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March 30, 2011

World Cup 2011

Crushed but not broken

Kamran Abbasi
Wahab Riaz claimed his maiden ODI five-for, India v Pakistan, 2nd semi-final, World Cup 2011, Mohali, March 30, 2011
Wahab Riaz's place was begrudged yet he turned the match on its head  © AFP
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Defeat hurts. You feel hollow and broken. You have been let down, misled. Your expectations falsely raised, your dreams dashed. It might be your favourite cricket team, your beloved football club, or your star tennis player. It doesn't matter how many times it happens. A true supporter is crushed, snapped in two. Today it is Pakistan cricket fans. By Saturday night we will be joined by Indians or Sri Lankans. You anticipate that this time you will be better prepared, more resilient. When defeat strikes, you realise you are just as devastated as the first time.

The immediate aftermath, those dark moments, are no time for analysis. No time to relive those pantomime dropped catches or your star bowler's transformation into a gibbering wreck. No time to reconcile the number of lives your team gifted the greatest batsman of his age as he played as woefully as anybody can remember.

No time to consider what makes a man lash a wide half volley to cover point for catching practice or swish a stupid Dilscoop when the bowlers were at his mercy. No time either to understand why a gifted young player would square cut a straight ball from a part-time bowler only to miss it. You probably wouldn't want to dwell on two ex-captains, your most experienced players, batting like debutants -- in the wrong format.

No, I'd forget all that. Instead, remember the coltish left-armer whose place was begrudged yet he turned the match on its head, placing you in a winning position. Remember your spin trio, weaving a spell of magic over the greatest players of slow bowling on the planet. Remember the flash of resistance from the young guns in your batting order. Remember, too, the defiance and the passion of your captain in the face of ridicule, much of it malicious and personal.

If you go down that route, you might remember that your team was indeed broken, perhaps to the point of destruction, only a few weeks ago, brought to its knees by unending scandal and inept administration. You might recall that your cricketers are in exile, on the verge of international isolation. You might not forget that your country has wars to fight on its borders and within them. You might remember that nobody gave your cricketers a prayer in this tournament and relished the prospect of their collapse.

By doing that you might wrench back some nascent memories from the pit of your soul. The horrors of 1987, 1996, 1999, and 2007 will engulf you once more, not just of the World Cups but the destructive inquisitions that followed. In those days you expected success, here, if you are honest, you can't have expected any more than was delivered. That was real pain, high expectations ripped asunder. This isn't.

Your journey will help you wait a while to judge who stays and who departs, though you have a good idea -- and that reckoning will come. Your journey will lead you to appreciate this Indian team for holding its nerve in the highest pressure game of its existence.

Your journey will also leave you with a sense of pride in the achievements of your unfavoured team because, for a week or two, despite the crushing end, Shahid Afridi and his brothers in exile reminded you of the joy and the thrilling expectation that once made Pakistan cricket great.

For that alone, that brief revival of ancient spirit, remember this World Cup campaign with fondness; a success for confounding all expectations. Today, this feels like the journey's end but it must be a new beginning.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Keywords: World Cup

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Posted by Meety on (April 18, 2011, 3:39 GMT)

If SRT had not been given 4 lives, the result probably would of been different. Did well, bad luck.

ps: Don't pick Kamran Akmal again - ever!

Posted by Gaurav Durgani on (April 16, 2011, 10:01 GMT)

Lets not glorify the losing team.. the simple fact is that the Indian team overall is much more superior to the Pakistani team

Posted by Ahmad Uetian on (April 14, 2011, 2:06 GMT)

@Akil Akhtar, you are spot on...........

Posted by bilal on (April 13, 2011, 11:16 GMT)

To me Pride comes with Glory. Good article. I sense pity in comments more than appreciation. 10 years down the line the history books will read "India beat Pakistan in WC 2011 semi-final", no one will mention the details. (details r not required anyways) However, this world cup wasn't a contest on the field, it was an auction nehind closed doors. I have played cricket for the past 16 years, but on a much lower level, but I can still say that even Shoaib Akhtar or Lee or even Wasim Akram, cannot force me to dead stop the balls in as late as 37th, 38th, overs, without even a hint of reverse swing. I don't think I need to say anything more. For those who know about cricket (Kamran Abbasi included) we all know that this world cup was a fu***** auction and not a sport. Well no money no honey! Cheers!

Posted by Akil Akhtar on (April 12, 2011, 1:39 GMT)

Tendulkar has proven again that he is not a player for big moments. only made 86 after getting 6 chances, any other batsman would have scored 150 with even a couple of chances. He is technically the most sound batsman but mentally weak that is why he mostly fails when india needs him under pressure.

Posted by Adnan on (April 11, 2011, 21:07 GMT)

This is the first comment I am writing after Pakistan lost. All these people who say it was a great game, good match, well played and so on are hollow words. The truth is none of this happened, Pakistan right from start looked like a team not wanting to win. They had reached semi finals and it was like winning world cup for them.

Posted by sudeep das on (April 10, 2011, 6:13 GMT)

Well written article from you after a long time. All said and done we need to appreciate the mental toughness of this Indian team and its tenacity to hang in till the last ball. Anyone who had followed Indian cricket over the past 2-3 years would agree to this transformation that has slowly crept into their system. It takes time but they are geting there eventually.

Posted by Ebad ullah abbasi on (April 8, 2011, 18:31 GMT)

i love it kamran bahi :) :) pakistan zindabad !!!!!

Posted by chinmay boriwal on (April 8, 2011, 9:23 GMT)

i am curiously looking for a person using "KIWIROCKER" name in cricinfo blogs and articles,who time and again said that india will be out of the world cup in the first round ! also that india is a much hyped team with no matchwinners.blah blah....!where he is now???r u still alive??? come face ...be brave buddy!!!!

Posted by Vishwa on (April 8, 2011, 7:35 GMT)

@ali_a: Please, stop making excuses and accept the defeat no matter whether you almost defeated India or not. In the end, it was a defeat! What is the excuse for the comprehensive defeat against New Zealand?! Moreover, India preparing for a year for the cup is matter of vision and planning; not a sign of weakness. You guys didn't even know who will be your captain till a few days before the cup...

