India claim inaugural Twenty20 title

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JOHANNESBURG, Sep 24 (Reuters) India claimed the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup after they beat Pakistan by five runs in a thrilling final today.

Recalled all-rounder Irfan Pathan and new-ball bowler Rudra Pratap Singh took three wickets each and Pakistan, who started well, tumbled to 152 all out in reply to India's 157 for five.

Misbah ul-Haq threatened to steal victory from India at the death with four sixes in his 43 but Joginder Sharma had him caught trying to spoon a ball over fine leg with three balls to spare.

Opening batsman Imran Nazir had slammed 33 off 14 balls in a flying start for Pakistan but Robin Uthappa ran him out with a direct hit and Pathan claimed the key wickets of Shoaib Malik (8) and Shahid Afridi (0) in his second over to slow their run chase.

Joginder kept his nerve in the final over with Pakistan needing 12 to win and finished with two for 20, while Pathan took three for 16 and Pratap three for 26.

A good all-round bowling performance by Pakistan, led by Umar Gul, had earlier restricted India to a relatively modest total.

Gul took three for 28 in his four overs as India never managed to break free of tight bowling and fielding.

The tall seamer landed the vital wickets of Yuvraj Singh, caught and bowled for 14 off 19 balls, Mahendra Dhoni, bowled for six, and Gautam Gambhir, caught at short fine-leg for 75.

Opener Gambhir batted through the first 18 overs, however, stroking eight fours and two sixes, and needed just 54 balls for his fluent innings which give India's total respectability.

Rohit Sharma scored 30 not out in 16 balls in the closing overs to take India past 150.

Man-of-the-match Irfan Pathan, delighted to be back in the side and playing with his brother Yusuf after being omitted from the one-day team following India's dismal showing in the 50-over World Cup, said the last two overs were very tense.

''We never thought we will play together in a final -- and against Pakistan -- and we would win it,'' he said, hugging his brother.

''There was lot of pressure in the last two overs, they were very tough. R.P Singh bowled a very good (19th) over.'' Yusuf Pathan added: ''I'm too emotional, I just can't tell you.'' Reuters AB DB2245

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