Younus: T20 triumph is like a gift from God

ECSTATIC Pakistan captain Younus Khan described the World Twenty20 trophy as &ldquo;gift&rdquo; to the Pakistani people after leading his side to an eight-wicket demolition of Sri Lanka in the final at Lord&rsquo;s.<br /><br />After losing their opening match to England, Younus&rsquo; side rallied to victory in their next five games before impressively disposing of the favourites yesterday in front of a packed house.<br /><br />Back home, the Pakistani people are suffering in difficult times of trouble and violent clashes, but Younus believes the victory will help lift the spirits of the nation.<br /><br />&ldquo;For a nation like us, I think it&rsquo;s the right time,&rdquo; the delighted skipper said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s fantastic. We were the underdogs and nobody picked us. That&rsquo;s why there was less pressure and certainly we turned it on in the big games. All credit goes to the team and the whole nation.&rdquo;<br /><br />Pakistan&rsquo;s hero was, once again, all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who followed his half-century in the semi-final against South Africa with a match-winning 54no in the final, earning the man-of-the-match award in both.<br /><br />Afridi, 29, was a part of the side beaten in both the 1999 World Cup and 2007 Twenty20 final, but insists credit must go to his captain for inspiring a long-awaited success.<br /><br />&ldquo;The last two-and-a-half, three years I have bowled really well but I struggled with my batting. Younus gave me good confidence,&rdquo; he admitted. &ldquo;The guys really motivated themselves and Younus really supported the guys and told us to go and enjoy our cricket.&rdquo;<br /><br />Two wickets in the opening two overs, including the prized scalp of the tournament&rsquo;s top run scorer Tillakaratne Dilshan, put Pakistan on top early and Sri Lanka only really recovered when captain Kumar Sangakkara (64no) and Angelo Mathews (35no) came together and put on 68 to help steer them to 138-6.<br /><br />But Pakistan were always in command with Kamran Akmal (37) getting the reply off to a steady start before Afridi took over with a blistering 40-ball knock to set up a famous win.<br /><br />&bull; Meanwhile, England thrashed New Zealand by six wickets to claim the Women&rsquo;s World Twenty20 to add to their 50-over World Cup success.<br /><br />Devastating figures of 3-6 from Katherine Brunt helped dismiss the Kiwis for just 85 before Claire Taylor hit an unbeaten 39 to see England home with three overs to spare.