x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Fiery Afridi Lord's it up

Shahid Afridi sends a nation into raptures after inspiring Pakistan to a stunning World Twenty20 victory over Sri Lanka at Lord's.

Shahid Afridi, the darling of Pakistan cricket, sent a nation into raptures last night after inspiring Younus Khan's side to a stunning World Twenty20 victory over Sri Lanka at Lord's. The iconic all-rounder has been accused of failing to fulfil his enormous potential throughout his chequered career, but he delivered in style at a throbbing Lord's, blasting a match-winning half-century as Pakistan cruised to their target of 138 with eight wickets and eight balls to spare.

Afridi cracked two fours and two sixes in his 40-ball innings of 54, sharing in a unbeaten third-wicket liaison of 76 with Shoaib Malik, the former captain, who provided the perfect foil at the other end, stroking a measured 24 not out off 22 balls. "Shahid played an awesome innings and credit goes to him. I told him 'stay at the wicket and we'd finish the game'," said Shoaib. Kamran Akmal, the Pakistan wicket-keeper who set the tone for the run chase by hitting 37 off 28 balls at the top of the order, paid tribute to Afridi.

"I'm so happy, it was a great knock by Shahid Afridi. We played positively," he said. Defeat was harsh on Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lankan who stroked an imperious 64 off 52 balls, helping to rebuild an innings that was in tatters at two for two. Abdul Razzaq was the architect of the early fall of Sri Lankan wickets, capping his own personal renaissance by removing Tillakaratne Dilshan, the tournament's leading run scorer, for a duck.

Dilshan did have the consolation of picking up the player of the tournament award for his haul of 317 runs. @Email:kaffleck@thenational.ae Report s11