The first edition of the World T20, 14 years ago, was a special one for many reasons. One of them was Brett Lee's hat-trick against Bangladesh. Lee made history in Cape Town as he became the first player to take a hat-trick in T20Is.
Bangladesh had started off the tournament on a positive note with their batsmen finding the groove early. In the opener, they chased down 166 against West Indies at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. And they did it in a convincing manner as Aftab Ahmed (62 off 49 balls) and Mohammad Ashraful (61 off 27) batted with flair and flamboyance to lead the counterattack after they were reduced to 2/28 in four overs. They chased down the target with six wickets and two overs to spare. The next match wasn't too convincing as they posted 144 - decent enough against a formidable pace attack of South Africa consisting of Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.
In their third match, they were put into bat by Australia. And the Ricky Ponting-led side built the pressure from the start and concentrated on the short-ball tactic. They maintained a tight leash and didn't at any point let Bangladesh gain heavy momentum. Bangladesh didn't lose many wickets and were going at 6.43 runs an over after 16 overs at 103/3. This is when Ponting handed the ball to Lee for the second spell. He had gone wicketless in the first spell with figures of 2-0-19-0.
Bangladesh needed to up the ante. They got five runs off the first two balls of the Lee over. Aftab Ahmed and Shakib Al Hassan were at the crease and had added 26 runs for the fourth wicket. Shakib was on strike for the third ball. Lee steamed in from round the wicket. Shakib made a little room for himself early. Lee saw it and cleverly followed him. He banged in a back of a length ball. It cramped Shakib for room and he ended up edging his cut to the keeper as he looked to cut.
The next man in was Mashrafe Mortaza. He looked to attack straightaway, gave himself a bit of room and walked down the track first ball. Lee, this time, went full and darted in an inswinging yorker on the off stump. It rattled the stumps even before Mortaza could get his bat down.
Lee steamed in for his hat-trick ball. Alok Kapali was on strike. The Aussie pacer went full again, not the yorker length but proper full length, outside the off stump and angling in. It nipped back in a tad. Kapali got across a touch and looked to flick but was beaten by the pace. He got hit on the pads and the umpire lifted the finger on the appeal.
Lee stood on the 22 yards with his arms raised in the air. T20Is had its first hat-trick.
It was a great mix of deliveries - Back of a length, yorker and full.
It took two years for someone to register a hat-trick in T20Is and three in the T20 format. The first ever T20 hat-trick was taken by Dimitri Mascarenhas playing for Hampshire against Sussex in the 2004 Twenty20 Cup at the County Ground in Hove.
Bangladesh managed just 123/8 in their innings. Lee came back to bowl the penultimate over and conceded just five runs. Australia gobbled down the target in 13.5 overs as Matthew Hayden (73 off 48 balls) and Adam Gilchrist (43 off 28) added 104 for the opening stand and then Hayden and Ponting finished it off inside 14 overs as Australia thumped Bangladesh by 9 wickets. Lee was named the Man of the Match for his hat-trick and bowling figures of 4-027-3.
This was the second time Lee had taken a hat-trick in international cricket. Earlier, in 2003 World Cup, he had taken a hat-trick against Kenya in Durban where he scalped the wicket of Kennedy Otieno, Brijal Patel and David Obuya. There are 17 more hat-tricks scalped in T20Is so far. Lasith Maling is the only bowler to take two hat-tricks in T20Is. The latest hat-trick was taken by Elijah Otieno of Kenya on 17 September, 2021 against Uganda at Entebbe Cricket Oval in Uganda.