Afridi lifts Pakistan to World Cup triumph
Sunday 21 June 2009
Shahid Afridi struck an exuberant unbeaten 54 to take Pakistan to an eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the Twenty20 World Cup final at Lord's on Sunday.
Afridi, the man at the heart of Pakistan's revival with bat and ball after they lost their opening game to England, stood and saluted the thousands of elated Pakistani supporters after hitting two sixes and two fours.
He was named man-of-the-match after his team had completed an easy victory with eight balls to spare against the previously unbeaten Sri Lankans.
It was the second global one-day title for Pakistan after Imran Khan's side rallied in similar fashion to win the 1992 50- over World Cup. Pakistan lost the inaugural Twenty20 final in 2007 to India.
The match was effectively won in the six powerplay overs of the Sri Lanka innings with the fielding restrictions in place.
Abdul Razzaq claimed a wicket in each of his first three overs, removing Jehan Mubarak for a duck, Sanath Jayasuriya for 17 and Mahela Jaywardene for one after 17-year-old Mohammad Amir had dismissed the tournament's top scorer Tillakaratne Dilshan for nought.
Razzaq had been recalled to the side after two years in the rebel Indian Cricket League as an injury replacement for Yasir Arafat.
Sri Lanka looked down and out after struggling to 78 for six with fives overs remaining.
Crucially, though, captain Kumar Sangakkara was still at the crease and his partnership with the increasingly impressive Angelo Mathews transformed the innings.
The pair scored 59 runs off the last five overs with Sangakkara unbeaten on 64 from 52 balls and Mathews on 35 from 24.
Sangakkara, looking to continue that momentum, switched his bowlers around continually but Pakistan never looked in trouble and eased to their target on a sun-baked evening.
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