Thursday, June 18, 2009
Pakistan in ICC World T20 Final 2009
Brilliant all-round performance by Shahid Afridi has taken Pakistan into the ICC World 2020 Finals in England.
Afridi scored an impressive half-century and followed that up by bowling beautifully to claim 2 important SA wickets for just 16 runs.
This came as a huge disappointment to South African team that played well and remained unbeaten in the tournament until the semi-finals with Pakistan.
The powrful South African side were favorites going in to the semi-final and their bowlers bowled well to restrict Pakistan to 149 when, at one stage a total of 170 seemed on the cards. With the exception of Jacques Kallis, though, their batsmen failed to give the chase any sort of direction. They were suffocated by Afridi and the offspinner Saeed Ajmal and their failure to score enough runs during the middle overs left them with too much to do against the pinpoint accuracy of Umar Gul's yorkers.
Afridi, high on confidence after his breezing half century , came into the attack in the seventh over but was immediately driven by Herschelle Gibbs to the cover boundary. That was as bad as his evening got. He bounced back, bowling Herschelle Gibbs with a straight and quick delivery and, an over later, he got AB de Villiers the same way. South Africa were 50 for 3 and struggling.
Pakistan's early dominance was due to Akmal, who was intent on smashing the ball from the start. He cut Dale Steyn twice for four in the first over and lofted him cleanly over long-off in the third. In between, he crashed Wayne Parnell to the midwicket boundary and raced to 23 off 11 balls before top-edging a pull off Steyn to mid-on.
Final Scores: Pakistan 149/4
South Africa 142/5
Now on the finals against Sri Lanka or West Indies Sunday June 21, 2009 at Lords.
This is rare good news for Pakistani cricket fans in particular, and Pakistanis in general, amidst a constant stream of bad news. Hope it helps our national psyche and makes us all feel better as a nation.
If Afridi, Akmal and Gul continue their form, I am confident Pakistanis can beat any team in the final…be it Lankans or Windies.
Cutting Sports Ties: Lose-Lose Proposition in South Asia
Sports Draw Big Money, Mega Stars in India
Match Score Card