Thank you Joginder Sharma: The man who bowled the iconic final over in Johannesburg
It was a bright day in Johannesburg in 2007 where two cricketing juggernauts kept on going at each other’s jugular relentlessly until that final over of the contest awaited us all. Misbah ul Haq was all set to launch himself upon an Indian attack that had to claim a solitary scalp to come out on top.
Leaving the world stunned, MS Dhoni, who was captaining the team for the first time in a tournament, handed the final over to Joginder Sharma. Till then, the medium pacer had had a pretty modest outing in the final and given such a crunch spell to bowl, the pressure was vividly palpable on his face.
The first ball was a mile wide on the off-side and it also gave somewhat of an idea to Misbah about where the following ball would be. The next ball arrived in the same line but Misbah couldn’t get a connection to that as Dhoni pouched it behind the stumps. The second legal ball of the over saw the Pakistani middle-order batter go big and clear the fence emphatically.
With 6 needed from 4 balls, India was under immense pressure as the pendulum had swung Pakistan’s way in the tail-end of the game. Dhoni caught up Sharma for a quick chat.
It was the third ball of the over and Misbah came forth with his idea of scoop after Joginder somewhat resorted to the same line only with a bit of an altered pace and length. The ball caught the toe end of the willow and went a million miles in the air. When the world and the cameras turned around in that one particular direction of short fine leg, assuring everyone of the maiden T20 World Cup title, Sreesanth completed the catch. India were the champions.
Whenever we talk about Joginder Sharma, it is this vivid incident that comes to all our minds in less than a split second for that triumph is still etched in the Indian memories in the brightest of liveries.
The man who was responsible for the memory has chosen to call it a day in cricket. Though his international career was limited, he gifted India with one of the biggest moments of all time.
In his farewell note, Joginder Sharma said, “I am grateful for the opportunities given to me by the BCCI wicket Association Chennai Super Kings and the Haryana government to all my teammates, coaches, mentors and support staff absolute privilege to have played with you all for helping turn my dream into reality.”
He further added, “To all cricket fans that have supported me through the ups and downs of International sport: I will forever cherish the moments I spent with you all. Your support has always been a source of motivation for me.”
He concluded by saying, “Lastly, I would like to thank my family and friends for their conditional love and support throughout my career. They have been my backbone and without them, I would not have been able to achieve what I have today."
Hinting at exploring the business side of cricket, Joginder Sharma added, “I am excited to announce I will be exploring new opportunities in the world of cricket side of it also continue to participate in the sport that I love and challenge myself in a new and different environment I believe that this is the next step in my journey as a cricketer I look forward to this chapter in my life."