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Well done, Pakistan ♥

March 31, 2011

By Nayyar Afaq

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — While the Indian cricket team is ready to leave for Mumbai to face Sri Lanka in the final encounter of World Cup 2011, Pakistani team has to pack up to come back home. That’s a sad moment for my team, but this is what sports is all about. This is the part of the game and not every day is destined to be ours.

Congratulations to all my Indian friends. That was the match played in good spirit by both the teams. Manmohan Singh has shown a nice gesture by inviting Pakistan’s Prime Minister and Mr. Gillani reciprocated well. Pakistan’s skipper Shahid Afridi and the whole team greeted the winning side with a big heart and smiling face. What a tournament and what a wonderful day for the sportsmanship.

That’s the victory of the Cricket. That’s the defeat of distances among our hearts. All the best to Indian team for the Final. Whoever be the winner, let’s cheer that the new World Champion would be from Asia.

Pakistani team joined the mega event, after going through one crisis after another. Pakistan was initially one of the hosts of the World Cup, but this honour was soon taken away  which was a great disappointment for the cricket loving friendly nation. The recent England’s tour happened to be the worst nightmare which resulted in the ban on our top 3 players. Team was all shattered after this incident. Morale of the whole nation was down. To lead such a team in the world cup was the biggest challenge which Shahid Afridi accepted and then we all witnessed how our young team started the journey of victories. Standing at the top of the group after competing with world class teams of Sri Lanka and Australia was an achievement. Historical victory against Australia was enough to prove that the Greens are still the best and can bring miracles. 10 wickets haul against West Indies in Quarter Final proved the potential of the team. Playing the Semi Final was a privilege and a matter of great prestige. We lost the match but in graceful manner. We didn’t give up. We fought till last over.

Losing the toss was crucial. In games with such a tremendous pressure, chasing the target is never easy. We lost to India in all the world cup matches, while batting second. We had all the big names in 1992, 1996, and 1999; including Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younas, Saqlain, Shoaib Akhtar, Inzamam, Saeed Anwar and many more; still we got defeated while chasing. This time, we had a young team. Still our players; Umer Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Wahab Riaz and Saeed Ajmal played really well. It was predicted that dew factor would help the batting side, but there was no such dew as was expected. That went against us. India got the advantage of home ground and home crowd as well. Besides that, Pakistan’s performance disappointed us in fielding. Too many dropped catches favoured the opposition. That was the bad day for Umar Gul, who otherwise bowled pretty well throughout the tournament. Giving Umar another spell in the last overs proved to be a wrong decision. Not availing the batting power play while Afridi was on crease happened to be a wrong move as well. Younus didn’t score well. Misbah played much slower, when a higher run rate was required. Abdul Razzaq got flopped in batting. This is how we lost our chance.

But wait a minute. Talking with hind sight is the easiest job to do. That’s surely not an excuse but while sitting in the front of TV screens, we can’t guess the bone crushing speed of the hard ball, when it approached to fielders, which resulted in dropped chances. Who knows the deflection or angle of the sun light to their eyes. Admit it or not but Misbah, played a solid innings. He played every ball on its merit. Required run rate was the big issue, but Misbah at least stayed there. Quick fall of 3rd and 4th wickets were the turning points. Taking risks in such a situation neither was easy nor very sane, and hence Misbah played to the point. It seems that Pakistan planned to use the batting power play after the last over of Harbhajan. Luck didn’t favour and Afridi lost his wicket just before it. Otherwise, result could have been totally different. As a replacement of speedster Shoaib Akhtar, the young man Wahab Riaz took 5 wickets. He deserves a standing ovation. His performance was treat to our eyes and a hope for the bright future of our team. The only 3 sixes of the whole match were hit by Pakistan. Razzaq didn’t score in the match, but same is true for Yuvraj as well. We didn’t use him properly in the bowling. However on the positive note, giving spell to expensive Umar Gul proves the confidence, which the captain shown on him. Isn’t it the same confidence which Imran Khan gave to Abdul Qadir long ago, even though Abdul Qadir was going expensive and match was slipping from Pakistan’s hands? Abdul Qadir did it but Gul had a bad day. That’s all. World class Waqar Younas got punished even in more horrible way by Jadeja in World Cup 1996. Cricket is unpredictable and this is the beauty of the game. Let’s just enjoy that.

From first match till the Semi Final, Afridi worked really hard as a captain. He kept interacting with the bowlers after each ball and kept discussing with other players for the field adjustment and to alter strategy. He united the shattered team and made it a one combined unit. He led from the front with attacking mind set. He casted magic of his spin. He is the top wicket taker of the tournament. He interacted well with the media throughout the tournament as well and in the closing ceremony; he talked with a right spirit. Greatness doesn’t only lie in chanting slogans or dancing after getting a victory, but the real test comes when one faces a defeat but accept it with an open heart and a big smile.

Last but not least, Shoaib would always be remembered in the history of cricket for the enthusiasm, which he introduced in to the game. He resigned like a gentle man. Wankhede Stadium of Mumbai is unfortunate not to see him running over her shining grass on 2nd April as a last match of his international career. We are sad and disappointed, but still we love Afridi and all the boys. Whenever greens would play their match against any team; our hearts would beat for them, our prayers and claps would join them and we would keep waving the Green flag to show our support and love.

Don’t lose hopes. As a great nation, we should know how to go through such a sad moment and how to keep supporting our team.

Tomorrow is a new day. Better luck next time, friends. Pakistan Zindabaad ♥

(Nayyar Afaq, 31st March 2011 – 05:00 am)

PS: I have written it in a very short time along with flu and fever. So, please ignore and forgive me if I left any mistake or if you differ.

Source: The Autumn Green

One comment

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