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4 Months to Go: Lookback at ICC WT20 2009, Afridi brings glory for Pakistan in England

It was the Shahid Afridi show through and through as Pakistan lifted the trophy at Lord’s

4 Months to Go: Lookback at ICC WT20 2009, Afridi brings glory for Pakistan in England - Cricket News
Shahid Afridi celebrates.
The ICC World Twenty20 has a relatively short history compared to its fifty-over counterpart. In its brief span, however, it has provided fans with some magical memories that cricket gives us ever so often, and Pakistan’s victorious campaign in 2009 is one of them.
It came at a time when off-field issues plagued Pakistan as a nation, but cricket provided the balm often. When the campaign started, though, it promised to be anything but pleasurable for Pakistan fans, but the climax was perfect.

Pakistan lost the opener to England before coming up with a commanding 82-run win over the Netherlands. That was followed by a loss against Sri Lanka, but Pakistan was back in the running with wins over New Zealand and Ireland. On to the semi-finals then, and Pakistan needed a special performance to get past South Africa – it came from Shahid Afridi, who first hit 51 from 34 balls and then picked up two wickets from his four overs for a measly 16 runs.

Afridi had carried Pakistan into the final, and it would be Afridi who would carry the team to the title as well. 

Batting first in the final, Sri Lanka struggled from the very beginning as Abdul Razzaq picked up three wickets in an incisive opening spell to reduce it for 32 for 4. All the while, Kumar Sangakkara, calm as ever, kept things going at one end, but struggled for support as wickets kept falling and runs came at a trickle – Afridi was Pakistan’s most economical bowler, his four overs going for just 20 runs and yielding the wicket of Isuru Udana.

Sangakkara finally found some support with the arrival of Angelo Mathews, and the two put on an unbroken 68-run stand for the seventh wicket that boosted Sri Lanka’s total to 138 for 6. Sangakkara ended unbeaten on a 52-ball 64, Mathews contributing with a 24-ball 32.

Early wickets were key for Sri Lanka, but Pakistan didn’t let that happen. Kamran Akmal did the early hitting to keep the scorecard ticking over at a healthy clip. Along with Shahzaib Hasan, he had put on 48 for the opening wicket before he was stumped attempting a biggie. Hasan was dismissed two overs later, and Sri Lanka had a look in.

It was then that Afridi took charge. It wasn’t a typical ‘Boom Boom’ innings. This was more measured – by Afridi and T20 standards – but, if at any point the asking rate appeared to dip, he would launch it right back with a big hit. He scored a fine 40-ball 54, putting on an unbroken 76-run stand with Shoaib Malik, who added a 22-ball 24.
The winning run came off a leg bye, but it didn’t matter. Afridi stood there, arms and legs stretched out wide and a huge grin pasted across his face. He then collapsed in a mid-pitch embrace with Malik, as the rest of their green-clad teammates rushed out to join them. And just like that, cricket had a new magic moment.

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