Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pakistan WinsTwenty20 World Cup 2009; England Lifts Women’s Trophy

A glorious chapter in the history of cricket was scripted as the runners-up of the inaugural edition, Pakistan became the World Twenty20 Champion of the 2009 event at Lord’s, the home of cricket, on June 21, 2009. With Sri Lanka and Pakistan, besieged by violence back home and competing for the trophy, it will only be fitting that the winner came back from the brink to the top of the cricketing world.
The last time around, they had missed the World Cup by a whisker. This time, Pakistan left nothing to chance as they packed a punch to thump Sri Lanka and emerge as the World Twenty20 champions. The meagre target of 139 was never a hassle as the Greens rode on Shahid Afridi’s half-century to canter home by eight wickets.
Afridi Proves Mettle
Man-of-the-Match Shahid Afridi made an unbeaten 54 as Pakistan made 139-2 to overhaul Sri Lanka's total. Kamran Akmal added 37 as he put on 48 for the first wicket with Shahzaib Hasan. Sri Lanka's failure to take early wickets proved crucial as Afridi and Shoaib Malik (24) clinched victory with eight balls to spare.Earlier, Sri Lanka, led by captain Kumar Sangakkara had recovered to reach 138-6 after Abdul Razzaq had ripped through its top order to take 3-20.Sangakkara anchored the innings, top-scoring with an unbeaten 64 as a succession of batting partners came and went until Angelo Mathews (35 not out) arrived at the crease and helped steer the pre-match favorite to a defendable, but ultimately inadequate total. Pakistan made a sluggish start to the run chase and nearly lost Hasan in the fourth over when Mathews was inches away from taking a spectacular diving catch.It was 39-0 after the powerplay and Akmal accelerated the innings in the next over, hitting Mathews for six over square leg. Sri Lanka had to wait until the eighth over to take its first wicket when Sangakkara stumped Akmal off Sanath Jayasuriya's first ball. Hasan was then caught by Jayasuriya off Muttiah Muralitharan at the start of the tenth, leaving Pakistan on 63-2 at the halfway point of the innings.
Sri Lanka were never in the game as Pakistan tightened the screw right from the start to restrict them to a modest total. The champions got off to a flyer too, courtesy Akmal, who swatted Ajanta Mendis for a flat six over mid-wicket in his first over, the sixth of the innings. One more six, off Angelo Mathews followed and the game began to slip out of Sri Lanka’s hands.

Golden Moment for Pakistan’s Cricket History
Undoubtedly it was only fitting that a team that had undergone innumerous trials and tribulations, had won the World championship. The World Twenty20 has taught us anything it is that there is no such thing as firm favourites. The pre-competition bookmakers’ choice, India departed in the Super Eights; the critics’ nominee, South Africa exited in the semifinals.
If Pakistan has the passion and the unpredictability in the name of an advanced weapons system, Lankan style and intent pretty much define its excellence in secret warfare. If Pakistan is an unguided missile, Lanka is the button with powers to mould the trajectory; if Pakistan is openly brittle, Lanka has done well to camouflage its Achilles heel. If Pakistan was here to win this one to give life to a nation at war with itself, Lanka has just emerged from a 25-year-old strife and is under explicit instructions to bring only good things home.So, the occasion was momentous, though an India-Pakistan clash at this level would have paled even this big one in comparison. Pakistan has just shown how it can asphyxiate the mightiest team in the competition. Lanka has done the same only to make the obvious more clear - they were here for the Cup and at the end of the day Pakistan returned to their island nation with the trophy.
Sri Lanka’s performance in the tournament was excellent this is why it was supposed to be the contenders for the title. They were unscathed at every stage, having disposed of Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies (twice) as well as Pakistan en route to the final. And they have won their matches quite conclusively.
Sri Lanka’s strength was in its first four batsmen—Player of the TournamentTilakaratne Dilshan, the most impressive of all in the tourney, who scored 317 runs; Sanath Jayasuriya, who will soon be 40, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. They have collectively held firm; yet Pakistan’s chance would centre round removing this quartet cheaply.
Good Team Work
Younus Khan employed his most incisive quicker bowler, Umar Gul, who was the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 13 wickets, with the older ball. In other words, the ones entrusted with the new ball lack the same experience or penetration. To contain the cream of the Sri Lankan batting, Pakistan ideally need to captured six wickets in the 13 over. The return of Abdul Razzaq has lent not just the much-needed balance to the team but also provided the skipper with relief and belief of finally being viable for victory. Razzaq took three crucial wickets, including the dangerous Jayasuriya.Afridi and Saeed Ajmal have undoubtedly troubled opposition. The Sri Lankans, accustomed to spin, could not play them better; at the same time, the pressure of having to go for shots resulted in mistakes.

Road to Final
Sri Lanka

vs Aus (won by 6 wkts);vs WI (won by 15 runs);vs Pak (won by 19 runs); vs Ireland (won by 9 runs);vs NZ (won by 48 runs);vs WI (won by 57 runs).
vs England (lost by 48runs); vs Netherlands (won by 82 runs); vs Sri Lanka (lost by 19 runs); vs New Zealand (won by 6 wkts); vs Ireland (won by 39 runs); vs SA (won by 7 runs).

England Lifts Women’s World Twenty20 Trophy

England women scripted history by winning a World Cup double after their comprehensive six-wicket victory over New Zealand in the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup final on June 21, 2009. England, which had won the ODI World Cup in Australia in March, produced a clinical bowling and batting performance against the Kiwis at the historic Lord's to hold world titles of the two shorter formats of the game.
The home team first skittled New Zealand out for a paltry 85, thanks mainly to right-arm fast bowler Katherine Hunt's three for six from four overs, and then chased down the target in 17 overs, reaching 86 for four.
England's in-form batter Claire Taylor top-scored with a 32-ball unbeaten 39 while wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor chipped in with 23.
For New Zealand, Sophie Devine, Sian Ruck, Kate Pulford and Nicola Browne took a wicket.

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