Ali Bhurgri |
There is a little kid, waiting on the street to cross the road. He is scared and anxiety-struck and it’s not his fault. He has bad memories with crossing the road, including a little accident a few days back. But today he is determined; there is something in the air. There is a kind of force, he can feel it.
He thinks nothing can stop him today. But has he finally learned the art of being vigilant before crossing a road or his determination is merely an evidence of his naivety?
He leans forward and takes a step ahead, his belief strengthens, but there is a car coming at a great speed, the kid isn’t moving. An accident almost seems inevitable and the driver makes no real attempt to stop the car either. And boom, the car hits the kid, the unwanted has happened. But wait a minute; the kid seems to be fine. He is on the other side of the road with a wry smile on his face. What happened to the car? It’s all destroyed. Who is this kid? Is he the Iron Man or the Hulk, he isn’t either, he is the Pakistani cricket team who believe in themselves.
Rising like a Phoenix from the Ashes
They started as the weakest team in this tournament and rightly so
What an incredible tournament, what an incredible team. Two years ago, this team nearly failed to qualify for this tournament and today they leave the field as champions. They started as the weakest team in this tournament and rightly so. Their cricket is old fashioned. Their batsmen can hardly rotate the strike. They are stuck in the 90’s. The first match against India was evidence of that, they just don’t know how to play modern ODI cricket. They are shaky and watching them bat is often a humbling experience.
After a massive defeat against India in the first match, it wasn’t just the world, which stopped believing in them, it was us back home too. But this team, despite all the odds against going them, learned to believe and there is nothing more dangerous in the world than a Pakistani team who believe they can win.
Hassan Ali bowled like a world beater. His story deserves a special mention.
They triumphed over South Africa. The bowlers were magical, and they continued their magic in the game against Sri Lanka. Hassan Ali bowled like a world beater. His story deserves a special mention. A guy who comes to bowl after Junaid and Amir is bound to be attacked because a 3rd pacer in the team usually contains but not Hassan, he attacks. Pakistan keeps attacking you throughout 50 overs. But what about the fragile batting line up? Rain helped Pakistani batsmen against South Africa and Sri Lankan fielders against Sri Lanka. But during all this time, there was a force in the air, almost like Pakistan was destined to win.
The victory against Sri Lanka wasn’t convincing by any means. It made other teams feel, that Pakistan was lucky to get in the semi-final. And that was true. Most teams would find that performance worrisome but not Pakistan, this team thought they were invincible, they believed, the force was with them.
They looked unbeatable but their fate was to be met by a Pakistani team who believed they could walk on water.
It was time for the big semi-final, England were hot favorites of the tournament. They looked unbeatable but their fate was to be met by a Pakistani team who believed they could walk on water. England were blown away, first with the bat and then with the ball. Hassan Ali bowled his heart out once again. He had a spark in his eyes, you could see Pakistani team through him.
Then came the Pakistani batting. Fakhar Zaman, a guy we all thought was talented but you just don’t come and debut in a Champions Trophy tournament and play 3 match winning knocks. This isn’t how it works but then again it’s Pakistan, they have never followed the norm. Fakhar Zaman, like Hasan Ali, is another Pakistani product who isn’t scared or intimidated by international cricket. He played like he belonged to that stage; like international cricket was just set up for him.
There were top edges, there were missed chances but there was a force with this team. They batted comprehensively for the first time in the tournament. They didn’t want to look back and they didn’t, they qualified for the finals. But that wasn’t it, was it? Now they had to face their biggest fear, it was India in an ICC tournament, far worse than Harry facing Voldemort. They have been thrashed once, would they be again?
Sarfaraz from day one said, this team has nothing to lose and it was true for the major part of the tournament but maybe not for the final.
Pakistan had played unimaginable cricket but maybe everything would be in vain if they don’t win this match. Sarfaraz from day one said, this team has nothing to lose and it was true for the major part of the tournament but maybe not for the final. This team had everything to lose, people who were praising Pakistan cricket might have turned against it, including everyone back at home.
It was the toss time, Sarfraz and Pakistan have chased throughout the tournament but it wasn’t to be today. The coin went up in the air and maybe it was the force in the atmosphere that made Kohli win the toss and choose to field. Now was Pakistan’s biggest test.
Bumrah got Fakhar cheaply, oh no. Fakhar at last failed, Pakistan’s biggest fear came true but wait a minute, it’s a no ball. There is something different about today. And despite the edginess, Pakistan kept attacking. Fakhar played one of the best ever innings of his promising career. But this team still had to end it well.
Then came Mohammad Hafeez. He scored 57 runs from 37 balls. I am sure even he wouldn’t have thought he could do something like that. But it was all going according to the script. The script that Pakistan were writing themselves.
This wasn’t an invincible team, this was just a Pakistani team that believed in themselves and gave new evidence to the theory of infinite possibilities.
It was time for India’s batting. And on a wicket like this, their batsmen could crush Pakistani bowlers. Kohli is the greatest chaser in the world but somebody had different plans. A gentleman named Mohammad Amir came in running like he could conquer the world. He got the best ODI batsman in the world, out, but Azhar dropped it. Oh Pakistan, what have you done? Next ball, Amir runs again and this time Kohli edges the ball straight into Shadab’s hands. Pakistanis are ecstatic, they know something special is happening today.
Amir ended with 3-16 in his six-over spell, dismissing India’s top order. Pakistan didn’t stop the attack; today they were not playing prey but predators, they wouldn’t stop at anything. But there was one batsman who batted out of his skin, Hardik Pandya. He is a clean striker of the ball and today he was at his absolute best. The pitch was a belter as it was evident from his batting. But today was not about him, it was about Pakistan and the force in the air. Jadeja and Hardik had a mix-up and he got out. That was the last hurdle. Sarfraz introduced Hassan one last time.
He came running in, the last batsmen hit the ball up in the air, Sarfraz called for it, and he took the catch. He raised his arms in the air, Pakistan had won, and they had triumphed.
This team has done the impossible; they have defied logic and rational thinking. The force that was with them can now be felt by the fans. This wasn’t an invincible team, this was just a Pakistani team that believed in themselves and gave new evidence to the theory of infinite possibilities. This Pakistani team is unpredictable not because they lack skills but because they write their own scripts. And this time they wrote the biggest sporting upset of the decade.
Ali Bhurgri is a Law Student at the University of London, International Program. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.