It was the biggest stage in the shortest format of the game. The semifinals of the T20 World Cup was on, and Australia were almost down and out against the mercurial Pakistani side. In a chase of 193, the Aussies had slipped to 105/5, and Australia needed 87 off just 7.3 overs with five wickets in hand to cross the line.
Cameron White and Mike Hussey were the last recognized batting pair for the Australia, the kangaroos were staring down the barrel, and an exit at the semi final stage seemed imminent.
But then, Hussey had other plans in mind.
Mike Hussey took the challenge
When you are cornered and in a situation where your back is against the wall, there are two options. Either accept that defeat is imminent, and go down meekly. Or, look at the challenge in the eye, don’t succumb to it, and seek to vanquish it come what may.
Mike Hussey chose the latter, and that proved to be the difference.
White and Hussey kept the scoreboard ticking, and the situation reached a stage where attack was the only option. The equation boiled down to 68 off just 4.3 overs, and Hussey went on the rampage. Shahid Afridi was pulled over deep square leg for a six. Hussey repeated the shot again off the next delivery, and the ball sailed over mid wicket this time.
Hussey was combining brutal power with clever placements and kept the scoreboard ticking, and the Pakistanis were slowly starting to feel the pressure. Even though a couple of wickets fell at the other end, Hussey kept his composure and kept Australia in the hunt.
The equation boiled down to 43 off just 15 balls. Hussey rocked back onto the back foot and deposited the crafty Saeed Ajmal over deep square leg for a six. Off the first ball of the penultimate over, Hussey moved to the off side and used the pace of Mohammad Amir and helped the ball along past deep fine leg. He was single handedly taking his side to the finish line, and victory seemed in sight now.
Off the last ball of the 19th over, Hussey picked the gap between deep mid wicket and square leg with precision to finish the over with a boundary. It was now 18 off the last 6 deliveries. The fans were on the edge of their seats, the players in the dressing room were standing up as tension gripped the proceedings.
Ajmal was entrusted with bowling the last over for the Pakistanis.Off the second ball of the over, the spinner bowled a full toss, and in the belligerent mood that Hussey was in, he smashed him over mid wicket for six. Ajmal tossed the next ball up, Hussey got down on his knees and deposited him over Long On. It was now 5 runs from 3 balls, and Australia was closing in on a miraculous victory.
And as Mike Hussey reached his half century off just 22 balls, Ian Chappell exclaimed in the commentary box “Michael Hussey is playing the innings of his life here.”
A miraculous victory
The next ball, Hussey sliced hard, and the ball beat point and sped into the boundary. The scores were level. Mike Hussey had scripted one of the greatest comebacks for his side in T20 cricket. The left hander deposited the next ball into the crowd again, and Harsha Bhogle cried “Hussey has deposited it into the stands for Australia’s most famous win ever.”
Yes. It was one of the greatest Houdini acts in T20 cricket. Mike Hussey proved to the world that anything was possible if you have the heart and the will to succeed.
And, on the grand stage of the T20 World Cup exactly 10 years back, Hussey played a miraculous knock to save Australia from the jaws of defeat.
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