December 7, 2021
Middle East Sports

How Pakistan finally ended its World Cup drought against India

aljazeera– Jubilant cricket fans poured onto the streets across Pakistan on Sunday to hail their team’s rout of India at the T20 World Cup in Dubai.

Pakistan romped to a 10-wicket win, its first ever at the World Cup level over their South Asian neighbours.

Firecrackers, blaring car horns and bursts of gunfire rang out across Pakistani cities.

Fans danced and sang, shouting “Pakistan zindabad” (long live Pakistan). Celebratory gunfire erupted from the rooftops of houses in the capital, Islamabad, Peshawar and Karachi.

“Congratulations to the Pakistan Team & esp to Babar Azam who led from the front, as well as to the brilliant performances of Rizwan & Shaheen Afridi,” Prime Minister Imran Khan, who led Pakistan to victory in the 1992 World Cup cricket, tweeted.

Khan watched the game in Saudi Arabia where he is on an official visit.

Former Test cricketer and fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar said in a video message on Twitter: “Our team has broken the myth of the Indian cricket team. We are a civilised nation and we will not say anything bad. Well done India.. you have done wonderfully well but not enough to beat the mightiest Babar and Rizwan.”

Chasing 152 for victory, skipper Babar Azam (68) and Mohammad Rizwan (79) steered their team home with 13 balls to spare in front of 20,000 fans in Dubai and a global TV audience of hundreds of millions.

Left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi set up victory with figures of 3-31 that restricted India to 151-7 despite a valiant 57 from captain Virat Kohli.

“It was a great victory. Pakistan has proved that we can win in any situation. It was even more important because this victory was against India,” cricket fan Shahid Ahmad, 22, a student in Peshawar told AFP news agency.

Another Pakistani cricket fan, Muhammad Basit who came from the United Kingdom for the match, told AFP in Karachi: “It’s a great feeling. Pakistan beat India in a very big match. We’re bringing the power back. I think we are going to win the competition, Pakistan zindabad, all the way.”

Former captain Shahid Afridi tweeted: “Same celebration, same side, new result. Well done my boys Green heart #PAKvIND #PakistanZindabad.”

Relations between the South Asian neighbours have been tense in recent years, with the two coming to the brink of war during a military standoff following an attack on Indian security forces in the disputed region of Kashmir’s Pulwama town in February 2019.

The countries have fought two of their three wars since gaining independence in 1947 over Kashmir, which both claim in full but administer separate portions of.

Pakistan and India have not played a bilateral series since 2012. The two sides last met in 2019, a World Cup match that India won by 89 runs at Old Trafford, Manchester.

Prior to Sunday’s win, Pakistan had lost all seven 50-over World Cup matches to India while also ending up on the losing side the five times they met in T20 World Cups.

Afridi, who took three wickets, was declared man of the match.

It was Pakistan’s first ever victory by 10 wickets against any opposition in a T20 match, while India also lost by such a margin for the first time.

“This is just the start, we have confidence to build on it now,” said Babar after the opening win in the round-robin Super 12 stage.

“That will remain with us. The pressure on us wasn’t that much – we weren’t thinking of the record against India at all. We executed our plans well and the early wickets were very helpful.”

Pakistan next play New Zealand in Sharjah on Tuesday.

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