Typically unpredictable!

Typically unpredictable!

Looking back

Typically unpredictable!

Few other teams offer as much thrill as Pakistan in responding to a crisis situation. The 2009 World T20 held in England offered another example.

They entered the second edition of the event in the face of a complete ostrascization by other cricketing nations after the terror attack on Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore. But Pakistan, never for once, considered themselves as sardines among sharks, but drew energy from the setback to emerge a stronger outfit, and two Pathans were in the forefront of their golden run -- skipper Younis Khan and all-rounder Shahid Afridi.

Those two remarkably different individuals provided fuel to Pakistan’s charge in the tournament in typical fashion -- Younis was the immovable rock with a touch of grace and Afridi, all fire and passion without his usual carelessness.

Defending champions India, who had scored a last-over win over Pakistan at Johannesburg two years earlier, crashed out of the event after three straight defeats to the West Indies, England, and South Africa in the Super Eights, but Pakistan were determined not to repeat the horror.

Few might have favoured Pakistan once they were restricted to 149/4 in the semis against South Africa at Trent Bridge, a total built largely around Afridi’s fifty. The wily leg-spinner returned to take two quick wickets -- Herschelle Gibbs and AB de Villiers -- and, as usual, the Proteas choked -- falling short by seven runs.

Sri Lanka, the form side of the tournament, were their opponents in the final, and climax was already written on everybody’s mind. But Pakistan were in no mood to read or respect scripts.

A spirited bowling effort saw them restrict the Lankans to 138, and then chased down the target in 18.4 overs to lift the title at Lord’s. On that June 21, Afridi, who made an unbeaten fifty, proved mavericks could be consistent match-winners and Pakistan reasserted that they are the masters of the art of rising from the ashes.

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