The T20 format in cricket was born because of the reducing interest in ODIs and Tests. The organizers noted that there was a constant reduction in the number of spectators for Test matches. Generally, Tests last for five days and happens during the office hours for a majority of the fans.
The same problem existed with ODI cricket. The start time for ODI games was in the morning or in the afternoon. To ensure that the existing fans remain and the sport grows as well, the organizers launched T20 cricket. T20 matches usually happen in night and they last for only three-four hours.
During the match’s 40 overs, the fans get to witness more action, more drama, and even innovation. Many players have added new layers to their game to succeed in T20 cricket. In this article, we will look at the players who adopted to the T20 format very early and won the first Man of the Match award from their country.
First ever man of the match in T20Is
South Africa – Graeme Smith
The South African cricket team has a great record in T20 international cricket. They have a win-loss record of 71-52 in the game’s shortest format. The Proteas played their first T20I match in October 2005. However, the South African cricket team could not win their first two T20I fixtures.
The New Zealand cricket team beat them by five wickets in their first T20I. A few months later, the Australian cricket team crushed them by 95 runs. However, in February 2006, South Africa avenged that loss against the Aussies. They beat the 2003 Cricket World Cup winners by two runs at The Wanderers.
Skipper Graeme Smith led his team from the front with a 58-ball 89. He opened the innings for South Africa and remained unbeaten. Smith smacked 11 fours and a six in his knock, guiding the Proteas to 201/4 in 20 overs. Australia managed 199/7 in the second innings.
Afghanistan – Mohammad Nabi
The Afghanistan cricket team came into the limelight during the 2010 ICC T20 World Cup. It was their first appearance at a top-level ICC tournament. Although the Afghans could not win a match in that competition, they improved their game and became a Test-playing nation by the next decade.
The Afghanistan cricket team played its first T20I match against Ireland at P Sara Oval. It is noteworthy that there was no Man of the Match award in the first T20Is featuring the Afghanistan cricket team. In their third T20I, they battled Ireland in the 2009-10 ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers.
All-rounder Mohammad Nabi shone for the Afghanistan cricket team, scoring 43 runs and taking two wickets. He slammed three fours and two sixes in his knock at the Dubai International Stadium. Currently, Nabi is one of the most sought-after all-rounders in T20 cricket.
Australia – Ricky Ponting
The Australian cricket team played the first ever T20 international match against New Zealand in February 2005. At that time, the two teams did not take this format so seriously. Even a majority of the fans considered this match as an exhibition battle between the Trans-Tasman rivals.
However, Australian captain Ricky Ponting did not like losing any match. He guided Australia to a memorable win in the first T20I match at the Eden Park. Ponting batted at number four for the visitors and missed his maiden T20I century by two runs only.
Ponting came out to bat when the team’s score was 21-2. He aggregated 98 runs off 55 deliveries, hitting eight fours and five sixes to take Australia to a score of 214 in their 20 overs. In reply, the New Zealand cricket team managed 170 runs as they suffered a defeat in the first T20I game.
Bangladesh – Mashrafe Mortaza
While Australia and New Zealand competed in the first ever T20I in 2005, the Bangladesh cricket team made its T20I debut in November 2006. They hosted the Zimbabwe cricket team for a T20I in Khulna. Although none of their batsmen could impress much, Bangladesh won the game by 43 runs.
The visitors won the toss and captain Prosper Utseya invited the Bangladesh cricket team to have a bat first. At one stage, Bangladesh was down to 115/7. However, all-rounder Mashrafe Mortaza showcased his batting skills and aggregated 36 runs off 26 balls to take Bangladesh past 150.
Zimbabwe received a target of 167 runs. Mashrafe Mortaza cleaned up the dangerous Brendan Taylor in the first over itself as Zimbabwe never gained any momentum. Although Abdur Razzak took a three-wicket haul later, Mortaza won the Man of the Match for his all-round brilliance.
England – Kevin Pietersen
The England cricket team was the third nation to win the ICC T20 World Cup. They had played their first T20I match against the Australian cricket team in Southampton. The hosts dominated their Ashes rivals in that contest as they recorded a thumping 100-runs victory.
Although Kevin Pietersen was neither the top-scorer nor he took any wickets, he won the Man of the Match award in that game. Batting first, England scored 179/8 in their 20 overs. Marcus Trescothick provided England a solid start, whereas even Paul Collingwood scored 46 runs.