Posted by Naveen on (April 5, 2011, 22:27 GMT)

Kamran bhai, I can imagine what a pakitsan fan is undergoing through. Sad day. But I am loving it

Posted by fhs on (April 5, 2011, 17:44 GMT)

Hiring a full time batting coach is what is required needed for Pakistanis. Bowling is superb! After watching games of other teams in WC 2011 including final, I must say that present Pakistan bowling side is the best. I mean it is the bowling which took them to the semi finals as they have been consistently taking the opposition bowled out (except NZ) throughout the tournament. Even in the semi final, they restricted India to 260/9 -- lowest for Indians in WC2011 despite 4 drop catches and less attacking captaincy.

Posted by harold on (April 5, 2011, 13:15 GMT)

What a waste of time – all round – kill each other – fight over a stupid bat and ball – is this intelligence? In the end, whether its Afridi’s mom or Gambhir’s mom – their love for their sons, and their tears for their sons are the same. Think of them and peace will reign. Why make any mother cry?

Posted by ali_a on (April 5, 2011, 0:34 GMT)

Well India had to win - they tried their best to keep Pak out of cricket. Even thought Pak lost- they showed that a team build just 4mos ago can almost defeat an Indian team (that has been preparing for the cup for 1 year). Where Pak needs to improve is to ask afidi and umer akmal to either stp up the ti batting or move. Afridi too predictable as a batsment ot opposition always getrs out on "halwa" balls. Now he is talking about the batting coach - but during the NZ tour when asked about how miandad was helping as batting coach, his ego stepped in. Its not going to help seniros like me, younis nd mishba but youngsters must learn. Mr. Afridi seeing the semis batting performance who needs whom as a batting coach now? If Pak seniors kept their egos to themeselves and honeslty take the batting lessons - we would've been winners today.

Posted by venky on (April 4, 2011, 18:13 GMT)

Where are you Kamran? Any new updates after the final?

I agree with some of the posters here. We should forget the ifs and buts (if Sehwag was not trapped lbw, could he have scored a century? If Shafiq didn't get out could he have done something special? What if the DRS system showed Sachin's ball going straight?) and look for positives.

Pak is always a talented team. If each of the players are committed and do well, the WI tour could be a success. India is also a talented team (it'd better be after all these years). Could they improve? Undoubtedly. The bowling could improve a whole lot.

IPL is beyond any cricket decision. That seems to be a national decison and is outside of the purview of "cricket" and this blog.

Let's enjoy the massive get-together at Mohali. Folks enjoyed in the stadium, we have a had great time watching TV. It was a great experience. Now's it time to leave that behind however and focus forward.

Improve,Improve, Improve.

Posted by chinmay boriwal on (April 4, 2011, 14:47 GMT)

I was waiting 4 this moment in my life!! I can die with happiness now!!may the ghosts of 2003 Wcup rest in peace!!A huge monkey is off the back now!!! as it is said that nothing succeeds like success I have some fascinating facts- -sri lanka lost both Wcup finals when they were outperformed by the wicketkeeper.Even in their T20 cup 2009 final,kamran demolished their bowling, -india won both ODI Wcups on saturday, -india started the campaign with a 4 and ended it with a 6, -india played their last and first match against the 2 teams with oustered then in 2007 Wcup, -Shane Warne emerged as "PAUL" of cricket, -sri lanka didn't beat any Wcup winning side in this Wcup, -mahela scored ton in a losing cause, -highest ever run chase in final, -274 was enough 4 srilanka 2 win..but they saw rajni & ghajini in crowd.. -home side jinx broken, -gambhir top scored under MS in both finals of 2007 t20 and this one, -srilanka drinking the tea in plate...coz india took away the cup.LOL

Posted by harold on (April 4, 2011, 11:00 GMT)

one thing is for sure - Pak fans would never be as gracious if India lost

Posted by Balaji Krishnamurthy on (April 3, 2011, 22:05 GMT)

Pakistan has to take stock now. Afridi has brought them back but a few decisions must be made. One, Misbah and Younus should play only tests. Afridi should concentrate on bowling and captaincy, and forget batting.Kamran Akmal must go.If Umar Akmal throws a tantrum, he should be warned.In Shafiq, Pakistan has found a fine new talent. More new talent should be blooded and persisted.

Posted by NEXT W.C IN OZZY on (April 3, 2011, 21:14 GMT)

covered up d bad article last time in brilliant way, hope pak doesnt bring bits n pieces fake allrounders like fawad alam,mohd hafeez,abdur rehman,after wasim akram afridi n razzak were d true allrounder{thought not since last 2 yrs} watching IPL without GOD gifted talented paki players will b like having tea without not just sugar but even without tea leaves

Posted by ali_a on (April 3, 2011, 17:43 GMT)

Nice atcicle Mr Abbasi. I must honeslty admint I did not expect Pak to go beyond Quarters, so it was greate joy to defeat the Aus. But some of the blame for Pak not advancing into finals lays with PCB (the same politics inside Pak when bourhgt into cricket hurt them). You had a captain who won you 20-20 and u sidelined him. Afrid maybe good leader and did gel the team well. But despite ddropping all the catches and miserable Pak batting. When Afrid came and it really mattered he shouldv'e shown more maturilty. And not fell into hands of Harbajan. How

Posted by K. RAVI CHANDRA on (April 3, 2011, 16:01 GMT)

Well written Kamran. Nobody gave Pakistan any chance prior to start of the World Cup. Still Pakistan reached the semi-final by shades of idividual brilliance and charismatic leadership of Afridi. Some things Pakistan needs to do is a) Weed out players unfi ODIs like Younis and Misbah (They are excellent Test cricketers but unfit for ODIs) and b) Do something about Akmal Brothers. They are holding Pakistan Cricket to ransom. If you try to discipline the elder Akmal by dropping him, the junior Akmal gets injured (deliberately, so as to prevent dropping of Kamran). This will not do in a National Cricket Team. These things are done in Gully cricket. Shoaib Akthar has retired and therefore one of the headaches is gone (he was of very little value to the team. It really hurt to see him huffing and puffing even to complete his run up). Now Pakistan Cricket under Shahid Afridi has only one way to go. UP. Best of luck.

