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Jonathan Agnew column

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

Shahid Afridi celebrates Pakistan's victory
Pakistan are always dangerous when they are focussed and there is no better example of this than Shahid Afridi

Pakistan's success in the World Twenty20 illustrated how much momentum can be gained during the course of a one-day series.

Playing almost every day, you can quickly gain confidence from a succession of victories - even after a poor start - and Pakistan timed their run perfectly.

We have already reflected on the galvanising effect the problems at home had on Younus Khan's team, and the captain was quick to point to that again after the final.

Pakistan are currently cricketing nomads, with no-one willing to go on tour there following the appalling attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore. Younus appealed for teams to return to Pakistan, but that was a cry in the wilderness - no-one will go there for years. And that is why it is crucial that the Pakistan cricket team continues to flourish, albeit on foreign soil for the time being.

Pakistan are always dangerous when they are focused and there is no better example of this than their player of the tournament, Shahid Afridi. Hugely talented, but easily distracted, it has always been difficult to keep Afridi's mind on the job. Yet in both the semi-final against South Africa and in the final, he batted with a discipline and maturity that has been seen all too infrequently for a man of his ability.

We wondered what might happen to Sri Lanka if Tillakaratne Dilshan failed, and we got our answer. Sri Lanka's bowlers had been digging their batsmen out of holes all tournament, but a target of 139 was never going to be enough.

606: DEBATE
Jaz by Paper, SPURS by Nature

It is one of the few, but important failings of Twenty20 that teams cannot recover from the loss of early wickets - there simply is not the time. Like the West Indies in the semi-final, who were 1-3 after the first over, and New Zealand (31-5) in the women's final, there is no way back. It is a one-dimensional form of cricket that is brilliant when both teams play to a similar standard, but fizzles out quickly if one team starts badly.

There will continue to be talk of Twenty20 taking over the world, but I hope this excellent tournament will remind people of just how lucky we are to have three different forms of the game which should all co-exist perfectly happily together.

It is up to the administrators - who meet in London this week - to get the balance right and ensure that the expansion of Twenty20 is controlled so it does not suffer from overkill. We are already in very dangerous territory.



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see also
Champions Pakistan make tour plea
21 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Pakistan v Sri Lanka photos
21 Jun 09 |  Cricket
World Twenty20 final as it happened
21 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Pakistan power to Twenty20 glory
21 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Sangakkara hails brave Sri Lanka
19 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Sri Lanka thrash Windies in semis
19 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Sri Lanka v West Indies photos
19 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Younus hopes win will lift nation
18 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Afridi steers Pakistan into final
18 Jun 09 |  Cricket
South Africa v Pakistan photos
18 Jun 09 |  Cricket
ICC World Twenty20 2009
21 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket


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