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Monday, June 10, 2024

Pakistan fans heartbroken after T20 World Cup setbacks but Naseem Shah win hearts

The highly anticipated match lived up to its hype, with emotions running high on both sides of the border until the very end.

Pakistan fans were dejected on Monday after a loss to arch-rivals India compounded their T20 World Cup misery, with some declaring their campaign a lost cause after only two matches.

“Cricket is finished for Pakistan,” lamented a spectator in Rawalpindi, as fans abandoned a big-screen viewing event before the final ball was bowled.

Read more: Saim Ayub expected to open for Pakistan in the match against India

On Sunday night, crowds had packed into the 15,000-seat Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, hoping for a victory from captain Babar Azam’s beleaguered side in a match taking place halfway around the globe in New York.

However, a low-scoring thriller saw India beat Pakistan by six runs on a tricky batting surface. In the moments after midnight, frustrated supporters hurled plastic bottles at the screens.

“Fate had something else in mind,” said 26-year-old Ahsan Ullah, as resigned fans streamed out of the stadium. “Right now, our hearts are a little broken.”

Read more: Pak-India match: Pakistan will not practice in New York stadium

This loss followed the major humiliation of Pakistan’s defeat to the USA on Thursday, where the co-host debutants beat the 2022 finalists and 2009 champions in a Super Over thriller in Texas.

‘Used to Embarrassment’

Pakistan and India’s cricket rivalry is one of the world’s great international sporting feuds. The game is the most popular sport in both countries, which have a combined population of more than 1.6 billion. Matches attract staggering numbers of viewers, though the sides face each other only in larger tournaments and in third countries due to long-standing political tensions.

Sunday’s match was the 13th time the nuclear-armed neighbors have clashed in cricket’s shortest format, with India now dominant, having won 10 of those face-offs. The rivalry runs so deep that India’s national anthem was muted on the big screens at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, where queues snaked outside ahead of a rain-delayed coin toss.

Green spotlights raked the skies as the match began, and Pakistan flags waved in stands named after storied players like Imran Khan and Shoaib Akhtar. Whistles, chants, and cheers filled the early overs before midnight passed and a sober mood took hold as Pakistan struggled to chase down India’s 119 runs.

Asked for his diagnosis of the team’s issues, Mohammad Hisham Raja — seeking solace at a nearby restaurant after the match — responded with one word: “Batting.”

“Maybe we got too much in our heads,” the 24-year-old said. “It’s not an embarrassment because we’re used to it now.”

“Cricket is an escape for us — from our daily routine, from our daily lives, from things that cause us problems,” he added. “But there are more problems in this.”

“I think once they come back, they’ll see how dissatisfied the population is, so they will obviously make some big changes,” he added, predicting Azam would be ousted from his post.


“Pakistan choked in the final sequence of their World Cup 2024 clash with India to somehow surrender a tie they dominated for large parts of the game,” said the website of the English-language Dawn newspaper.

“For the first time, it seems Pakistanis are struggling to find comfort in the hopes of a ‘next time.'”

Pakistan next faces Canada in New York on Thursday and then takes on Ireland in Florida on Sunday. They may still advance to the Super Eight in the tournament co-hosted by the USA and West Indies, with a final slated for Barbados on June 29.

However, 32-year-old Abdul Rasheed, one of the last stragglers in the stadium, predicted “a comeback is going to be very difficult.”

“Previously, things were great but now I don’t know what’s going on,” said 17-year-old Adan Mustafa. “The future doesn’t seem bright”.

In a touching moment, Pakistani pacer Naseem Shah was seen crying after a commendable all-round bowling performance that helped India secure a dramatic win against their arch-rivals in the big-ticket match in New York on June 9.

Naseem was the standout performer with the ball, claiming three crucial wickets and playing an important role in restricting India. Despite his efforts, the Pakistani batters faltered under pressure, turning what seemed like a manageable chase into a heartbreaking defeat.

The match came down to the final over, with Naseem facing the last two balls needing 12 runs to win. Unable to secure victory for his team, he was visibly emotional as he walked back to the dressing room alongside Shaheen Shah Afridi, tears streaming down his face. The video and pictures of the moment are going viral across social media platforms.


In the aftermath, memes and disappointed reactions from fans have flooded social media. Memes were particularly prevalent when Pakistan was bowling and appeared to be in control. However, beneath the banter and disappointed tweets lies Pakistan’s deep-seated passion for cricket — a sentiment that transcends victories and defeats. Yet, for the first time, it seems Pakistanis are finding it hard to take solace in the hopes of a “next time,” especially after their recent embarrassing loss to the US and now to India.