Afridi powers Pakistan into final

Published: Friday, June 19, 2009, 7:42 [IST]
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Afridi leads Pakistan to WT20 final

Trent Bridge: Shahid Afridi' spectacular all-round talents helped Pakistan to reach second successive World Twenty20 final with a 7-run victory over favourites South Africa at Trent Bridge.

Electing to bat first, Pakistan were off to a great as Shahid Afridi hit 51 off 34 balls. The explosive batsman smashed eight boundaries, including four in succession off Johan Botha.

Pakistan, who were 120-3 after 15 overs, failed to build on the early advantage and managed just 29 runs in the final five overs. Pakistan could only post a score of 149 for 4 in their stipulated 20 overs despite the brilliant batting by Afridi.


Shahid Afridi also shone with the ball again as he conceded just 16-runs in his four over spell and picked up the wickets of Herschelle Gibbs and dangerman AB de Villiers.

Opener Jacque Kallis hit an impressive 64 but, once they fell behind the run-rate, South Africa never looked like reaching their target of 150.

Jacques Kallis made a half-century off 46 balls with seven fours for South Africa but they gradually fell behind the required run-rate and his dismissal for 64 in the 18th over ended their already fading hopes.

This is the fourth time as they have gone out at the semi-final stage of a ICC tournament. Pakistan will fave either Sri Lanka or West Indies at Lords on Sunday.

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Pakistan were off to a shaky start as thye lost Shahzaib Hasan, caught by Roelof van der Merwe off Wayne Parnell to just the second ball he faced.

Pakistan then scored at a modest rate of a run a ball until the 11th over, when it took 18 runs off Johan Botha, including four consecutive fours by Afridi. Akmal who hit two boundaries in the opening overs was dismissed by Albie Morkel for 23 runs.

Afridi who was promoted to no 3 position reached 50 from 33 balls in the 12th over. Afridi fall soon after scoring half century as he aimed a huge hit at the first of JP Duminy's off-spinners and skied a catch to short midwicket.

Malik never reached a run-a-ball tempo - and had still found the boundary only twice - before picking out long-off when he went after van der Merwe's left-arm spin.

However, tight bowling from South African bowlers restricted pakistan to to 149.

In reply, South Africa made a steady start in reply as openers Kallis and Smith reached 40 by the sixth over.

Jacques Kallis made a good attempt to take the South Africans home, striking seven fours and a six in 64 from 54 balls, but the other batsmen faltered against the spot-on attack.

Afridi, coming on to bowl in the seventh over, dismissed Herschelle Gibbs and AB de Villiers to make South Africa 50-3 in 8.3 overs.

Afridi and Saeed Ajmal, made runs hard to come by, and when the dangerous Gul came on to bowl in the 14th over, South Africa needed a further 77 from 42 balls.

Kallis and JP Duminy gave hopes to South African fans as they scored 61 from 53 balls for the fourth wicket, but Ajmal broke the threatening stand by having Kallis caught in the deep in the 18th over.

Duminy remained unbeaten on 44 from 39 balls but the task of needing 23 runs in the last over bowled by Aamir proved too much for him and Mark Boucher.


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