ICC T20 FINAL – Pakistan vs SriLanka

June 21st, 2009 by Ravi Matah | Posted in Sports   No Comments »
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BULLETS IN LAHORE – DEFEAT AT LORDS

Pakistan won the ICC world Twenty20 tournament in an exciting finish at a packed Lord’s Stadium when Sri Lanka’s total of 138-6 was overhauled by them with eight balls remaining. It was a great day for Pakistan.

Mohammed Aamir’s first over, which was a wicket maiden, gave the required impetus to Pakistan to look forward to the smell of victory.

Batting first, Srri Lanka made a dismal start and at one stage were 70 for 6, but  some positive running between the wickets from Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews saw nine runs come off a Saeed Ajmal over and then Gul was slammed for 14 in an over. Mathews played well too, hitting two boundaries on the on-side  and scored an unbeaten 35 bringing some credibility to the Sri Lankan innings.. Sanath Jayasuriya crashed a six and two fours but then dragged one on his stumps, before Mahela Jayawardene edged an attempted late-cut to slip and was caught.

Sangakkara and Chamara Silva had tried to repair Sri Lanka’s innings, coming together with the score 32-4 in 5.3 overs, they put on 35 from 36 balls which at least stopped the rot, but the arrival of Umar Gul dented Sri Lanka’s recovery process.

The teenager Aamir sent down the final over and then he did not look very confident, with Mathews scoring a boundary through the slips and hitting a six through the on-side and then 17 more valuable runs were scored by Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka could not blame anyone else other than their own dismal batting performance. They could muster only 138 in the allotted 20 overs.

Pakistan’s chase of 139 runs to win the tournament was given the requisite start by Kamran Akmal, who hit sixes off Mendis and Mathews to take his team to a very respectable score of 48-0 in seven overs.

Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka’s sixth bowler, then immediately had Akmal stumped, but the opener Shahzaib Hasan, who had been quiet, hit two consecutive boundaries off Mendis, the brilliant spinner who Pakistan played comfortably well.

When Hasan was out to Muttiah Muralitharan, the required rate was eight an over, but Pakistan still had eight wickets in hand and 64 more runs were needed to clinch the victory.

Afridi, who had had the number of overs to play , now hit Muralitharan into the stand and then hit him again over mid-off for four.

That made Pakistan hot favourites, but then just 16 runs came off the next three overs, and 26 were still required from 18 balls which appeared achievable.

Afridi, alongwith with Shoaib Malik who supported him well  at the other end, now smashed Udana for six over midwicket and pulled him past fine-leg for four more, leaving an easy seven runs needed from the last two overs, which Pakistan scored comfortably.

And that was Game, Set and Match.

It was followed by the prize distribution ceremony which went on in the following order –

Firstly_ Tournament officials and Umpires were given momentoes.

Then Shahid Afridi got the award for Man of the Match for his scintillating 54 runs.

Tilakratne Dilshan was named Man of the Tournament for his alround batting performances.

Losing team players were awarded medals.

Winning team members were awarded the medals.

Thereafter, Pakistan captain Yunus Khan held the trophy aloft with his jubiliant team members and then they took a victory lap of the Stadium and the  Lords went into raptures.

This match was made in the heavens and a befitting tribute to Cricket was paid by the millions who watched it at Lords as also those who saw it’s live telecast all over the globe irrespective of the time zone they live in. Sri Lanka had a match with Pakistan on March 3,2009, at the Gaddafi Stadium, when they were attacked and had to go back home.Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara said in London yesterday that there was no love lost between the players of both the teams and they were all friends. Lahore could have happened to anyone, he added. A magnamus gesture, I must say.

It was a fascinating clash between two titans. They have played each other on numerous occasions and each knew the strength and weaknesses of the other.

But the side which plays better on a day always wins.

Ravi Matah

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