KARACHI (AFP) - Pakistan's swashbuckling all-rounder Shahid Afridi on Monday became the toast of the troubled nation after his performance with both bat and ball lifted his team to World Twenty20 success. The 29-year-old rose to the occasion at the tournaments' key moments, with successive half-centuries in the semi-final and final and taking three crucial wickets - performances which earned him two man-of-the-match awards. Afridi hit an unbeaten 54 to help Pakistan successfully chase down a modest 139-run target set by Sri Lanka in the final at Lord's on Sunday. Hundreds of fans gathered on Monday at Afridi's house in the southern port city of Karachi, keen to congratulate his family. "I am the proudest of all the Pakistani fathers because my son has given me the best gift on father's day," said Afridi's father Sahibzada Fazl-ur Rehman. "What I always tell him is that he should play for the country and for the people who adore him. I am elated that he gave the whole nation moments of happiness," Rehman added. Afridi, who hails from the tribal Khyber district in the North West Frontier Province, is the most popular Pakistani player, especially among ethnic Pashtuns in the northwest area troubled by Taliban-linked violence. "I am really happy, Afridi played an excellent innings. I feel proud of my country," said Abdul Jalal, a young student displaced by fighting in the northwest who is now living in a cramped refugee camp.Afridi is equally popular in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city. "We are delighted for the Pakistan team winning the cup and the joy is doubled because Afridi was man-of-the-match," said Shirin Khan, a vendor who sells tea in the commercial Saddar area.When not playing cricket, Afridi works with the Islamic Relief Fund and often visits the United States to drum up funds for people displaced by Taliban violence and army offensives in his insurgency-stricken home region."Why is he the most popular Pakistani player? He has a heart of gold ... so apart from his cricketing abilities he is loved for his deeds," said Khan. The all-rounder also helped with relief work in the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, visiting far-flung areas with aid workers. "Whenever I have time, I go for relief work and it gives me immense pleasure and satisfaction. It touches me how people suffer and if I can do anything for them it's great," Afridi has said. Afridi's batting form had dwindled since the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa two years ago where he finished as "player of the tournament." Pakistan, however, lost the final to India by a five-run margin. He was also part of Pakistan's team which lost to Australia in the 50-over World Cup final at Lord's in 1999.