second ball of the chase and wickets slipped steadily against a huge asking rate. But Michael Hussey never knows when to give in and launched an amazing assault in the closing overs. When Steve Smith fell Australia needed 48 off 17 balls - Hussey got 37 himself, ending on a phenomenal 60 off 24 balls and carrying Australia across the line.

Highlight: The hitting from Hussey was breathtaking. It was the sustained quality of the striking that stood out, under pressure with a place in a final at stake. Saeed Ajmal had been entrusted with final overs during the tournament but, at the crucial time, could not spear the ball under Hussey's bat and offered hittable length. Still, if any of his shots had gone straight up in the air that would have been it for Australia but he backed himself each time. In a format where matches can quickly fade from the memory, this is one that left a lasting mark.

The aftermatch: Amazing game, nightmare to write up. Especially when your laptop picked the night before to blow up and there was a flight to catch to Barbados an hour after the game was due to finish. Hasty writing followed on a colleague's machine in the departure lounge. Hussey could barely grasp what he had achieved during the press conference while Waqar Younis, the Pakistan coach, just wore a blank expression. After winning a game like that there was a feeling Australia were unstoppable, but a couple of days later they had no answer to England - the other form team of the tournament - during the final in Barbados.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Saqib777 on (September 18, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

Ajmal is great player upcoming world cup will show this

Posted by   on (September 18, 2012, 11:57 GMT)

Both players are awesome...and have this ability to turn the match in favor of there teams. among these 2 innings...hussey's inning was historic and magical as he took back the Final's cake from pak's mouth...amazing player really.

Posted by applethief on (September 18, 2012, 11:36 GMT)

Clarke was right to describe Hussey as a freak - that was a freakish innings that showed what Mr Cricket is all about. Pakistan and Australia seem to be developing a trend of exciting T30 matches, like the semi final in 2010, and the 2nd T20 super over in the recent series. Here's hoping they meet again in Sri Lanka for another thriller! Oh, and @jimbond You forgot Graeme Swann from that list of full-sleeve spin bowlers.

Posted by Hamzaad on (September 18, 2012, 8:16 GMT)

Hussey Urdu, means Laughter and the headline next day was " Hussay snatched the Hussey from the Nation" ......One in a life time innings !!! That's y each time we get Hussey out we think half of the match already won :P

Posted by jimbond on (September 18, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

The much maligned Murali used to bowl in half sleeves, where as the others - Harbajan, Ajmal, Ojha (and many other modern day spinners) bowl with full sleeves. Once Bedi had raised this issue, but one wonders about the relevance of full sleeves in the hot climate of the subcontinent.

Posted by Qdzy on (September 18, 2012, 6:02 GMT)

Dear Cricket Fans, I am looking for the England Replica jersey that they wore during the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean in 2010. Where can those be bought online ?

Posted by virat.kohli on (September 18, 2012, 6:00 GMT)

100_rabh-true that..:D.......................................

Posted by on (September 18, 2012, 5:37 GMT)

@100_rabh! Ajmals's degree of Bent Arm increased? Either you must be kidding or you must have been living in another world. Ajmal's arm has been tested in 2011-12 and has been cleared of all issues. On video analysis of bowling in a match by University of Western Australia, it has been reported that his arm bents only 8 degree. This is Well Within limits of 15 degree by ICC and considered very normal. Don't forget that even bowler like Brett Lee use to bent arm at 13 degree. University of Western Australia also reported that instead of benting, Ajmal's arm is twisted on joints which creates the illusion to the naked eye of a bent arm.

Posted by satish619chandar on (September 18, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

Mike Hussey is the classiest of the six hitters. The way he lines up and makes the ball to travel the full distance is a art and his innings was just a treat to watch. White too was awesome in that game by not allowing the req rr to go above Hussey's reach. Reg. KP, ECB should watch the highlights of those games i suppose :-)

Posted by Faran on (September 18, 2012, 3:23 GMT)

dnt know why u guys are jealous of him??? simply he can do what others cant manage. he had been cleared by ICC so no point talking about his arm. simply applaud him. he is a legend.

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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