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June 21, 2009

Twenty20 World Cup 2009

The final most unpredictable act

Kamran Abbasi



Lord's was a flag-waving sea of green and Dil Dil Pakistan rang out once more to celebrate Pakistan's victory in the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup. A Pakistani bus with people hanging off every door, window, and cramming the roof blared its horns outside the home of cricket. What a moment for Pakistan cricket fans and the residents of St John's Wood, NW8.

Pakistan cricket and unpredictability have become bedfellows over the years. At the start of this tournament there was a sense that the bedfellows were falling out of love. Pakistan had become predictable no-hopers. An underwhelming show in the warm-ups was followed by a cold performance against England.

Fans of Pakistan cricket may be pleased to know that unpredictability is back with a vengeance. Not only have Pakistan gone from unconvincing to unbeatable, they also won the final with the cool of habitual winners.

When everybody expected Sri Lankan to rocket away in the first six overs, Pakistan ripped the heart out of their batting. A blow that Kumar Sangakarra recovered from in masterful fashion. Sri Lanka had set themselves 155 plus when they won the toss. After the first six overs, they settled for as many as they could get, which ultimately was not far short of their original target.

It was enough to make Pakistan supporters anxious. The response by Younis Khan's team did little to settle nerves. For the best part of 16 overs it was hard to decipher whether the Pakistan innings was an exercise in immaculate timing or a stumbling chase of a manageable total.

When Shahid Afridi, the man of the match and Pakistan's man of the series, launched Udana for six over midwicket the verdict was a beautifully paced chase. The crowd bayed Afridi's name each time he faced a ball, and their champion--as if making up for years of disappointment--responded by winning the World Cup for Pakistan.

Sri Lanka were heroic today as they have been throughout the tournament. They are cricketers of unusual intelligence and dignity. Their battle to defend a low total was brave and skillful. The two best bowling sides in the tournament went toe to toe, and it was the batsmen of Pakistan who held firm.

Younis Khan followed in the footsteps of his hero Imran Khan and lifted a World Cup for Pakistan. Each intervening year has made this victory sweeter. Younis also followed his hero in two other ways. First, he managed to pull together a disjointed Pakistan team into a world beating unit. Second, he announced his retirement--but only from Twenty20 cricket.

He may as well. How can you beat the drama of this moment? The past years of desperation in Pakistan; isolation in international cricket. No cricket ground you can call home. A nomadic life with sporadic international cricket.

At the end Younis Khan dedicated the victory to Bob Woolmer, his mentor, and to the long-suffering people of his homeland. Whoever scripted this is a genius.

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

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Posted by faran on (October 7, 2009, 14:06 GMT)

pakistan very bad luck in icc campion trophy better luck next time pakistan weld perform in champion umpair very bad decision hai jazba junoon to himmat na har geo to aisay jeet kay geo pakistan

Posted by faryal on (October 7, 2009, 13:58 GMT)

pakistan loss the champions trophy with fixed matches younus khan drop the very important catch

Posted by shahrukh on (October 4, 2009, 16:09 GMT)

pakistan lose the champion trophy semi final good luck pakistan team better perfomence in next tournament

Posted by Ali Majid on (June 28, 2009, 22:39 GMT)

Apologies for posting so late.

congrats to all Pakistanis all over the world.

I was lucky enough to have been at the ground to see our team lift the world cup and I can safely say......there will be nothing like it. Truly one of the greatest days...Insha Allah this can be the start of something brilliant for our nation as a whole.

It was a joy to see Lord's being turned into a sea of green on the day....it was great to see what this victory meant for the millions of Pakistanis all over the world.

Thanks to the cricket team.

A special thanks to all the thousands and thousands of Pakistani supporters in England who truly made this tournament special.

It has been a long time coming.....but the wait has been worth it.

Looking to the future...ICC, BCCI, Lalit Modi and everyone else....BRING IT ON!!!!

Pakistani Zindabad

Ali

Posted by Amir Khan on (June 28, 2009, 0:52 GMT)

Victory beyond belief !!!

