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Highs and Lows

Starring Pakistan

Afridi, Younis and Aamer figure prominently in our round up of the highlights of the last five days

Fans root for Shahid Afridi, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, ICC World Twenty20 final, Lord's, June 21, 2009
The fans say it all © Getty Images

Man of the week
Shahid Afridi: two fifties, three wickets and much cheerleading on the field in the semis and the final means there could be no one else.

Headline of the week
"Be Afridi, be very Afridi!": The Sun, as always, hit just the right notes.

Sri Lankan invention of the week
You'd think the Dilscoop and Ajantha Mendis' carrom ball were enough innovation for a while, but those busy Sri Lankans never rest. In the final over of the innings against New Zealand, Mahela Jayawardene shaped to play a reverse-sweep off Jacob Oram, but instead of turning the bat around to use the face of the blade, he flicked the ball away with the back of the bat to third man for four. Patents are forthcoming, but Cricinfo will modestly remind all that we beat them to it, predicting the "Jaysweep" as early as last week. Sri Lanka meanwhile are soon to reinvent the wheel.

Kiss of the week
From Shahid Afridi to Jacques Kallis.

Greatest contribution to the 80s revival this week
Isuru Udana's haircut: a superbly puffy, bouffant growing out at the back into a genuine mini-mullet. The lack of sideburns - which are just so 70s - means he beats the likes of Ishant Sharma, whose mullet is so post-modern.

Ploy of the week
What possible benefits Younis Khan saw in giving Fawad Alam the 15th over in South Africa's semi-final chase nobody knows, not even probably the bowler himself. Alam, a batting allrounder who hadn't turned his arm over all tournament, came on when South Africa still needed 67. Others more established still had overs left. Alam went for 15 and duly reignited the South African hunt, if only briefly.

Ploy of the week II
Bouncers, many bouncers, at Tillakaratne Dilshan: Mohammad Aamer's short ball barrage in the very first over of the final caught Sri Lanka off guard and sent back the tournament's leading scorer for a duck from five, fraught deliveries.

Revelation of the week
That Shahid Afridi can still bat.

Non-fun-having captain of the week
Barely a smile through the last two games and an on-field roasting of young Aamer in the last over of the semis (though a wicket fell during it), Younis Khan, who had said the whole thing was just a bit of fun, had suddenly become as serious as war.

Lone rangers of the week
Chris Gayle and Dilshan, who between them scored 159 of the 259 runs in the second semi-final between Sri Lanka and West Indies. Gayle was the bigger loner so to speak, scoring 63 of his side's dismal 101, where the next highest score was nine. Had only Dilshan batted for Sri Lanka, he might have won it; he ended unbeaten on 96.

Most bizarre over of the week
None of Angelo Mathews' six deliveries in the opening over of West Indies' chase in the semi-final would have hit the stumps, and yet, through a combination of inside edges, thigh pads and nervous West Indians, he somehow managed to pick up three wickets, all bowled. There the semi-final was won.

Isuru Udana lets one rip, Lord's, May 30, 2009
Please note, not a strand is out of place © Getty Images

Advertiser's dream of the week
Afridi's proud, erect, chest-out, one-hand-raised-in-triumph pose, the wind blowing through the bounciest hair in international cricket: a thousand products will thus be adorned.

Note of the week
To organisers: there is no point in allowing rain to reduce a Twenty20 game, as happened in England's crucial Super Eights match against West Indies. England had done well to set an imposing target of 162 when rain reduced West Indies' chase to just nine overs and less than half the target. And despite their best efforts, even West Indies weren't going to cock that up.

Best thing about the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup
That it will be held in a country where it might attract the attention it merits.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

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