Today was a big day for Pakistan as it had a chance to beat back the Indians right in their home in the crucial semi final match of the ICC World Cup Cricket 2011. The entire country was prayed for the success of the match in mosques in the morning prayers and hoped Pakistan would come up to their expectations of playing a memorable match.
But the day didn’t start well; rather it started with a bad omen. When I picked up the daily newspaper, the poorly worded heading made me shiver as it had a bad omen hidden in it. Read the headline given below carefully and you would agree with me.
The heading clearly said that “Today decides who goes to Mumbai, and who “goes home.” Since Indians were already in their home, there was no question of theirs going anywhere. It was Pakistani team which was away from home. And the bad omen indicated that they would be going home after the match. I do not believe in superstitions, so I shrugged off an editor’s ignorance and poor caption and hoped for the best for Pakistani team.
But unfortunately the bad omen had already cast its spell. Indians, winning the toss, decided to bat. And our trouble started. Our fast bowlers made them score at their leisure. Then a number of crucial catches of Indian smart guy Tendulkar were dropped, making him score 83. Before he could do any more harm, he was finally caught by captain Afridi. Although Wahab Riaz dismantled 5 for 44, it was Umar Gul once again who allowed the Indians to score handsomely before they set a hefty target of 261 for Pakistan.
And then came the Pakistani batsmen, who crumbled one after the other. It was Hafeez who scored handsomely before packing up while Kamran, Younis, and Razzaq humbled themselves and returned to pavilion without doing any damage to Indians, rather they damaged Pakistan more. Umar Akmal injected some life with his fiery six, but he too came back at 19. Misbah wasted lot of time on the crease by electing not to take runs and at one time was only 16 after having played more than four dozen balls.
It was only when Afridi came that he started to add on score towards the target. But Afridi who started off well, could not resist his usual high but shallow trajectory shot which cost him his wicket. Had Afridi held the ground, he along with Misbah could have easily reached the given target. Misbah then took control with the tail enders, but could not manage the tall target and despite his last ditch effort, Pakistan lost the match by 29 runs. Misbah ate up 76 deliveries for 56 when he finally was caught in the final over. Had Misbah kept even a moderate pace earlier, before Afridi came, Pakistan had all chances to win the match.
Pakistan had high hopes pinned on their team, but unfortunately the team’s dismal performance badly shattered the morale of people back home. The defeat could have been a victory had Pakistan played responsibly. Unfortunately the bad omen cast its spell on Pakistani squad and sent them packing home.
India now faces Sri Lanka in the finals. Who wins, I keep my fingers crossed.