Posted by mohammad ali khan on (June 27, 2009, 10:53 GMT)

WO RUKA NAHEN KARTAY, WO SUNA NAHEN KARTAY, JIN KO KUCH KARNE KI LAGAN HO, SUNA HAY HUM DEHSHAT GARD HAIN, SUNA HAY HUM KUCH KAR NAHEN SAKTAY, SUNI SUNAI BATON PE HUM KAN DHARA NAHEN KARTAY, JIN KO KUCH KARNE KI LAGAN HO, WO LOGON KI PARWAH KIA NAI KARTAY, PATA HE HUM KO HUME KIA KARNA HA, PATA HAI HUM HUM KO HUME KIS TARA LARNA HAI. PATA HA WO HUME SAMJH NAHEN SAKTAY, CHALO MAIN AAJ EK MISAAL DETA HUN, PAKISTANI TEAM KA EHWAL DETA HUN, KIS TARA HUME D GRADE KIA GIA, AAJ WOHI CHAMPION BAN K UBHAR GIA. INDIA KA EK PLAYER BHI ABHI TAK GHAR NAE GIA, YAD HE NA YURAJ KA BHANGRA PAKISTAN KI HAAR PE, INDIA MATCH BHI HARA YURAJ K MISS FIELD K CHAR PE. EK ZAT HE ALLAH JIS PE HUM EEMAN RAKHTAY HAIN, HUM APNE MULK PAKISTAN SE BHT PYAR KARTE HAIN,HUM YEH KEHTAY HUWE K ISI KI PARWAH NAHI KARTAY, JI KO KUCH KARNE KI LAGAN HO, WO LOGON KI PARWAH NAHEN KARTAY.

Posted by Muhammad Rashid on (June 26, 2009, 13:55 GMT)

Dear Kamran Abbasi,

I live in Ottawa, Canada and follow cricket and yr columns regularly.

For some time I have been thinking to propose a 'symbolic' name for our team. As you know we have kiwis, protease, etc.

For my beloved team I am thinking a name of "The Greens"

Or green tigers, or tigers. Since you can write and make this name popular, I am sending you this request through cricinfo blog

Posted by Milan on (June 26, 2009, 12:07 GMT)

so, Pakistan are the world champions. Congratulations to the players who made it possible. They are the real heroes. Heroes in the sense that they made the country proud, laugh, enjoy.Everybody knows situation is not going well in Pakistan but atleast the people can cheer for next 9 months as world champions. To get all the nation invloved in a certain thing is not easy at all but they did. Mohammad Ameer is the real find for Pakistan as he reminds me of the Great Wasim Bhai. Afridi shows cricket is not just power game by his two matchwining sensible innings. Gul is the best T20 bowler. There are many things going right for Pakistan now. Hope they keep in the momentum and crash Sri Lanka their home cause its been a while Pakistan has beaten a good team away from home. All the best Pakistan

Posted by Maza786 on (June 26, 2009, 11:26 GMT)

The atmosphere was electrifying. The crowd was largely populated by energetic Pakistani supporters, here with a determined desire of getting across the line and repeating that magical day in 1992. “ Afridi Afridi” they chanted away and oh boy he didn’t fail to live up to the expectations as Pakistan clinched glory to the pleasure of the entire nation. This is a cause of celebration and acknowledgement. The reaction back home has been fulfilled with happiness. Certainly this is a moment one shall cherish for a long time to come.

Posted by N Khan on (June 25, 2009, 19:35 GMT)

Fantastic achie vement! Congratulation to Pakistan! World Champions after 17 years! Its was truly a lollywood script where the hero gets beaten at the start and ends up winning and a happy ending indeed!!!

Afridi was a one-man army in the true sense, bossing the semi-final and final. There just was no way to stop him. He is truly a cut above world class when he is in this form!

Although I agree that pakistan has only 9 months to savor this win. They should now aim to win the next Twenty20 in 2010 and then the WC 2011. Why Not? The Twenty20 2010 is on for sure as they are the specialists with by far the best win:loss record. The World Cup may be 2 years away, but leaving Pakistan out of the IPL and cancelling more tours will stir that cornered tiger again!

So World Beware! ROOARR!

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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 editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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