However, it was Pietersen’s 18-ball 34 that turned the momentum in England’s favor. In the second innings, Darren Gough and Johnathan Lewis combined to take seven Australian wickets. Still, Pietersen took the Man of the Match award home for his fantastic 34 runs at a strike rate of 188.89.
India – Dinesh Karthik
The Indian cricket team played their first T20I match in December 2006 against South Africa. This match was the only one India played before the first ICC T20 World Cup, where they ended as the champions. Also, this was Sachin Tendulkar’s only T20I appearance for the Indian cricket team.
The hosts won the toss and batted first in Johannesburg. Albie Morkel scored a brisk 27, but none of the other batsmen could support him. Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth, Ajit Agarkar, Sachin Tendulkar, and Harbhajan Singh combined forces to reduce South Africa to 126/9 in 20 overs. Only four Proteas batsmen could touch double digits.
Chasing 127 runs, the Indian cricket team did not take many risks. The game went down to the final over, where Dinesh Karthik’s 28-ball 31* proved handy. India won the match in 19.5 overs, with Dinesh Karthik being not out in the middle along with Suresh Raina.
Pakistan – Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi had gained everyone’s attention in ODIs and Tests with his aggressive batting style. Many fans felt that Afridi was born to play in the T20 format. The all-rounder proved them right by capturing the Man of the Match award in the first T20I match of the Pakistan cricket team.
Pakistan battled the England cricket team in Bristol back in August 2006. The home side batted first and scored 144 runs, riding on Marcus Trescothick’s half-century. Abdul Razzaq was the pick of the bowlers for the visitors, with figures of 3/30 in his 4-over spell.
Although Shahid Afridi could not dismiss a single batsman in his four overs, he made up for that with a 10-ball 28. He batted at a strike rate of 280 and struck five fours and a six in his entertaining knock. This inning helped the Men in Green record a comfortable five-wicket win against England.
Sri Lanka – Sanath Jayasuriya
Sanath Jayasuriya was another player who made a name for himself with his attacking playing style. The best thing about Jayasuriya was that he was a fantastic bowler also. There has always been a high demand for all-rounders in the shorter format of the game.
Sanath Jayasuriya’s all-round brilliance helped the Sri Lankan cricket team register a win in their first T20I match against England. Batting first in Southampton, the visitors scored 163 runs in their 20 overs. Jayasuriya was the top-scorer for the islanders with a 30-ball 41.
Marcus Trescothick scored a half-century for the home team and guided them close to the target. However, the finishers could not do their job as Sri Lanka won by two runs. Jayasuriya bowled four overs and returned with figures of 2/32. He dismissed the dangerous Kevin Pietersen and James Dalrymple.
New Zealand – Jeetan Patel
As mentioned before, the New Zealand cricket team featured in the first T20 match of international cricket history in 2005. Unfortunately, New Zealand lost that game despite Scott Styris’ half-century. However, they opened their account in this format with a victory against South Africa in October 2005.
Graeme Smith scored a fifty for the Proteas in Johannesburg, but Jeetan Patel and Nathan Astle derailed the South African players. Both Kiwi players dismissed three batsmen each. Incidentally, both the New Zealand players conceded only 20 runs in their respective spells.
Patel won the Man of the Match award as he dismissed Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs, and Albie Morkel. His three-wicket haul kept South Africa down to 133 in the first innings. The visitors chased down 134 runs in 18 overs, with five wickets in hand.
West Indies – Dwayne Smith
The West Indies cricket team has achieved the most success at the ICC T20 World Cup events. They are the only team to win this tournament two times. They are the defending champions of the ICC T20 World Cup. Very few fans might know that West Indies’ first T20I ended in a tie.
The West Indies cricket team won the subsequent bowl-out of their match against New Zealand at Eden Park. The match was a low-scoring affair as both teams managed only 126 runs in their respective 20 overs. All-rounder Dwayne Smith got run out after scoring eight runs off four balls.
His bowling spell turned the game in West Indies’ favor. Smith bowled 3.2 overs of right-arm medium pace and sent two Kiwi batsmen back to the pavilion. He picked up the wickets of Lou Vincent and Brendon McCullum as West Indies managed to tie the match. Notably, Smith conceded only nine runs at an economy rate of 2.70.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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