Posted by Vivek on (April 3, 2011, 14:21 GMT)

India: World Champs.

Abbasi Sahab: Would you write something on the final of world cup???

Posted by unni on (April 3, 2011, 6:33 GMT)

Sad to watch Pakistan loosing... Afridi was brilliant as a captain... Bowling as brilliant as well... Pakistan needs more batsmen to occupy the crease for longer durations...

Posted by Vish from India on (April 3, 2011, 4:33 GMT)

I wish Afridi was captaining one of the IPL teams in 2011. Nice to see his animated and josh-full captainship.

Posted by jawwad on (April 2, 2011, 7:24 GMT)

Had tears in my eyes while reading this article and gesture showed by indian people giving their comments about this article and Shahid bhai u have made us proud u united the team who was going through a bad patch 6 wins out of 8 games is something to be proud and last but not the least the way u have lead the team no captain was matching ur leadership throughout the tournoment. We love u :)

Posted by Ubaid Azam on (April 2, 2011, 5:46 GMT)

Yes new beginning.

Posted by Salman on (April 2, 2011, 3:32 GMT)

It was a great effort by our team overall. Yes, we need new blood in the team and new strategy and a batting coach, neverthless, we did great and we are proud of our team!!! Pakistan Zindabad

Posted by vken on (April 1, 2011, 21:03 GMT)

Nice work Mr. Abbasi. I am an Indian and a great fan of cricket. I felt Pakistan has truly shown the world that even amidst all the crisis and controversies that they are one of the best cricket teams. Obviously being an Indian, I was supporting my nation's team but in the end the look on Afridi's face made me feel really bad. I felt he played like a great leader in this World Cup and will continue to do so in future. And as my fellow Indian said above, hope cricket can bring peace between these two great nations. And hope you continue writing such beautiful articles. Bless You!

Posted by qasim on (April 1, 2011, 20:47 GMT)

Great article... wow! wow! thank you to all indians for your kind thoughts and all comments. This is the first time in my life I'm reading something positive about pk from some indians. I'm so much happy... Thank you once again. Thanks a lot

Posted by Sha Ali on (April 1, 2011, 19:32 GMT)

Lovely article. After the lost you could go down the road to misery and destruction or choose the path to calmness, patience and understanding. As an Indian it gives me great pleasure to see the great respect the players on both sides have given to each other. A real gentleman's game was displayed by Sahid Afridi and Dhoni and their respective teams. I hope that the politicians on both sides of the border appreciate the connections of these players and learn something from this. Many thanks to Afridi to pull the team together...he is a great cricketer with a big heart and shows love and appreciation even when down and out. May we win it all come Saturday.

Posted by R. Madhavan on (April 1, 2011, 17:37 GMT)

Lovely article and well done Mr. Abbasi!! I am an Indian and I am truly happy and amazed by the genuine admiration and affection for Pakistan cricketers (though not Pakistan cricket) expressed by so many Indian fans!! And how lovely it would be to have these wonderful cricketers ( and as Afridi quietly showcased in the post match conference - wonderful human beings as well!)in IPL!! I think cricket, fans and common public would succeed in bringing love & peace to our countries than our famously failing politicians!

Posted by Haseeb on (April 1, 2011, 15:25 GMT)

Great article. Pakistan played with great spirit throughout the tournament.Afridi's captaincy was impressive. After Great Imran Khan i found similar leadership qualities in Afridi's captaincy, but he was unlucky to lift the trophy. We need a batting coach and fielding coach. Selectors must say good bye to Misbah, Younis, Razzaq and Kamran Akmal.

Posted by HaryanviJaat on (April 1, 2011, 11:30 GMT)

Hello Kamran sir,

Great article. Pakistan played really well throughout the world cup.They were struggling before the world cup and no one expected them to go that far. They played as a team and showed character. Their batting and fielding still needs to be improved quite a lot. Afridi captaincy was great. I used to think Afridi as an annoying character but after this World cup, I am his big admirer and a big fan. No doubt, I adore him now.

Regards Deepak gill

Posted by Lateef on (April 1, 2011, 7:45 GMT)

time to axe Yunis, Misbah and Kamran.....please groom young blood this is the best time, Players like Hammad Azam, Raza Hasan Usman Qadir, Babar Azam, Anwar Ali....should be given chance now, its high time....

Posted by Imran Khan on (April 1, 2011, 7:33 GMT)

enough is enough, time to do changes, Misbah, Yunis, Kamran, Razzaq out of the team. Under 19 players selected for the west Indies tour and start working for the future. Thanks

Posted by Raja on (April 1, 2011, 7:22 GMT)

I'm going to do another take on this article. I'm going to say my team, Canada, beat themselves and Pakistan did NOT beat Canada. If we didn't beat ourselves we would have beaten Pakistan. Pakistan just got lucky. I'm proud of Canada, especially since our team of amateurs that practiced in the snow for 6 months of the year, and comprised by a wicket keeper-captain, whose regular day job is as an investment banker, nearly beat Pakistan. Vive Le Canada! Go Canada!

Posted by major a giri on (April 1, 2011, 7:13 GMT)

Dear Abbas Wonderfully written article.One who loves sports would appreciate the most sensible article.No place for politics in sport .The pakistani cricketers were magnanimous in defeat .Winning and losing is part and parcel of any game. Well done afridi and the other members of the team.i salute u for the way u conducted yourself

Posted by Muhammad Zubair on (April 1, 2011, 7:04 GMT)

Overall it was great battle ...Sehwag assault ( 350 on card) ....Tenduldar riding his luck ( still 300) Pak Spin Strangled India ( 250-275) Riaz rises ( Below 250?) Riana Rallies ( 260 Final) Pak Openers Classsic Drives ( Easy Target ) Indian Bowlers Slowly Make Presence Felt ( Tottering Batting )Umar Akmal Hits out ( Game on) Umar Razzaq Afridi Fall ( Match Lost ) Misbah Strikes Few ( Game On Again???) Indian Bowlers Hold Nerve ....Victory

