Pakistan claim World Twenty20 title with eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka
Pakistan won their first major title in 17 years when they stunned Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the World Twenty20 final. A glance in a day in Pakistan and the life of the people of Pakistan.
Shahid Afridi again starred with both bat and ball to give Pakistan an eight wicket victory in the final of the Twenty20 World Cup. Afridi’s unbeaten knock of 54 runs off 40 balls backed up his miserly spell of one for 20 in four overs and earned him the man of the match award.
Sri Lanka hit 138/6 from their 20 overs, recovering from 2/2 and 70/6; Pakistan reached their target with eight balls to spare.
Sri Lanka won a good toss on a slowing strip but they were unable to rely on their key batsman, Tillakaratne Dilshan, the tournament’s top runscorer, who faced a fearsome over from left-arm quick Mohammad Aamir first up.
Abdul Razzaq claimed three wickets as Pakistan restricted Sri Lanka to 138-6, then coasted home easily with eight deliveries to spare. Shahid Afridi hit an unbeaten 54 off 40 balls and former captain Shoaib Malik made 24 not out during a match-winning partnership of 76 for the undefeated third wicket. Pakistan, runners-up to India in the inaugural edition two years ago, ended Sri Lanka's unbeaten run in the tournament with style.
Pakistan last won an official multi-nation tournament in 1992 when Imran Khan's team lifted the World Cup by beating England in the final at the Melbourne cricket ground in Australia. The win by Younus Khan's team gave Pakistanis back home reason to cheer as the cricket-mad nation has been deprived of international tours due to security concerns in the volatile nation. Afridi paid tribute to skipper Younus. "Younus gave me great confidence," said Afridi. "I told him that I wanted to bat at number three in the order and he said OK, if you're confident just go and play. Don't worry about anything."
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said: "I'm proud of the way we competed. I believe we can go forward from here," he said. "We'll take this and come back stronger in next year's tournament. We have the best bowling unit in the world."
Pakistani openers Kamran Akmal and Shahzaib Hasan ensured there were no early scares as they put on 48 for the first wicket in seven overs. Sanath Jayasuriya broke through with his first delivery in the next over when he beat Akmal in the air with his left-arm spin and had him stumped for 37 off 28 balls.
Jayasuriya then took a catch to get rid of Shahzaib off Muttiah Muralitharan for 19, but Afridi and Malik took Pakistan home amid loud celebrations from their fans in the stands. Sri Lanka were dealt quick blows after Sangakkara won the toss and elected to take first strike on a slow wicket.
The Lankans slumped to 2-2 in the first nine balls and that became 34-4 before Sangakkara himself led the rescue act with a defiant unbeaten 64 from 52 balls. Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews put on 68 runs for the unbroken seventh wicket as Sri Lanka plundered 59 runs in the final five overs. Mathews returned unbeaten on 35 off 24 balls. Pakistan got off to a sensational start when teenage fast bowler Mohammad Aamer sent back the in-form Tillakaratne Dilshan with the fifth ball of the match. Dilshan, the tournament's leading scorer with 317 runs, miscued a pull shot off the speedy left-armer and was caught at backward square-leg by Shahzaib Hasan for zero.
The victory is set to revolutionise the game in Pakistan, where cricket has been fraught by terrorism and politics. Pakistani players were not welcomed at this year’s IPL in the wake of the Lahore attack on the Sri Lankan team and it seems possible that this win will save Pakistan from some kind of international cricket exile.
“I think it is a gift for our nation” said Younus Khan afterwards, who was Pakistan’s top run getter in the tournament.
It will also give a phenomenal boost to the level of interest taken in the sport in a country where cricket attendance and television ratings has been on the wane for a number of years. All tours to the country have been put on hold and Pakistan will probably be denied the opportunity to host matches at the next World Cup.
Younus added, “Today I have decided to retire from Twenty20 cricket. I am already 34 and probably too old for this kind of cricket. One Twenty20 game expends a whole month’s worth of energy!”
“We have a number of talented cricketers who can really excel in this version of the game.”
The announcement created a stir at the press conference – Younus looked a proud and cheerful man. He spoke much of his desire for international cricket to return to Pakistan for the “youngsters.”
Younus dedicated the win to Bob Woolmer, the former Pakistan coach who died during the World Cup in the West Indies in 2007.