DateLine: 22nd June 2009
Pakistan captain Younus Khan dedicated his team's World Twenty20 title to their troubled homeland on Sunday.
Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by eight wickets to claim their first major title in 17 years at a sell-out Lord's with all-rounder Shahid Afridi named man of the match for his unbeaten 54 off 40 balls.
"We were underdogs and had less pressure, but we came good in the big games. It's a credit to the country and to the team," said Younus.
"We hadn't won anything since Imran Khan's team at the World Cup in 1992. This is a our gift to our nation. Hopefully, it will help cheer them up.
"Afridi knows he's a great cricketer. He's a match winner and he's been fantastic for us."
Afridi was hailed as 'awesome' after the mercurial star led his country to the title.
Afridi smashed his second consecutive half-century, while former captain Shoaib Malik made 24 not out during a match-winning partnership of 76 for the undefeated third wicket.
"It was a pressure match. When I walked out to the wicket I was thinking I have to stay until the 20th over," said Shoaib.
"Shahid was awesome today and all credit to him. I told him to stay at the wicket and I will get some runs, that we can finish the game. He's a great cricketer."
Afridi paid tribute to skipper Younus Khan.
"I asked the captain to send me up the order and that's what he did," said Afridi.
"He just said don't worry about anything, just go out and play your natural game. The guys were really motivated. The captain and coaches tell us to enjoy our cricket and entertain. That's great motivation."
It was Sri Lanka's first defeat of the tournament, but skipper Kumar Sangakkara insisted his team will recover and become a better side.
"I'm proud of the way we competed. We enjoy our cricket and I believe we can go forward from here," said Sangakkara.
"We'll take this and come back stronger in next year's tournament. We have the best bowling unit in the world.
"We'll get better, we'll learn. We look forward to getting tougher mentally and physically."
(Article: Copyright © 2009 AFP)
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