Posted by: tootingtrumpet | June 19, 2009

The Trumpet salutes Pakistan

Shahid AfridiOstracised after the horrors of Lahore and not much welcomed before then, Pakistan’s mercurial talents have reminded the cricket world once again of their indispensibilty. Roared on by a raucous, but fair and knowlegeable crowd, Younus Khan’s men played a superb game of cricket that happened to be Twenty20. Backing his star man, Younus gave Shahid Afridi his head and was rewarded with a bludgeoned half-century that provided the basis for a par score of 149, helped along by the canny experience of Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik and (of course) himself.

With the much vaunted SA batting to face, Younus played ace after ace with his bowlers. Mohammad Aamer, at 17, knows how to get the most from his whippy left-arm pace and was complemented by the cool head of Abdul Razzaq. Then came the strangle through the variation of Saeed Ajmal, the personality and drift of Shahid Afridi and the peerless yorker bowling of Umer Gul, who is as good as Glenn McGrath at forcing batsmen into scorelessness.

As the team celebrated at the end of the match, the camera picked out the captain who was still wearing his gameface – Younus really wants this one, and 175 million Pakistanis in his troubled home and millions more around the world really want it too. There’ll be a few neutrals shouting “Zindabad Pakistan” as the Caged Tigers walk out come Sunday at Lord’s – and the Trumpet will be amongst them.

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Responses

  1. I have to wait a few more hours to see the highlights of this match, but as I posted on the Guardian OBO, it will be worth staying up for Afridi whatever the result.

    As it is, I will be watching a winning performance and I am so pleased for Pakistan.

    I can understand the reasons why teams are unwilling to play in Pakistan, but as far as cricket is concerned, I think the world needs Pakistan to fire on all cylinders.

    It is a delight that they have beaten the Saffers and makes the final – hopefully against Sri Lanka, in my view – very exciting indeed.

  2. The highlights might not show just how strangled the Saffers were. Pak vs SL would be a perfect final.

  3. Rafa seems in accord.

  4. Fine piece, Gary. Would be amazing if Sri Lanka could get through as well.

  5. Cheers Dileep – the SL shirts will be selling well in Tooting if they do!

  6. I hope NZ get through as they’ve never won a major men’s cricket trophy, not that I’m aware of at least.

  7. It is all about my man Afridi. He has rediscovered his mojo.

  8. err ummm except NZ aren’t playing in the other semi, oops, haven’t been following this too much as it’s not on free to air

  9. Afridi sure was on fire.. it was a heart thumping game for us Pakistanis.. and we loved every moment of it!

    • I’m sure you did Q – great that you and your compatriots have something to cheer after all the misery.

  10. Pakistan played great cricket and thoroughly deserved their place in their second consecutive World T20 final.

    Afridi’s bowling was superb and the wrong-un that bowled Gibbs was a beauty especially in the context of the two ripping leg-breaks before it. His seam position was perfect throughout and what was most impressive was the drift that he created. It was the finest display of attacking wrist-spin I’ve seen since Warne retired.

    Gul was virtually unhittable with accurate yorker after yorker rendering the Proteas mute. Toots writes that it was reminiscent of McGrath at his miserly best, and so it was, but on my couch I was reminded of the unerringly accurate death bowling of the late and great Malcolm Marshall.

    In World tournaments a team needs something very special to win and if Pakistan can reproduce the same form in the final they’ll win what they threw away at the inaugural tournament two years ago.

    South Africa, for the umpteenth time, have stuttered when a major global trophy was within reach. They’ll be hurt and bewildered after not producing when it mattered for the second time this year. Perhaps they’ll break through and win the Champions Trophy in the spring but it would only be a consolation after failing in their quest for the Test and T20 crowns.

    For those that missed it or just want to relive the quality action there are twenty minutes of quality highlights here.

  11. Great win for Pakistan !

    At one point, it looked like Pakistan would set a score of around 170, but they couldn’t score a single boundary in the last 6 overs. I felt 150 was defendable if Pak can get Smith and Devilliers cheaply.

    So, I feel Pakistan is still not quite there with the batting effort as there is some scope for improvement.Younis could probably consider bringing Salman Butt back as an opener, and may be Razzaq could bat after Afridi.

    Aamer is a great talent no doubt.But I would replace him with Sohail Tanveer for the finals.

    SA – Feel sorry for them, but they have been out thought and out played.It is not a disgrace.I think Steyn and Kallis gave away some easy runs initially, and Botha seemed to have no clue how to bowl to Afridi.Yes, Kallis was the top scorer, but I would have had Gibbs opening with Smith instead.In the initial stages of the Pakistan innings, I got the feeling that SA underestimated the Pak batsmen.

    If Pak meets SL in the final, it will be thrilling to watch Afridi Vs Mendis. But I have a feeling Murali will have some plans for Afridi.Younis knows the Sri Lankan batsmen well, and so, may use Gul upfront.

    I would love WI to win this tournament though :)

  12. I am no fan of South Africa, but it was disappointing to see Van Der Merwe and Boucher warm their bottoms watching SA go behind the asking rate. Duminy is just a kid and he was not known for his big hitting in IPL too.

    SA had the opportunity to win this match. But under pressure they were passive and decided to play safe and failed to dare.

    SA didnt choke. They just failed to rise to the occasion. or failed to peak you must say.

    Younis khan said that b4 the game Afridi asked to play up the order. I wish Boucher had said the same to Smith and Smith had obliged him. That would have made it a cracker of a match.

  13. are spinners the new fast bowlers?

  14. He is a aggressive Batsman.

  15. jnbm

  16. you are the best player ever in cricket history

  17. nothing is impossible everything is possible for shihid afridi. come on boom boom.


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