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June 18, 2009

Twenty20 World Cup 2009

Afridi's kiss takes Pakistan to Lord's

Kamran Abbasi
Shahid Afridi signals his aggressive intent, Pakistan v South Africa, ICC World Twenty20, 1st semi-final, Trent Bridge, June 18, 2009
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"I just blew him a kiss," smiled Shahid Afridi, when asked about his on-field exchange with Jacques Kallis. It was a kiss that sent Pakistan to Lord's, as Afridi won an old-fashioned battle of allrounders.

Afridi decided to spread the love as he killed South Africa's chances of lifting this World Cup.

Pakistan's talisman was the difference. A fact agreed upon by both captains, thousands of spectators at Trent Bridge, and millions of viewers at home. Halfway through this tournament Afridi changed his approach to batting. Encouraged by his captain, he has decided to take a couple of sighters instead of launching immediately into a reckless assault.

Younis Khan's greatest trick has been coaxing the best out of his unpredictable matchwinner, especially as they have clashed at times in the past. In the last three games Afridi has produced a complete all-round game, and the results leave Pakistan standing tall.

This was by no means a perfect performance from Pakistan. Some of the batting was slow, especially in the last five overs. But credit should go to South Africa for excellent death bowling, and the pitch blunted the most extravagant strokeplay.

In the field, Younis introduced Fawad Alam at a perplexing moment, and misjudged the number of overs for Umar Gul. But these gambles paid off for Pakistan's captain, fortune was with him.

Yet Younis has made his own luck. He has encouraged a determined and aggressive attitude, something that caught South Africa off guard. In the past, Pakistan have struggled against South Africa, largely because Pakistan have been mentally beaten before a ball has been bowled. This may be only Twenty20 but Pakistan's attitude made a palpable difference.

Behind his smiles, Younis is determined to win this World Cup for his country and especially for his embattled North West region. He and his team can hold their heads high. They have made hundreds of millions of their fellows very proud. A semi-final berth was a pleasant surprise, a final appearance is beyond expectations.

This is a sweet moment for Pakistan's long-suffering fans, who passionately follow a team that often produces frustration but sometimes conjures magic. Nobody swings more sharply between frustration and magic than Afridi. He epitomises Pakistan cricket.

Today Shahid Afridi was magic. Pakistan fans will hope the spell can last another three days.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by deemis on (June 21, 2009, 12:47 GMT)

An hour left starting T20 final, the two best performed teams are staying Vs.Both teams having their best winning strength though the team will clutch the trophy whoshows the strong nerves on the ground, I hope the thrilling match and awaiting fighting sides. Before the match starts for me the both teams are the winners but no loser.........!!! Best wishes for the players n excitting enjoyment for the fans .....GOOD LUCK !!!

Posted by Ejaz on (June 21, 2009, 9:34 GMT)

It was team confidence which won us semi final. We expect the same in final and if all guys play to there potential they can role the world.

Posted by Owais on (June 20, 2009, 17:30 GMT)

Well played Pakistan. Hats off on the fact that noone was expecting you to reach finals. To me even this is big enough an achievement. I am also pleasantly surprised at so many good remarks from Indians supporting Pakistan. Thanks a lot. Over years, people like me have learned to ignore comments from people like Karan Singh. Good luck Pakistan.

Posted by mohd shafi on (June 20, 2009, 16:43 GMT)

It was Afridi'd day n whenever he played a good knock Pakistan has won the game.I dont understand why Fawad Alam was given the ball in an important match. I request Younis bhai not to repeat the same in the Final.InshaAllah Pakistan wld be the Champions this tym.

Posted by mohd shafi on (June 20, 2009, 16:43 GMT)

It was Afridi'd day n whenever he played a good knock Pakistan has won the game.I dont understand why Fawad Alam was given the ball in an important match. I request Younis bhai not to repeat the same in the Final.InshaAllah Pakistan wld be the Champions this tym.

Posted by mohd shafi on (June 20, 2009, 16:43 GMT)

It was Afridi'd day n whenever he played a good knock Pakistan has won the game.I dont understand why Fawad Alam was given the ball in an important match. I request Younis bhai not to repeat the same in the Final.InshaAllah Pakistan wld be the Champions this tym.

Posted by Irfan on (June 20, 2009, 16:13 GMT)

All friends ... just pray for Pakistan team !!!

Posted by brk on (June 20, 2009, 14:59 GMT)

Well, Well , Well.

Finally there is some josh, some junoon and some kaleja from Pakistan. A big Shaabash from India !

Win or lose on sunday, play with full vigour. No shame in losing to this Sri Lanka team.(if you do). They are as full of of kaleja, junoon and josh.

As an Indian, I am proud to be part of such a neighbourhood. so should all of us.

We have a lot of tragedy among us all. Take this opportunity and celebrate the victory of the human spirit. We are human first and then only indian, pakistani or Sri lankan. Best of luck to both teams.

Posted by Arman Hashmi on (June 20, 2009, 12:01 GMT)

Pakistanis have kept alive the historic tradition of fostering this magnificent sport of Cricket by introducing such exciting promising cricketers at young age-that later on are revered as the greats in the Sport. In the current edition of the T20 World Cup too they have introduced two of the most exciting talents in form of Mohammad Aamir, Shahzaib Hasan and Ahmed Shehzad. Now what Pakistan does not need to do; specially when it's unlikely that international Cricket would return to Pakistan any time soon, is wasting the talent that keeps popping up from no where. All three Amir, Shahzaib and Ahmed must be members of the regular side in order to be groomed. Very few people know that Shahzaib is also a wicket-keeper and I reckon him to be a good ready back-up for Kamran Akmal at least in the ODI's & T20. Like Like Amir, Mohammad Talha is also very promising and both have got the potent weapon of raw pace, I am sure that both would gradually master the art of swing & reverse swing too.

Posted by Shabeer Omer on (June 20, 2009, 11:41 GMT)

it was a fantastic win for Pakistan. T20 is a game for a team who don't have any pressure , that was proved in 2007 by Indians , with out any hope India won the cup . As Younis mentioned after post match session pakistan also playing with out any pressure , they dont have nothing to loss ,they have to gain a lot... as simple as that , I Hope Pakistan will win this cup . Pakistan or Srilanka we the indians can relax that cup dont go out side Asia .. Hahaaa

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

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