Posted by Muhammad Zubair on (April 1, 2011, 7:03 GMT)

1. This match was much closer than it seemed . Razaaq Afridi Or Umar had just to hang around until the PP3 and the game was on 2. PP3 .... Should have been taken when Razzaq came in 3. Dhoni made a mistake with No- Ashwin but got away with it . Patel bowled very well 4. Afridi took a gamble with Riaz and he rose to Occasion . Yuvraaj will remember that yorker forever What a Ball ...Best Full Toss Ever 5. Indian Bowling gave their best performance when it mattered .Also Fielding ..Pak had the worst Fielding Day ... 6. Umar Gul went for 10/over ( what a time to have your worst spell ) and this was crucial if he had fired India would have bundled for below 200 7. Pakistan Spin Bowling bamboozling All even Sachin was a sight 8. Raina extended the score to beyond 250 which is a huge barrier

Posted by Pavan on (April 1, 2011, 6:59 GMT)

Pakistan was one of the Strongest Team in the WC, in fact everyone predicted PAK Vs SA Final, but... Anyways they have a nice team and great set of young players..

Regarding IPL, Correct me If I;m wrong, I think it was Pakistan who first refused to send their players to India on Security Grounds in IPL 2, The Bureaucrats in PAK were acting smart & egoistic Indian Bureaucrats doing tit for tat.. Ultimately the Spectators of both the nation are missing the amazing encounters..

Posted by Atiq Bajwa on (April 1, 2011, 6:55 GMT)

Wahab bowl like real jem remind us all of greta Akram even with drop catches we were in the match but our batting lets us down. I strongly belive in place of Younis and Misbah if we had Yousaf amd Malik we would have won the game with few overs to spare.

Malik and Yousaf record speak it self they both are still Pakistan premium ODI batsmen and knows how to build an inning.

MIsbah nad Younis stuck in middle putting too much pressure on likes of Umar, Razzaq nad Afridi I hope PCB get Malik back in sqaud for ODI and T20.

Posted by Em Que on (April 1, 2011, 6:26 GMT)

Excellent! Afridi 11 gave the nation alot more than what what was expected ... hats of to a great world cup run by team Pakistan ...

Posted by Rizwan Takkhar on (April 1, 2011, 5:36 GMT)

When we lost the match, my immediate reaction was to stop following Cricket forever. I was heartbroken and shattered. Reading your article has kind of made me change my mind, Mr. Abbasi. Long live Pakistan Cricket!

Posted by Nadia on (March 31, 2011, 23:36 GMT)

Great article!

Pakistan cricket's 2 major concerns- weak captaincy and weakened bowling attack. If we have gained Afridi and Wahab and solved these dilemmas than Pakistan may have lost the battle, but won the war.

Posted by Karim on (March 31, 2011, 23:19 GMT)

A wonderfully well written article Kamran as always. I agree with Taha Lateef. Pakistan lost the game rather than the Indians winning it. In the end, as Zaltzman says in his blog, Pakistan beat Pakistan. Given the inexplicable events such as not taking the power play until the umpires forced them to, and a complete lack of imagination during the chase such as not promoting either Afridi or Razzak up the order to regain the impetus, this team were no doubt wearing their 'Clueless in Karachi' t-shirts on the plane back home. The sum of their ambitions was reaching the semi-final and it showed.

Posted by criclover on (March 31, 2011, 23:09 GMT)

Though I am an Indian, I love everyone from Pak team. This team really did well in the absence of star players and facing so many troubles before WC. Man I wonder how much talent that Pak has, you guys can build totally a new team and still beat best team in the world. Awesome Job! I miss Indo-Pak series, definetely one match is not enough!

Hope to see something soon...

Posted by oops on (March 31, 2011, 22:29 GMT)

kamran, your best article that i've read to-date (and they're all good). you've written from the heart. its lennonesque in the baring of the soul.

congratulations to india in heaps!!!! they played better under pressure. also, i salute them for their hospitality and the good grace of their prime minister.

as to pakistan, under afridi, waqar and intikhab, they have gelled as a unit in the most abhorrent environment and played their hearts out. some brilliant young players like umar, asad and riaz have been discovered. some of the old baggage can be let go (and i don't mean shoaib; the world is sorry to see him go) now. younus and misbah have shown that pakistan hasn't produced brave young reliable batters to replace these shaking-in-the-boots timid but reliable players.

above all, its afridi who has blossomed into a great leader of men, a kumble-esque bowler of much guile, and pakistan's best ambassador. as always, he remains the most joy to watch cricketer anywhere.

Posted by Taha Lateef on (March 31, 2011, 21:55 GMT)

It is because we love our team, that we feel grieved by the loss. The day that love turns into an apathy, these losses would not hurt any more. The reason why it hurts even more, is because India did not win it with their brilliance but Pakistan lost it with their mediocrity. Also I think that Sachin did his repo a favour by not getting to a hundred. A below par innings from the greatest and the most respected batsmen and icon of world cricket did not merit being the hundredth hundred.

Posted by cool engr on (March 31, 2011, 21:47 GMT)

Pak lost bcz they did not play their finest batsmanafter Inzmam SHOAIB MALIK

Posted by Buriro on (March 31, 2011, 21:32 GMT)

No doubt Afridi, Waqar and the team management have done an exceptional job in uniting the team once again. But I dont agree with the way Afridi led the team. I am also fan of Afridi. It is he who had to take decisions in the field like using powerpaly effeicienly, as a batsman andor in a do or die match, he just got himself out on a ball could be thrashed for six. He didnt use Razzaq properly just kept on trying Gul. Razzaq was outstanding against West Indies and australia See figures 3-1-4-1, see aginst Australia 4-0-8-2. Even though he was just given 4 overs against Aus.I believe Afridi has something wrong with Razzaq, PCB should look into the matter.

Posted by safwan umair on (March 31, 2011, 20:39 GMT)

so close yet so far. It may take years to build another potential world cup winning team. Well played to Afridi and his men. But, this was a soul-crushing defeat. Having said that, Pakistan cricket might have just turned a new leaf. This world cup and the preceding two series have heralded the beginning of a new, resilient era. Surely the fielding and batting needs improvement. Yet, A tragedy today could be a blessing tomorrow. Pakistan zindabad, today and forever inshA' Allah .

