On this day in 2005: The first-ever T20I is played

17th February 2005 is a special date in the history of cricket. It was on this day that the sport underwent a drastic change, and the T20I format took birth. Seventeen years ago, New Zealand and Australia played the first-ever Men’s T20I match at Eden Park in Auckland.

On a historic day, Australia won the toss and decided to get their willows out. Even though they lost both their openers Adam Gilchrist and Michael Clarke in quick succession, their skipper Ricky Ponting rose to the occasion. The right-handed batting legend scored a stunning 55-ball 98* and dismantled the New Zealand bowling attack.

Apart from Ponting, the likes of Andrew Symonds, Simon Katich and Michael Hussey played excellent cameos. Australia finished their first innings with a total of 214 runs on the board. As far as the kiwi bowlers were concerned, Kyle Mills was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3 wickets.

Australia register their maiden win

A target of 215 runs was always going to be a tough task. New Zealand got off to a rollicking start. Their openers Stephen Fleming and Brendon McCullum put on a blazing partnership of 49 runs in 5.1 overs. But then, after Fleming departed in the sixth over, the Black Caps never recovered. They lost wickets at regular intervals, and in the end, were bowled out for 170 in their allotted 20 overs. The only Kiwi batsman who took on the Australian bowlers was Scott Styris. In an innings consisting of 5 fours and 3 sixes, the right-hander scored a blazing 66 off just 39 balls to lend some respectability to the kiwi total.

For Australia, the stand-out performer with the ball was Michael Kasprowicz. The right-arm pacer cleaned up the Kiwi batting lineup, scalping the wickets of Fleming, McCullum, Matthew Sinclair and the dangerous Chris Cairns. In his 4 overs, Kasprowicz gave away only 29 runs. Apart from Kasprowicz, Glenn McGrath picked up two wickets.

Ricky Ponting was awarded the ‘Man of the Match’ award for his rampaging knock. And now, 16 years later, the T20 format is thriving across the globe and is a massive hit among the fans of the game.