Lord’s, June 21: Who would have written this script that would unfold on 21st day of June in 2009 at London’s Lord’s cricket ground? Pakistan who were rated as the team capable of hardly beating any gully team in Lahore or Peshawar or Rawalpindi were crowned the Badshah of T20 cricket after they chased down the 139-run target set by Sri Lanka.
Courtesy a sparkling innings of 54 runs from Shahid Afridi, Pakistan successfully chased down the target with 8 wickets in hand and set off wild celebrations away in the streets and gullies of Pakistan.
With 26 required of last 18 balls, Sangakkara brought on Isuru Udana, who gave away 19 runs as Afridi went berserk smashing the medium pacer for six and fours in all directions.
In the end a 74-run stand between Afridi and Shoaib Malik denied Sri Lanka a touch on the World Cup. But Afridi’s innings was preceded by a much useful opening wicket stand between Kamran Akmal and Shahzaib Hasan who set the foundation of a memorable win with a 48-run stand.
No body expected Pakistan to let alone reach the semis leave alone the finals and the thought of winning the cup. But only, the situation told a different tale in Lord’s. Batting first, after Sangakkara won the toss, Pakistan managed to restrict Lankan lions for 138/6 in twenty overs.
A win puts behind a disastrous couple of years for Pakistan cricket and would certainly be a tonic for cricket mad nation who had nothing to cheer about in recent past.
Electing to bat first, Sri Lanka were rocked by Mohammad Aamer and Abdul Razzaq who took wickets each to dismiss Tilakaratne Dilshan and Jehan Mubarak for ducks.
Tournaments top scorer Dilshan failed to scoop one out and handed a simple catch at short fine leg before he could trouble the scorers. Pakistan’s find Mohammed Aamer consecutive short pitch deliveries did the trick as ‘Dilscoop’ landed in S Hasan’s safe hands.
Last year runners up did not stop there as Lanka middle-order failed to come up with the right answers and kept offering wickets to Pakistani pacers, who used the short pitched stuffs to great effect. Abdur Razzaq who had a dream return to international cricket after his ICL stint, was the destroyer in chief as he got rid of Sanath Jayasuriya (17), Jehan Mubarak (0) and Mahela Jayawardene (14) to leave Lanka reeling at 4/32.
Chamara Silva (14) did provide some support to skipper Kumara Sangakkara and moved the score to 67 when Umar Gul struck. The dismissal saw Sangakkara frustratingly stranded at one stage but Lankan skipper kept his cool and brought up his fifty under intense pressure.
But, how long can you keep ‘Boom – Boom’ Afridi out of the crease. The troubled all-rounder turned trump-card got through Isuru Udana’s bat and pad as Lanka lost its sixth wicket for 70.
In the end Sri Lanka did manage to get through the last five overs quite well Sangakkara got good support from newcomer Angel Mathews who scored 35 crucial runs and gave his team something to defend. In the end a gutsy 64-run knock from skipper Sangakkara did give his team some chance to defend but in the end, as it proved, it was not enough.
Pakistan (Playing XI): Kamran Akmal(w), Shahzaib Hasan, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan(c), Misbah Ul-Haq, Abdul Razzaq, Fawad Alam, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Aamer
Sri Lanka (Playing XI): Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara(w/c), Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Silva, Jehan Mubarak, Angelo Mathews, Isuru Udana, Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis