Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pakistan won the historical ICC T20 final : Afridi The Best Player of the world

Pakistan won the ICC World Twenty20 in an exciting finish at a noisy Lord's when Sri Lanka's total of 138-6 was overhauled with eight balls remaining.

Shahid Afridi, man of the match in the semi-final, was again the hero, hitting 54 not out from 40 balls to steer Pakistan to an eight-wicket win.

Having chosen to bat, Sri Lanka lost star batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan in the first over and were soon 2-2.

Kumar Sangakkara's 64 gave them hope but Pakistan paced their chase well.

Sri Lanka had progressed through the tournament smoothly, winning all their matches and relying on the brilliant batting of Dilshan and some superb bowling led by Ajantha Mendis.

But on the grand stage, both their leading players fluffed their lines, and Pakistan ruthlessly seized the initiative.

Pakistan had lost two of their first three matches and needed a win against the Netherlands just to make the last eight. But they turned a corner when thrashing New Zealand - from which point they never looked back.

Pakistan celebrate
Pakistan began superbly with the ball at Lord's, and kept it going

They began the final in ideal fashion, with a wicket-maiden from 17-year-old sensation Mohammad Aamer.

It wasn't just any wicket-maiden - a rare event indeed in this format. The fact that the tournament's leading run-scorer Dilshan had been dismissed made Aamer's over extra special.

Dlishan craves deliveries on a good length so he can sweep and drive, but keeping the ball short and straight, Aamer bowled four dot-balls then enticed a top-edged pull to short fine-leg.

The wicket seemed to scare Sri Lanka's other batsmen, who had not enjoyed particularly good tournaments, and it was the fast-medium bowler Abdul Razzaq who reaped the rewards.

Jehan Mubarak, promoted up the order, skied a catch into the off-side, Sanath Jayasuriya crashed a six and two fours but then dragged one on, before Mahela Jayawardene edged an attempted late-cut to slip.

Sangakkara and Chamara Silva had a major repair operation on their hands, coming together with the score 32-4 in 5.3 overs. They put on 35 from 36 balls which at least stopped the rot, but the arrival of Umar Gul dented Sri Lanka's renaissance.

Silva mistimed a pull to midwicket and Isuru Udana swished and missed the last two balls of a fine over. It got even better for Pakistan when Afridi bowled Udana to leave the score 70-6 from 13 overs.

Pakistan fans had much to cheer
It was a great day for Pakistan fans

Finally, some positive running between the wickets from Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews saw nine runs come off a Saeed Ajmal over and then Gul, so brilliant in Pakistan's last three victories, suddenly lost his length and was hammered for 14 in an over.

Mathews played his part too, clubbing a couple of boundaries on the on-side before tucking into the final over, bowled by Aamer.

The decision to give the teenager the final over looked a questionable one, and with Mathews flaying a boundary through the slips and muscling a six through the on-side 17 more precious runs came Sri Lanka's way.

Pakistan's chase was given impetus by Kamran Akmal, who hit big leg-side sixes off both Mendis and Mathews to take his team to a very respectable 48-0 from seven overs.

Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka's sixth bowler, then immediately had Akmal stumped, but the other opener Shahzaib Hasan, who had been so quiet, drilled consecutive boundaries off Mendis, the mystery spinner who Pakistan were playing so well.


When he fell to Muttiah Muralitharan, the required rate hit eight an over, but Pakistan still had eight wickets in hand and just 64 more runs were required.

Afridi, who had had time to play himself in, now hit Muralitharan into the Tavern Stand and then launched him over wide mid-off for four.

That made Pakistan hot favourites, but just 16 runs came off the next three overs, so 26 were still wanted from 18 balls.

But Afridi, with Shoaib Malik playing a quiet role in support, now smashed Udana for six over midwicket and pulled him past fine-leg for four more, leaving an easy seven runs needed from the last two overs.

Innings of the Match

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