Afridi's brilliance and Pak's triumph

World T20 - 2009

Afridi's brilliance and Pak's triumph

Having played the Indian Premier League on the bouncy South African pitches in 2009, defending champions India were considered the favourites to retain the second World T20 title held in England.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men were presumably wiser by the experience of two editions of IPL after the World T20 triumph in 2007 but the fancied men were dumped out of the tournament after failing to register a single win in the second stage of the meet.

Cruelly exposed of their shortcoming against short-pitched deliveries, India lost to and West Indies, England, South Africa to bow out in an ignominious fashion. Rubbing salt into their deep wounds was the alleged infighting in the dressing room. A section of the Indian media went over the top about reported differences of opinion between skipper Dhoni and Virender Sehwag, who went under the knife for a shoulder injury though he was part of the squad.

Though India’s early exit took sheen out of the event to an extent, the sub-continental teams maintained their supremacy in the tournament. Losing finalists in the first edition, Pakistan once again made it to the summit clash on the back of some inspirational cricket from their beleaguered players. The Kumar Sangakkara-led Sri Lanka ensured that the trophy would remain in Asia by setting up title match with Pakistan.

Mercurial all-rounder Shahid Afridi was the architect of Pakistan’s major win since Imran Khan led his team to World Cup glory in 1992. His all-round show (51 & 2/16 in four overs) helped Pakistan sail past the mighty South Africa in the semifinals and the Khyber man ensured the Younis Khan-led side comfortably overhauled the 139-run target set by Sri Lanka with an unbeaten 54.

Brief scores (final): Sri Lanka: 138/6 in 20 overs (Kumar Sangakkara 64 n.o., Angelo Mathews 35 n.o.; Abdul Razzaq 3-20) lt to Pakistan: 139/2 in 18.4 overs (Kamran Akmal 37, Shahid Afridi 54 n.o.).

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