Younis tells Pakistan to win T20 for fans

Pakistan captain Younis Khan challenged his side to win the World T20 for their cricket-starved fans after they booked their place in the second round.

updated: June 10, 2009 12:48 IST
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Pakistan captain Younis Khan challenged his side to win the World Twenty20 for their cricket-starved fans after they booked their place in the second round on Tuesday.

Victory over the Netherlands - who stunningly defeated England in the opening match of the tournament - by 82 runs at Lord's saw Pakistan bounce back from their 48-run loss last weekend to the hosts at the Oval.

Now Younis wants Pakistan, finalists at the inaugural World Twenty20 two years ago in South Africa, to go all the way and give their supporters something to celebrate after the Asian nation became a virtual no-go zone for international cricket following an armed attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in March.

"We have no international cricket so if we reach the semi-final or win the tournament, the nation will stand up for us," Younis told reporters.

"I need a cup for Pakistan. If I bring one cup for Pakistan that will be an achievement for me."

The Dutch, who began the match with a better run-rate, needed to stop Pakistan winning by at least 25 runs to go through to the Super Eights.

But, after holding Pakistan to 175 for five and so needing to make at least 151 to get into the second round, the Dutch were dismissed for just 93. Leg-spinner Shahid Afridi did the bulk of the damage with four wickets for just 11 runs - the fourth best figures in all Twenty20 Internationals.

"If we bowl like that in every game, we will go through to the semi-finals, said Younis.

"Everybody knows we are slow starters, I just hope we have performances like this in every game."

Afridi, perhaps best known as a destructive batsman in limited overs cricket, has been struggling for runs of late but Younis said: "I don't worry about his batting.

"Everybody knews if he bowls well, we will get quick wickets."

Kamran Akmal responded to being promoted to open from No 3 by top-scoring with 41 and the wicket-keeper then completed four stumpings during the Dutch innings.

"I am very happy to open the batting," he said. I was just given a free hand."

Dutch captain Jeroen Smits said his Associate or non-Test side, which features several part-time players, could be proud of their efforts.

"I thought we had a good chance," he said. "Maybe we were a bit over-confident."

However, the wicket-keeper added: "Pakistan deserved to win, Afridi bowled a special game. Afridi was really special and he made life hard for us.

"Maybe that's the difference between Associate level and a professional level. We can be proud of ourselves but I feel a bit disappointed we didn't make it to the Super Eights.

"We felt confident at half-time but we needed a big innings from someone. I would have liked to seen Darron Reekers (the opener's 13 included three fours) for a few more overs but it wasn't to be."

Pakistan return to Lord's on Friday for their first Super Eights match against Sri Lanka.