TEN years ago on this very ground, the Lord's, Pakistan had been humiliated by Australia in a World Cup final. Last night, Pakistan, again powered by Shahid Afridi, gave such a sure-footed performance that must have surprised the pundits. Here was a team that could not host a match in its own backyard, that almost every team worth its name was reluctant to play, that had a part of its country burning, that had been stripped off its World Cup 2011 rights, and yet it had the chutzpah to conquer the world and with such aplomb. Pakistan fired at the start and Abdul Razzaq, that unlikely hero coming in from the wilderness, dealt a triple blow that would have been crippling for any side. But Sri Lanka and Kumar Sangakkara had some breath to spare. Along with Angelo Mathews, Sangakkara held by some overconfident Pakistani bowling took the target close to 140 - turning it into a fight for Pakistan. But Pakistan was in no mood to be overwhelmed today. Each and everyone in the Pakistan XI seemed to be determined to seize the moment. Kamran Akmal started off brilliantly. But despite Kamran and Shahzaib Hasan departing with few runs in between, Afridi was there in the middle and he was like man possessed. It was apt that Afridi hit the winning run to start the celebrations in the Pakistani camp. For a belligerent outfit, this is a performance right from the top drawer and the PCB, as inept as it has been in handling its affairs, should take heart and take on the doubters in the Asian bloc in the ICC to recapture its 2011 World Cup rights. The celebrations that victory has spawned across the land should be re-invigorating for Pakistan cricket as a whole and it must now be ready to play its appropriate role in world affairs. In any case, situation in our backyard is improving in Swat and elsewhere in the north. This Pakistan team has added on big time to the optimism about this nation's future - and not just of cricket. The celebrations across the land reinforce the view that sports, in this instance cricket, can be a great binding force for a beleaguered nation. Younus Khan and his charges have once again made us proud to be Pakistanis. May all of us, especially the cricket board and the entire sporting establishment in this country, take a leaf out of their book to lead us to greater heights.