Pakistan's Shahid Afridi was the hero
Pakistan are the winners of the ICC T20 World Cup 2009. In an intense final against Sri Lanka they played with vigour and steered to a eight wicket victory. The man of the match, Shahid Afridi, helped them on their way with some magnificent play.
The last time Pakistan had won a title of this magnitude was in 1992, when they won the World Cup under the leadership of Imran Khan. So, this win was a most welcomed at a time when Pakistan, as a country, is trying to over come its troubles.
Sri Lanka was the favoured team to win the final because they were undefeated. But on the day Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was their favoured batsman, and also the tournament’s top run scorer, was unable to keep up to his impeccable past performances. Pakistan’s Mohammad Aamir stepped up the pressure to make sure Sri Lanka did not get the anticipated win.
DESIblitz is accredited by the ICC as a credible media on-line publication, and we were proud to be there to see the finale of the Twenty 20 between the two major South Asian teams. The match took place at Lord’s Cricket Ground which is a traditional home of cricket in London. The ground was jam packed with a sea of supporters from both sides providing a lively atmosphere. Many waiving huge green and white flags in huge support of Pakistan.
The game had great moments of cricket. Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi was the hero. He smashed his second consecutive half-century, while former captain Shoaib Malik made 24 not out during a match-winning partnership of 76 for the undefeated third wicket.
Youniss Khan captain of Pakistan praised Afridi, he said,
“Shahid was awesome today and all credit to him. I told him to stay at the wicket and I will get some runs, that we can finish the game. He’s a great cricketer.”
It was Sri Lanka’s first defeat of the tournament, but skipper Kumar Sangakkara insisted his team will recover and come back a better side. He said, “I’m proud of the way we competed. We enjoy our cricket and I believe we can go forward from here.” He then added, “We’ll take this and come back stronger in next year’s tournament. We have the best bowling unit in the world.”
Half way through the match, boxing champion, Amir Khan made a guest appearance onto the pitch and talked about how he felt the game was going. Also he talked about his up coming fight with the Ukrainian boxer Andreas Kotelnik. He was received with cheers and applause and, as he walked back off the pitch, he was mobbed by both Sri Lankan and Pakistani supporters for photographs and autographs.
This victory has been dedicated to Bob Woolmer who was the former Pakistan coach and died during the World Cup in the West Indies in 2007, by the Pakistan captain Younis Khan . He said “This final must go to Bob Woolmer,” and then followed by saying “This is my last Twenty20 game,” at the conclusion of his press conference. “I’m old now for this kind of cricket.” This means he will still continue to play Test and ODI cricket and is not a statement of complete retirement.
Cricket is a major support in Pakistan and recently it has been held back by politics and terrorism in the country. The win for Pakistan hopefully will bring change to the Pakistani game, encouraging teams to visit the nation.
Supporters in Pakistan danced in the streets late into the night after following the match played in London, watching on big screens set up in parks and stadiums across the country. As Pakistan scored the winning run with Shahid Afridi at the crease, people danced with joy, lit firecrackers and celebrated by distributing sweets.
Here are some exclusive DESIblitz photos from this amazing day and final.