World Cup victory was just the turnaround Pakistan needed following the unfortunate events of March of 2009, when the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked in Lahore, forcing international cricket out of the country for the immediate future.
After a rocky start to its campaign with a 48-run loss to host England at the Oval, Younis Khan’s men bounced back against the Netherlands with a clinical 82-run win to book a spot in the Super 8 stage.
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The team blew hot and cold throughout the tournament as it faltered against Sri Lanka by 19 runs chasing 151, before registering a thumping nine-wicket victory against New Zealand as Umar Gul’s astounding figures of 5/6 saw the Kiwis crumble for just 99.
Having sealed a semifinal spot with that win, Pakistan was up against a relentless South Africa that had progressed to the last four after emerging unscathed from its Super 8 group comprising heavyweights West Indies, England, and India.
There was no better time for a long-overdue Shahid Afridi special. He wound the clock with a feisty 51 off 34, taking Pakistan to 95 in 12 overs before pacers Dale Steyn and Wayne Parnell put a stranglehold at the death to restrict it to 149.
Afridi completed the task with the twin strikes of power-hitters Herschelle Gibbs and AB de Villiers as Pakistan sneaked home by seven runs with a cushion of 23 to defend in the last over.
READ | Shahid Afridi: Pakistan to summon spirit of 2009 for T20 title
The final frontier was an unvanquished Sri Lanka that was riding on a 57-run hiding of the West Indies in its semifinal clash. After being asked to bowl, Abdul Razzaq struck thrice early on to leave the Lankans reeling at 32 for four. Kumar Sangakkara waged a lone battle with an unbeaten 64 to take them to 138 for 6.
There were no further hiccups in Pakistan’s title bid as it sailed home by eight wickets with eight balls to spare in a run-chase sketched to perfection. Two finals in two editions of the T20 mega event, and Pakistan had laid the ghost of the 2007 final loss to India to rest at Lord’s, the Home of Cricket .