Pakistan lord over Lanka in final

Afridi, Razzaq stand out as Younis men score eight-wicket win to emerge champions

Pakistan lord over Lanka in final

After weeks of tribulations, Pakistan scripted one of the most fascinating comeback tales at the greatest venue of cricket to clinch the World Twenty20 title that eluded them two years ago.

On a day when Pakistan’s will to succeed shone brighter than the English summer sun, Sri Lanka had no choice but to give up their ambitions. Apart from winning the toss, the Islanders could not do anything right and limped to 138 for six which Pakistan hunted down without much ado for an eight-wicket victory at Lord’s with Shahid Afridi masterminding their chase.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Abdul Razzaq reflected the spirit of Pakistan. After joining the Indian Cricket League, the all-rounder had vanished from the international scene, and a comeback seemed impossible. But miracles never have had any shortage in Pakistan cricket as Razzaq joined the team in place of the injured Yaseer Arafat.

Since then, the all-rounder has been an indivisible part of the Pakistan side sharing the new ball with Mohammad Aamer and the English pitches suited his kind of bowling just fine.

Razzaq began his day at office dismissing Jehan Mubarak, who got a surprise promotion to number-three position.

Razzaq soon added Sanath Jayasuriya, who has been struggling for form in this tournament, and in-form Mahela Jayawardene to his list of victims as Sri Lanka slipped into a deep abyss. But it was rookie pace bowler Mohammad Aamer who paved the way for Razzaq by grabbing the big wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Dilshan held the key to Lanka progressing to a formidable total, but Aamer frustrated him with short-pitched balls and the right-hander, top-scorer of the tournament, attempted the scoop even before he got his eye in. All he could manage was a tame edge to Hasan and Pakistan smelt blood.

There is no more dangerous team in world cricket than Pakistan once they scent victory. After reducing Sri Lanka to 70 for six, they did not relax the grip even when Kumar Sangakkara tried to shore up the Lankan innings with a resolute fifty. Sangakkara added precious 68 runs off 44 balls with Angelo Mathews, but the day belonged to Pakistan.

Tricky target

Chasing small targets can be very tricky, especially with the kind of attack the Lankans have at their disposal. Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, one of the highest wicket-takers in the event, and Lasith Malinga could defend even the silliest of the totals, but on the day they could not wade into the castle of Pakistan.

The Pakistan batsmen negated the triple threat effectively, but it was not negative batting as they were also able to milk the three for a good number of runs, something the other teams failed to do in the earlier matches.

Once Kamran Akmal gave them a flying start, Pakistan were always running ahead of the Lankans. The dismissal of Akmal, stumped by Sangakkara off Jayasuriya, did not snap the momentum as Afridi, who earlier bowled a fine spell, controlled his innings and aggression splendidly to guide Pakistan chase with a well-crafted fifty.

Along with Razzaq’s wonder spell, Afridi’s mature innings, once unthinkable from the hot-blooded Pashtoon, and his 76-run alliance for the third wicket with Shoaib Malik took the match once and forever from Sri Lanka.

The Islanders would certainly hold a grudge against fate for making them stumble at the final hurdle, but Pakistan dared to write their own destiny and that made all the difference.

Score board

Dilshan c Shahazib b Aamer 0
Jayasuriya b Razzaq 17
(10b, 2x4, 1x6)
Mubarak c Shahazib b Razzaq 0
Sangakkara (not out) 64
(52b, 7x4)
Jayawardene c Misbah b Razzaq 1
C Silva c Ajmal b Gul 14
(19b, 2x4)
Udana b Afridi 1
Mathews (not out) 35
(24b, 2x4, 1x6)
Extras (LB-3, W-2, NB-1) 6
Total (6 wkts, 20 overs) 138
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Dilshan), 2-2 (Mubarak), 3-26 (Jayasuriya), 4-32 (Jayawardene), 5-67 (Silva), 6-70 (Udana).
Bowling: Aamer 4-1-30-1, Razzaq 3-0-20-3, Afridi 4-0-20-1, Ajmal 4-0-28-0, Malik 1-0-8-0, Gul 4-0-29-1 (w-2, nb-1)
Scoring Pattern: 5 overs: 31/3, 10: 54/4, 15: 79/6, End of Innings: 138/6 in 20 overs.
Runs during Power Play: 1-6: 34/4.

Akmal st S’kkara b Jayasuriya 37
(28b, 2x4, 2x6)
Hasan c J’suriya b Muralitharan 19
(23b, 3x4)
Afridi (not out)  54
(40b, 2x4,2x6)
Malik (not out)  24
(22b, 1x4)
Extras (LB-2, W-2, NB-1) 5
Total (for 2 wkts, 18.4 overs) 139
Fall of wickets: 1-48 (Akmal), 2-63 (Hasan).
Bowling: Mathews 2-0-17-0, Udana 4-0-44-0 (w-2, nb-1), Malinga 3.4-0-14-0, Muralitharan 3-0-20-1, Mendis 4-0-34-0, Jayasuriya 2-0-8-1.
Scoring Pattern: 5 overs: 30/0, 10: 65/2, 15: 103/2, End of Innings: 139/2 in 18.4 overs.
Runs during Power Play: 1-6: 39/0.

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