Posted by Gurmit Singh on (March 31, 2011, 20:26 GMT)

I had lot of Pakistani friends working here with me in Seattle. We enjoyed the game and it was heartening to see that the city of Chandigarh was delighted to host people across the border. Even though all the hotels were booked, I heard people opening their home and welcoming people across the border as their guest. This is very very good to know.

Afridi was at his best in the Post match presentation and showed that he is a true gentleman. All the best to Afridi.His team did its best and shall do much better in future.

Cricket!! and sports in general always win and has potential to make borders meaningless

Posted by T.Afzal on (March 31, 2011, 20:26 GMT)

It really suprises me that journalists do not raise more questions regarding the selection of the Pakistan criket team. The loss against India was predictable. It is not clear on what basis M. Hafeez, Y. Khan, Misbahulhaq, and K. Akmal continue to be selected. All of have failed miserably time after time in big games. Why would anyone believe that they would come through this time? I have said Pakistan selectors are clowns, and the performance of Pakistan in the semi-final proved my point. Pakistan should have openers who are specialist batmen, and give chances to deserving youngsters. This should have happened a few years ago. However, because there is no accountability, we are left with watching the same incompetent and useless players time after time come up short in big games. Until journalists like yourself begin criticizing the selectors and hold them accountable for their choices, I don't see things changing.

Posted by Kamran on (March 31, 2011, 19:49 GMT)

Very Well. One very important point that you all have forgotten to mention. I believe the main person and guiding force behind this UNITY, the ability to play as a UNIT, the strategist, is Waqar Younis. Very well done Waqar! You did a great job in bringing the confidence, the ability to fight and the discipline.

Posted by sherali virjee on (March 31, 2011, 19:46 GMT)

Before going out for the World Cup, we should have searched for a replacement for Yunus Khan,Misbah and Razzak. These old lions have lost their teeth. They should be out of our team immediately. We should also be training a new wicket keeper.

It is history but 260 was not beyouns our reach had Misbah and Younus not wasted cricketing balls.Missed catches of Tendulcar would have definitely made a big big difference. Afridi keep up the good job.

Posted by ahmad shahzad on (March 31, 2011, 19:41 GMT)

This is not happened first time,

Posted by Shahzad on (March 31, 2011, 19:26 GMT)

Droping catches is usual, Pakistani's dropped four catches against Sri Lanka, 5 catches against W.Indies and 5 against N.Zealand. Two of these matches they won despite these drop catches. Actual point is their batting failed, not failed but correctly their nerves did remain in place. I would say if Muhammad Yousaf and Shoaib Malik had been in the team in place of Misbah and Younis Khan, the situation would have been different with different result.

Posted by Ali Khattak on (March 31, 2011, 19:24 GMT)

As a Pakistani, I am addressing my comment to all of my fellow countrymen who are sore losers. Please don't try to take away the credit from the Indian team. Roger Federer is a great player, but he shares one aspect with you that I find detestable: he refuses to give credit to his opponent.

India defeated us by being better in:

1) batting 2) fielding

They also ran us close in bowling by not giving away any extras or freebies. Let us admit that we lost to the better team, and thank them for exposing our weaknesses.

We should also stop criticizing players like Misbah who has proven himself in the last 13 ODIs or so (including the NZ series). We shouldn't forget his good work due to one bad game.

Last, but not least, I am very proud of the team that proved all the naysayers wrong.

Posted by zainab on (March 31, 2011, 19:19 GMT)

Well written article! Thank you!!! Afridi is a man of grace and he showed that with his game and his speech at the end. We won 6 out of the 8 matches played!! How can we complain!! We are so proud of our boys and our Superb captain!!

Posted by k.qureshi on (March 31, 2011, 19:10 GMT)

Pakistan lost on all three most important factors for this game.1.Toss 2.Nerves 3.Grabbing opportunities.What hurts is that India's performance was so poor that Pakistan always had a shot and looked they may pull it.In the end somebody has to do it and Pak batsmen could not do it for variety of mistakes mentioned by all.Very well written Kamran,however the only way to forget this is SL beats Ind and all will be nice and dandy again till we meet in T20 and Champions Trophy.

Posted by Raj on (March 31, 2011, 18:58 GMT)

I am Indian. I was impressed by the friendly and magnanimous behavior of Shahid Afridi. I had never liked him before but now I think I like him better than Dhoni. I hope and pray for peace in India and Pakistan and that Pakistan can resume playing in their homeland again, and there are many Indo-Pakistan Test series. Peace

Posted by Yasir on (March 31, 2011, 18:55 GMT)

A very positive article. All Pakistanis should apply it.

Posted by Shahid on (March 31, 2011, 18:30 GMT)

It's strange that people praise Wahab, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq and some others but every one is forgetting Hafiz's bowling and 43 runs.

Posted by Dr.Hunain on (March 31, 2011, 18:25 GMT)

IM PROUD OF MY TEAM....Afridi, you have made us proud....you fought hard, with vigor, hunger and the will to win....will always support you!!!Well done, and hoping to see our team in action in the comning series against WI

Posted by IB on (March 31, 2011, 18:25 GMT)

We saved the power play for the next world cup.

Posted by Shahid on (March 31, 2011, 18:21 GMT)

An agonizing wait to get a chance to beat india in a world cup match. The only consolation i can find is in a statement that comes to mind again and again i.e "India didn't win the match, Pakistan lost it". A very sensible decision for Pakistan would be to get rid of Kamran Akmal and Younis Khan. This is not a knee jerk reaction but i have always been of the view point that Pakistan needs specialist cricketers and not "bits and peices" cricketers. Younis is a good test batsman but doesn't deserve a place in ODI. Kamran Akmal is an automatic omission. I hope we make good decisions in the aftermath, sooner rather than later.

Posted by Jayaram on (March 31, 2011, 18:20 GMT)

Pakistan lost the semi finals but Afridi has surely won the hearts of Indian sports fans!

