It was like a festival in Pakistan on 21 June, 2009, the Men in Green under Younis Khan’s captaincy had qualified for the World T20 final for the second consecutive time.
Pakistan had a strong side, the bowling line was rock solid in the likes of the young Mohammad Amir, the rattling Umar Gul, experienced Abdur Razzaq, the magician Saeed Ajmal and the bamboozling Shahid Afridi.
In batting line, Pakistan was having an in-form opening pair in shape of Kamran Akmal and Shahzaib Hassan and Shahid Afridi in a purple patch. Pakistan was clearly favourites for the game and the world saw complete domination of Shaheens that day.
Here are the five big moments of the big game.
Mohammad Amir testing Dilshan with aggression
Amir had a clear plan against Dilshan, he was the man in from for Sri Lanka, the 18-old pacer started the proceedings with short deliveries and got rid of him on the fifth delivery of the game. Dilshan had no answer to Amir’s aggressive short deliveries and he ballooned the ball to short fine leg where Shahzaib took the catch.
Sangakkara’s classical batting
Pakistan was driving away with the game with Sri Lanka 2 down for 2 runs. The Lankan skipper, Sangakkara walked in and made his presence felt. He was the lone warrior that day who exhibited his skill with great elegance to score 64 runs off 52 deliveries with seven boundaries in it. On the other hand, Mathews tested Pakistani bowlers with his 35 runs off 24 balls. The partnership between the two took Sri Lanka to a fighting total of 138 runs.
Pakistan’s firm opening stand
When Pakistan came out to chase the moderate total of 139 runs, the openers had a blistering start with a 48 run opening partnership. Kamran Akmal batted brilliantly for his 37 off 28 deliveries. Shahzaib Hasan fell after putting 19 runs on board in 23 balls. Pakistan was 63/2.
Two quick wickets
After giving Pakistan a decent start, both the openers lost their wickets in a short span of time and it was a point of concern for Pakistan. The roaring fans were silent and were praying for the glory that they missed out against India in the World T20 2007 final.
The Big Man Big Game moment!
It was Afridi special that day, he was sensible, he was calculative lethal that day. It was Afridi, who made the game almost one-sided with his brilliant 54 run innings on 40 deliveries. Pakistan needed 1 run off 11 balls, Lasith Malinga bowled a toe crushing yorker, Afridi couldn’t hit the ball, but, ran the leg-bye after the ball hit his foot. It was Geoffrey Boycott with his golden historical words, “Big man, big game, it’s a leg-bye who cars?!”
It was a huge moment for Pakistan cricket. The Men in Green was winning a global cricketing event after a long span of 17 years.. There were people dancing on roads, national songs were played, loud crackers and aerial firing, There were celebrations all around Pakistan. There was unity in Pakistan there were no ethnic or religious groups, there was only one nation, there was just one nation that day, a Pakistani nation.