Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets to win the World Twenty20 title in convincing fashion at Lord’s on Sunday.
Sri Lanka were restricted to 138 for six wickets in their 20 overs, with Pakistan cruising to victory with eight balls to spare. Man of the match Shahid Afridi followed up an excellent spell of bowling with an unbeaten 54 to steer Pakistan home. He shared an unbroken stand of 76 with Shoaib Malik (24 not out) to spark wild scenes of celebration at the home of cricket. Captain Younus Khan said he hoped their victory would inspire Pakistan in difficult times. “This is a gift from us to our nation. A nation like us, I think it’s the right time,” he said. “It’s fantastic. We were the underdogs and nobody picked us.” Pakistan had started the second edition of the World Twenty20, having lost in the final of the inaugural tournament to arch-rivals India, with an emphatic defeat to hosts England, but improved as it progressed. Sri Lanka, who had the man of the tournament in Tillekeratne Dilshan, went into the final as narrow favorites, but their much-vaunted battling lineup misfired to leave Pakistan with a comfortable target. Dilshan was sent back with the fifth ball of the match by teenage fast bowler Mohammad Aamir as he miscued a pull shot. Jehan Mubarak went in the next over as he skied a leading edge off Abdul Razzaq, who shared the new ball with Aamir. Sanath Jayasuriya looked to mount a recovery as he hit a six and a four off the first two balls of the fourth over, but Razzaq bowled him with his fifth delivery.
West Indies end England’s bid
South Africa surge to semifinals
Holders India are sent crashing
Sri Lanka storm into semis
Sri Lanka crush West Indies to reach final
Afridi inspires Pakistan semifinal triumph
When Mahela Jayawardene was caught at slip by Misbah-ul-Haq off Razzaq in the sixth over it left Sri Lanka on 34 for four wickets and they had crept to just 54 after 10 overs. After Chamara Silva went to Umar Gul, it needed a superb undefeated 64 from captain Kumar Sangakkara with fine support from Angelo Matthews (35 not out) to give Sri Lanka respectability. Razzaq ended with three wickets for 20 with Afridi taking the wicket of Isuru Udana in conceding just 20 runs in his four overs. Pakistani openers Kamran Akmal and Shahzaib Hasan gave them the ideal start with a stand of 48 in seven overs before Jayasuriya removed Akmal for 37. Jayasuriya then caught Shahzaib off Muttiah Muralitharan for 19, but Afridi and Shoaib then took control. Afridi launched Muralitharan for a six and a fouir in the 14th over to bring the asking rate down to seven per over as nerves were settled and he picked up a leg bye to complete victory in the 19th over. Sangkarra was proud of the fight shown by his men in defending a small total. “I’m very happy with the way the guys performed right throughout the tournament,” he said. “I’m especially proud about the attitude and the fight they showed and the fact they went out, competed, enjoyed their cricket. “I think we’re going to build a really good team going forward from here.”
The match came just three months after Sri Lanka’s team bus was attacked by terrorists in Lahore on its way to the Gaddafi Stadium for the second Test against Pakistan. It led to Pakistan being banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) from hosting Test and one-day internationals.