Posted by Hira on (March 31, 2011, 17:59 GMT)

Well written and true depiction of our emotions ! I'd never thought that I'd feel so proud of our team on the very next day of losing this important match. Afridi and his team did more than what was expected of them given their condition in this tournament. The incredible match against WI, the astonishing defeat of Australia and a truly entertaining and challenging match with India despite all the pressure in Mohali. Our nation is, no doubt, proud of our team ! Worlcup or no worldcup , they have gifted us with that marvellous spirit we had long forgotten !

Posted by Zul on (March 31, 2011, 17:45 GMT)

Beautifully written. As an eternal fan of Pakistan Cricket, I would convey the same message to our nation. Love them for the honour they brought to us. We owe them the immense joy for their great performance in the field.

Posted by VIvek on (March 31, 2011, 17:44 GMT)

Being an Indian, for the first time ever, I almost had tears in my eyes for some reason when Afridi was speaking at post match press meet. I never ever liked him throughout his 10+ year career. But yesterday, I felt really moved by him. Hope the idiot pakistani administration will not kick him out and replace him with another amateur captain. One thing I cannot comprehend is why Afridi plays so illogically as a batsmen and so logically as a bowler. Its almost a split personality. Lot of captains vehemently supported him saying thats his style of play but it really doesnt make sense. Great to see India win, on the other hand sad to see pakis leave. Cmon Pak, breed a new generation of the Imran's wasim's waqar's not to forget Miandad's and Anwar's. Good Luck. unfortunate that next world cup is too far away

Posted by fhs on (March 31, 2011, 17:42 GMT)

I think the current Pakistan side is very good. No need to make any changes but we do need some improvements in 3 areas - fielding, wicket keeping and attacking approach in the field.

Go Pakistan

Posted by Sanju on (March 31, 2011, 17:39 GMT)

Very moving article Kamran!!! I have started to become an Afridi fan, he was all bravado personified!!!

Posted by unclesagga on (March 31, 2011, 17:37 GMT)

A wise person once said "a true winner is never a good loser and a good loser is never really a winner"... U can read the comments and classify the pakistani supporters, team pak and the captain yourself.

Posted by Umair Ali on (March 31, 2011, 17:30 GMT)

Dear Kamran ,

You use alot of words to explain small things, you must have got good no.s in ur exams :d just kidding

Its good but way too above in word count and using simple langauge will make fore sense

And PPL who says Pakistan team sucks ....comeon man this isnt fair.... captain not announced early , pcb in despair and still u think Pak can lift cup .... no be realistic ... Its a big achievement to be part of semi final Alhamdulliah....

God Bless u All !

Posted by vikram on (March 31, 2011, 17:23 GMT)

It is good for this sport that Pakistan has finally found a great captain and some very good players. I am amazed at Umar Akmal. Nurture him. Afridi should be retained captain across all formats for a couple of years for this team to grow. I am sure the day is not far when this bunch of players can be the world beaters. As far as this world cup goes, pakistani fans should be proud of the way their players have performed. There is no shame in losing after a good fight. They lost to a better side, but with their heads held high. had they held on to those catches, who knows, anything would have been possible. Very well done Afridi. The way you have handeled yoursef is worth your weight in gold. I think India/pakistan should be playing more often in the future. Let the corrupt politicians be the hosts for one another, but the fans want nothing more than a decent game of cricket. I am sure next time pakistani team is in India, it will be received with garlands. Very well played pakisn!

Posted by Asif on (March 31, 2011, 17:18 GMT)

It is time now for younus and mizbah to retire from from onedays.Why can't they be honest like afridi who retired from tests.They should learn from the indians laxman and dravid who r never included in the shorter formats.Fielding is always the problem for pakistan but the way the seniors younus and mizbah blocked balls after balls playing 65 dot balls which i consider the major problem with pakistan.Pakistan were cuising along nicely but these two over rated seniors put pressure on the batsmen to follow by playing too slowly and not rotating the strike.Afridi should have taken the power play as soon as he walked in and that would have put the pressure on the indians and also afridi should have come to bat @ # 3 or 4 as every one knows afridi never bats under pressure and all his previous records indicate that he excels when ever he bats in the top order.The 20/20 world cup win and his other match winning performances r clear cut prooves that he can perform better @ the top.

Posted by Waqas Ali on (March 31, 2011, 17:16 GMT)

Pakistan team did perform well overall in the world cup except in the Semi final.I dont agree with the opinion that this Pakistani is a weak team as compare to India or Sri Lanka.Remember same team have defeated Sri Lanka and Australia and if u look on paper this team looks as good as any other strong team.Team has world class batsmen and bowlers,but as routine two things which are lacking in Pakistan's team are fielding problems and stable mind set under pressure.This team like most of past Pakistani teams is weak in fielding which actually have cost the team this semifinal and as expected they did not perform well when they got under pressure.Every one talking about Umer Gul poor bowling,poor batting performance,Misbah's very slow batting and 3rd power play was not taken around 40th over in this match.Sure they were contributing factors,but in my opinion 6 dropped catches were the MAIN reason for Pakistan team's defeat.HOW U CAN WIN SEMI FINAL OF WORLD CUP AFTER DROPPING 6 CATCHES ?

Posted by Zulfiqar Ali on (March 31, 2011, 17:13 GMT)

Nice Article. But the pain is still there. I don't understand why everyone praises Afridi's captaincy. My humle opinion is that his captaincy is at worst. First he used Umar Gul in the end, despite knowing the fact that his confidence is shattered by early assault from Sehwag. Again I think this is worst part of the captaincy for not using batting powerpaly when he was at crease. This is not understandable why Pakistan is getting powerplay at the end. Anyways, good luck Pakistan.

Posted by nicky on (March 31, 2011, 16:49 GMT)

This was a bad loss.....Pakistan lost with the game handed to us on a silver platter at the end of India's innings, big stage games are psychological...looks like we have to wait another 4 years.....Pakistan need to modernize infrastructure, training or we are seriously going to be left behind....

Posted by Assad on (March 31, 2011, 16:35 GMT)

thank you, this made my day! please write more such articles to remind us of what we ought to be reminded of in times like these!

