Shahid Afridi, Pakistan's captain for the one-off Twenty20, believes his team played 'mature cricket' to beat Sri Lanka and end their six-week tour on a winning note. Afridi, leading his country for the first time, got Pakistan to rally around him magnificently in carving out a win which went to prove that Pakistan's victory in the ICC World Twenty20 final against Sri Lanka was no fluke.
As in the Lord's final it was Afridi's all-round brilliance that tilted the scales in favour of Pakistan. He scored a well-paced half-century off 37 balls, took a vital wicket and also affected a run out to grab the Man-of-the-Match award on his debut as captain. "As captain I am really happy to have won. The guys really played mature cricket. What I told them was we are the champions and we should play like a champion team and the guys gave me a good response," said Afridi. "We really struggled in the Test series and we didn't play too well in the ODIs. This is a good victory for us. It will keep the guys morale high in the future."
About his game Afridi said: "I love to play my natural game but the situation was not right, we lost an early wicket but I thought if I stayed long the players will rally around me and I can have the scoreboard running."
Afridi spoke about giving youngsters a chance at the expense of seniors who are not performing to expectation. "If the seniors are not performing we should give them a rest and give opportunities to the youngsters to show their talent. This was an opportunity to give the younger guys and they have lived up to it."
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said that Pakistan outplayed them and that a loss always hurt. "They batted much better than we did and bowled disciplined lines and lengths. At the end of the day you can analyse our game to bits but Pakistan played just better than us.
"It was a chaseable target and we didn't do well to get there. We've got to accept that responsibility and say that it was a match we should have won but we weren't good enough. At 100 for 3 with seven overs to go it was a very gettable total but we fell away and lost too many wickets too quickly. Partnerships are key in any form of the game and we didn't have too many of them either."
Sangakkara said the turning point of the match was the way Afridi batted. "We made early inroads but that little captain's innings of his really took the game away from us. That's the way he bats he comes up the order and enjoys that responsibility in Twenty20 cricket. We were ready for that but he just batted us out of the game."