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June 18, 2009
Report : Afridi on song as Pakistan enter final
News : Afridi's brilliance worth all the heartbreaks
News : Defeated Smith plays down 'chokers' tag
Analysis : Hurt South Africa fall short again
Series/Tournaments: ICC World Twenty20
First ball of the day
When Shahid Afridi walked to the crease at No. 3, the noise that greeted him was deafening and he gave the crowd what they wanted. It wasn't strictly the first ball he faced, but it was the first one he could reach after being greeted by a wide. A good length delivery from Wayne Parnell was drilled on the up over mid-on, bouncing a couple of times before crossing the ropes, as Afridi didn't bother with playing himself in. It left the crowd baying for more and Afridi didn't disappoint. It was to be his day.
Kiss of the day
Afridi is also a player capable of rubbing the opposition up the wrong way. He is a confident character and isn't afraid of have the odd cheeky moment. After pulling Jacques Kallis for the second of two boundaries in three balls, Afridi blew the bowler a little kiss. Kallis was far from impressed and in his next over cranked up the pace. It may have been a kiss from Afridi, but there was certainly no love lost.
Trip of the day
This was easily South Africa's worst fielding display of the tournament. The tone was set early when Graeme Smith dived over the ball at mid-off to let through a boundary, but an even more embarrassing moment belonged to Albie Morkel. Younis Khan had run the ball off the outside edge against Roelof van der Merwe and just as Morkel set off from short third man he ended up flat on the floor. Somehow he had managed to trip - he pointed to the ground, but it looked a bit like falling over fresh air - and by the time he scrambled to his feet a team-mate had retrieved the ball. van der Merwe didn't have any sympathy with Morkel as he barked his annoyance.
Drop of the day
South Africa's dodgy fielding was unexpected, less so when Pakistan fumbled. When Smith top-edged a pull on 8 it looped high towards mid-off. It wasn't an easy chance, but Umar Gul made it look very difficult. He circled around underneath it, then failed to even get a hand on the ball. To make matters worse he then landed awkwardly and hurt his head, although there may have been a sense of embarrassment. Fortunately, though, for Pakistan it didn't cost too much when Mohammad Aamer showed how to take a steepler.
Wicket of the day
Everything Afridi touched turned to gold. With the fourth ball of his first over he ripped a leg-break past Jacques Kallis' outside edge, then when he had Herschelle Gibbs on strike two balls later he produced a beautifully disguised top-spinner. Gibbs, having seen his team-mate beaten, was expecting the legspinner and could only watch as the ball scooted past the inside edge and knocked back the off stump. In the 1999 World Cup semi-final against Australia, Gibbs was bowled by a stunning ball from Shane Warne. Again he had fallen to the magic of a legspinner and the nightmare was returning.
Catch of the day
It won't stand out as one of the catches of the tournament, but Shoaib Malik's cool take at long-on to remove Kallis was a vital moment. The chase was on Kallis' shoulders - he had accumulated and never exploded - and had just launched a massive six over long-off against Fawad Alam. He tried a repeat dose off Saeed Ajmal and sent the ball miles into the air. Malik followed it all the way, steadied himself and clutched it securely. When it mattered, Pakistan held their catches. When it mattered Pakistan turned on the style.
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