Posted by Hammad Akram Mughal on (March 31, 2011, 16:33 GMT)

WOW... every word takes the pain away and fills my heart with a new hope.. great write up Kamran.

Posted by CompassionateCricketFan on (March 31, 2011, 16:32 GMT)

Very well written article. In fact, it is so well written that for a moment I almost felt sorry for my pakistani brothers. But in the end, WE WON!! :-D

On a serious note, Afridi was a cricketer I never liked, being an ardent Indian. But after this performance and attitude I actually felt bad for him. I hope he stays at the helm of the team, but I also hope he gets some good cricketers he can lead. Other than Afridi and Wasim Jr. (Wahad Riaz), this Pakistani team was probably the worst we have played against. You say Umar Akmal is a good batsman, well let me tell you something. He might be a good batsmen (and I HIGHLY doubt it) but he needs to work on his attitude. At times it feels like he is playing for his joke of a wicket-keeping brother Kamran Akmal. Shouldn't he be playing for pakistan instead?

Posted by BJ on (March 31, 2011, 16:26 GMT)

Well written Kamran bhai :) Pakistan surely proved alot even goin through the controversies and all and therez a CHANGE in afridi's attitude ever since hez charged with captaincy. a Positive change! Hez handled the team well. mashaALLAH n our nation is proud of them.

Pakistan Zindabad :')

Posted by Jawad Mir on (March 31, 2011, 16:23 GMT)

I honestly have nothing but praise for our Team and Afridi. People must not point fingers. Yes we made mistakes but that's cricket. And no we didn't drop catches to gain some $. We lost to a better team and nerve got to us.

That being said, let's face it 8 months ago no one thought we would make this far but instead we as a nation were complaining how other nations including India have conspired against us to rob us of our best bowlers. Guess what's it's not that. What's done, we all know, it has nothing to do with anyone but ourselves and despite all that Afridi and his team took us so close. I only feel for our team because in 2 years, this is a third loss in semi final but I don't think any other team has consistently come this far in Champs Trophy, T20 and now World Cup.

Let's give our heros a warm welcome when they come home, alas they are the only reason we as a nation unified on March 30th, 2011. Support them so they can give us another reason to be unified.

Posted by sagar on (March 31, 2011, 16:18 GMT)

PAKISTAN 1DAY SQUAD FOR WEST INDIES TOUR :- 1 M Hafeez,,2 Babar Azam,,3 Asad Shafiq,,4 Zain Abbas,,5 Umar Akmal,,6 Shahid Afridi (captain) 7 A Razzaq (vise captain) 8 Anwar Ali 9 Hammad Azam 10 Umar Gul 11 Mohammed Rizwan (WK) 12 S Ajmal 13 A Rehman 14 Wahab Riaz 15 Azhar Ali.

Posted by Khalid Shahzad on (March 31, 2011, 16:18 GMT)

Hats off to Shahid Afridi for bening a wonderful sportsman and a leader.He did the nation proud and the way he conducted himself off the field must put lots of politicians to shame. I do have issues with Yunus and Misbah who i dont think shouldnt be a part of this team By the way trying to hit sixes in the last over was a cruel joke with the nation by Misbah

Posted by Latifa-a Paki on (March 31, 2011, 16:14 GMT)

Mr Abbasi, Any plans of writing the Ind-Pak 6-5 article, I guess you should use some energy on that one.

Also not sure if noticed but look at the highlights when Riaz took a wicket even the Indian supporters applauded but the Rawalpindi Express was as sad as a slaughtered chicken .. Before you change your management think about some changes in the people who represent you on the big stage.

Posted by Balaji Santhanam on (March 31, 2011, 16:11 GMT)

Fantastic article Kamran...i am an Indian, but trust me .....Pak team is one of the few teams which makes cricket worth watching..wat with its raw talent on show...it was a fantastic performance by this Pak team through this world cup and boy oh boy...Afridi has won over a whole of Indians am sure in this world cup and i am most definitely one of them....he is just been terrific in this world cup in terms of his performance, guidance and his attitude in general.....i just hope all the controversies around Pak team subsides, the players focus on cricket and provide us the joy of watching Pakistan team on the field at their best...they definitely are one of the best when they are on song...Good Luck...

Posted by mahrukh on (March 31, 2011, 16:08 GMT)

ahhhhhhhhhhhhh:( i still cant believe we lost the match:( we dropped 6 catches:( we dropped sachin four times:( ahhh cannnnnn u believe that?:(((((( par tum jeeto ya haaro sunnooooooo humein tum se pyaar hai....better luck next time..Insha Allah

Posted by Ram on (March 31, 2011, 15:59 GMT)

Indian team won because they held their nerves. It was amazing display of bowling by youngster Wahab Riaz..made me think that Wasim Akram somehow hoodwinked the team management. I will not be lying if i said..Pakistan has invested in a great young team for the future. The Akmal brothers need to play for pakistan..yes they have made mistakes but that will make them stronger. As an Indian fan it has been a long wait for India to lift the cup..if not now when? We still do not have a young bowling unit beyind WC!..did you folks think about that. Pakistan is a couple of years ahead already on this. Think about it.

Posted by Jay on (March 31, 2011, 15:57 GMT)

I can feel your pain Pakistani supporters BUT come on give credit to India cause they were the better team. I see a lot of Indians here praising the Pakistani team and not many Pakistanis doing the same for India. So what does this mean? it means most Pakistani hate Indians and the Indian team. So there is no need for any mascara or polish talk. Hatred is there to stay between the two people. Speaking of cricket, Pakistan got it all wrong in their batting department. Misbah and Younis were pathetic and showed why they DON'T belong in the one day team. Umar Akmal should have been promoted to no. 3 and Afridi should have taken the powerplay as soon as he came. Too bad they didn't and the men in blue proved victorious. I back India to lift the world cup on Saturday night. Why? cause it's they have all the home support and they are high on confidence. This team can do anything. Bad luck Pakistan and all the best India. JAI HIND !!

Posted by The Don on (March 31, 2011, 15:43 GMT)

Only one thing was odd... The use of batting powerplay. Pakistan should have used it when Afridi was there. It could have helped him hit some over the infield shots. Ofcourse, There is no guarantee... and everybody is scared of that batting powerplay. India played their powerplay very cautiously but ended up okay with 43/1.

