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SL’s top four never clicked together

cricket Updated: Jun 23, 2009 00:19 IST
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If six sixes, a century, scores in excess of 200 runs and 70 off 30 balls encapsulated the spirit of the 2007 World T20, this edition saw bowlers come into their own. A five-wicket haul, economy rate of under-six runs and teams struggling to chase anything beyond 160 are ample proof of this.

Kumar Sangakkara was spot on when he said that teams with better bowling attacks will win more and more T20 games in future. It was Pakistan's bowling which put them on top in the final. It was Sri Lanka's failure to come up with similar firepower, which spelt their downfall. Ajantha Mendis, the pin-up boy of Sri Lankan bowling, was under pressure when it mattered.

But then it's wrong to blame the Sri Lankan bowlers alone. However good a team might be, it needs runs on the board. Sri Lankans sadly didn't show up at the crease. Despite their unbeaten run all through, the top four batsmen never clicked together and the bowlers ended up doing a cover-up job.

It wasn't to be so on Sunday.

All credit to Pakistan though and more so to Shahid Afridi. Like his team, Afridi too was beginning to evoke a yawn. But he rolled back the years and turned on the charm in the final two matches. He bowled brilliantly all through, found the batting right in time and his catch of New Zealand's Scott Stryis will remain in memory for long.

Pakistan were lucky their seniors made their experience count. Younis Khan, Misbah-ul Haq, Umar Gul, Abdul Razzak, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi made useful contributions. T20 now will be the engine that will drive cricket in the future.

Pakistan will now have the onerous task of defending the crown in nine months' time. I have no doubt teams will try to move on and show a new facet of their cricket in the West Indies. For the Indians, the real test will be to show the hunger which made them champions in the first edition.

Meanwhile, let's salute Pakistan for showing the courage, determination and self-belief to win in style. TCM