Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Lord's
'Did you watch us win?'
A beautiful day, great atmosphere, raucous crowds and a match largely worthy of a final. A fan watches Pakistan's players and fans take over Lord's
Why I picked this match
I wanted to watch tradition versus the future at the Mecca of cricket. I was grudgingly sure Pakistan would win, as Sri Lanka were due to lose after six straight wins.
An outstanding big-game innings of 54 in 40 balls and a tight spell meant that Shahid Afridi was rightly the Man of the Match. However the unsung impact was by Abdul Razzaq, whose three key early wickets of Sanath Jaysuriya, Mahela Jayawardene and Jehan Mubarak left Sri Lanka reeling at 32 for4 and sealed the game.
One thing I'd have changed about the match
I believe Kumar Sangakarra made a tactical error in not giving Lasith Malinga the 18th over with 26 still needed. A wicket or a tight over at that stage would have changed the game, whereas Isuru Udana gave away 19 runs and the game was all over.
Face-off I relished
Afridi won the battle with Muttiah Muralitharan when he smashed a six and a four off the first two balls to pillage 14 runs off the 14th over and change the trajectory of the game.
Shot of the day
A striking straight drive from Angelo Mathews off Saeed Ajmal rocketed to the boundary. It was as crisp a straight drive as any you'll ever see, but more important coming from a No. 8 under pressure it inspired confidence that Sri Lanka could make a game of it. They scored 29 runs in the two overs after that.
The sea of green meant that it may well have been the Gaddafi Stadium, and not a packed Lord's. Constant chanting of "Pakistan Zindabad", "Jor se bolo Pakistan, dil se bolo Pakistan" and "Boom Boom Afridi" reverberated across the ground. Former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin, his wife Sangeeta Bijlani, and news anchor Rajdeep Sardesai added some star power to my area of the stands.
The PA system was pumping up the volume - the Rolling Stones seemed to be a favourite. This was coupled with "The Heat is On" and "Dil Dil Pakistan". The fireworks were no comparison to the IPL extravaganza, but thankfully the focus was on cricket and not long speeches by Lalit Modi equivalents.
Banner of the day
There were some wishing their dads a happy Father's day. However, banners from Pakistanis on the streets of St John's Wood asked what a billion Indians are asking - "Where are you now, India? Did you watch us win?" There was also a huge protest just outside Lord's, with hundreds of people demanding the ICC ban Sri Lanka "for Tamil genocide", adding a political aspect to the final.
Marks out of 10
8. A beautiful day, great atmosphere, raucous crowds and, for the most part, the match was worthy of a final. However, if Sri Lanka had managed to get even 10-15 runs more it would have made it a real close game and a 10/10, irrespective of the outcome.
Overall The wild celebration on the streets with thousands of Pakistan fans chanting and creating a traffic jam reinforced the importance of this win for a country where the game has been devastated by security concerns. Hence this result was perhaps an apt outcome. Pakistan did after all beat the two best teams in the tournament - South Africa and Sri Lanka - to win the cup. And of course they are the only team to be finalists in the first two Twenty20 world cups.
Gautam Thakar is a passionate cricket lover and a rapid convert to the Twenty20 format - though he loves the traditional form of the game. In recent times he has followed Indian cricket at the Caribbean World Cup, the World Twenty20 in England, and combined work trips with games at the SCG. He works as a general manager for eBay in California. You can read his cricket blog here.
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