But it was a good game of cricket. Pakistan was always in the game until last 2 overs. Misbah is very unpredictable. No one knows when he was gonna change gears. But pitch became difficult as he also could not hit every ball out of the ground even when he wanted to. Tendulkar also had same trouble getting the elevation for shots. 2 of those catches were supposed to go over the in-field for fours. But he could not time it. India won good toss. Pakistan bowled a lot better once Sehwag was gone. India could have played similarly if they were chasing... Now I would say ... Good job Pakistan.. Keep playing good clean cricket and stay away from distractions, bookies ;-)

Posted by muzz on (March 31, 2011, 15:42 GMT)

Pakistan lacked commitment/some one will do it but not me 'syndrome'/ big 'gob' syndrome/praying to 'GOD' syndrome - please donot send the catch or the ball my way/self praise 'syndrome' I am ranked 78th but still the best?/also they have low self esteem - syndrome. Kamran Abbasi get real - I was the one who supported Younis to bring in a year ago but now I am regretting it. I think the youngsters have proved that they will improve and rise to occasion rather than keeping the people on names only needs to make real decisions.It hurts to loose any way but the way the have lost it needs a new word 'loosing attitude syndrome' Pakistan have the loosing attitude since the topped the group - they have acheived what they wanted - a loss against INDIA. By the way all praise to India for crushing Pakistanis.

Posted by Nikhil Soneja on (March 31, 2011, 15:40 GMT)

Pakistan had just 2 bad days in this entire tournament (2.5 if you consider the batting against Canada), and played with more spirit and application than has been seen in a long time...so they lost a semi-final, so what? Great things are ahead for the team under Afridi provided they don't get caught up in recrimination. The way they played this time was a delight for even non-partisan spectators...not since Imran has a Pakistan captain been this influential in elevating his team.

Posted by Hussain on (March 31, 2011, 15:34 GMT)

Not sure how can someone not blame Misbah for this defeat. The pitch was slow, yes, the ball was not coming on to the bat, yes, but you have other batsmen hitting fours and sixes at the other end and you can't even take a single off 5 balls? Surely there is more to it than what we saw. Not hinting at any match fixing as such but I am sure this game was not without some political pressure.I am surprized even Osman Samiuddin who comes across as fair and straightforward writer tried to deflect the blame off Misbah. Catches were dropped but thats nothing new. 260 was still gettable. The only positive I hope we get out of this defeat is the exclusion of Kamran Akmal and his lobby even if that means kicking out Umar Akmal- No player is bigger than the national pride

Cricket seems more like WWF these days

Posted by MaheshG on (March 31, 2011, 15:33 GMT)

Interesting to see good wishes from Indians towards the Pakistani team but not one from a Pakistani towards the Indian team. Sore losers are never magnanimous in defeat. This doesn't apply to Afridi and team though. They were fabulous.

Posted by WellDone on (March 31, 2011, 15:27 GMT)

It was an amazing match and it did live upto the expectatios. In the end, the team that was more adaptive and the team which held the nerve, won the match. But I would not give much chance to the the same Pak team in the future.Today you all may say that Pak team has done much more than what was expected of them, but Im pretty sure there will be another scandal, another damning series and another botch up sometime within a year, mark my words. Dont forget Pak is the most unpredictable and undisciplined team among the test playing nations.And Pakistan as a society has a history of trying to convince themselves that all is well, just because of one positive news. For this to be rectified(atleat with regards to Pak cric team), the whole cricket administration should be reformatted and ex-players like Wasim Akram should be bought in. Else the yearly cycle of humiliation and jubiliation will continue to haunt pak team.

Posted by Nadeem Khan on (March 31, 2011, 15:19 GMT)

Heart broken but satisfied with TEAM-AFRIDI.

Posted by sreedhar on (March 31, 2011, 15:19 GMT)

Friends,The gentlemanly conduct of both teams players was exemplary.This is the first time I felt for Pakistan team & it was my second favorite team after India.It is heartening to note that several hardcore Pakistani team baiters have started having change of heart.

Posted by mohammed F Ahmed on (March 31, 2011, 15:18 GMT)

Well written article kamran bhai.Forget what happened,now built a team for next world cup.Afridi31 can play another worldcup give him some talented players and allow him to built one day team for future.There are very talented players like : zain Abbas,Umair Khan,Aqeel Anjum,Lal Kumar,Azeem Ghumman,Fawad Alam,Naved Yaseen,Hammad Azam, Baber Azam, Raza Hasan,Saad Nasim,Yasir Shah,Gulraiz Sadaf ( WK),Rizwan Hyder, Anwer Ali,Junaid Khan,Usman Salauddin,Waqas Ahmed,Wahab Riyaz,Asad Shafiq and Umer Akmal,Khalid Usman,Asad AliSarfaraz Ahmed(W.Keeper),Rameez Alam.Use these players from time to time and built a solid team. Develop a Future Captain,Afridi and Younus Khan should built the Team. For future Thought.

Posted by Aamir Manzoor Gazi on (March 31, 2011, 15:18 GMT)

cricket is a game , you win some and you loose some, although you cant justify 5 loses in world cup to one single team, still pakis played there best in this tournament, but some of seniors have to think about their future, younis khan, and misbah shud retire, razaak has couple of years still left and please change this wicket keeper....get some young guys, asad , umar akmal and wahab some of the positives from this tournament, best of luck to pakis for next assignments,,,,afridi we all are proud of your team, i never expected you will go so far ....

Posted by Deep on (March 31, 2011, 15:12 GMT)

look folks

no one in India begrudges the great pakistani talent. In fact we are in permanent awe of the superb fast bowling resources you guys seem to have. Wasim Akram is my favorite all time paceman. I wish India had 50% of the fast bowling talent that Pakistan has, and we would never lose a game again.

However, not letting Pakistan players in the IPL is a political decision that cant and shouldnt be easily changed. The fact remains that the Mumbai attacks originated from Pakistani territory. Most likely people in pakistani establishment (whether it be GHQ or ISI) were clearly involved in planning, helping and executing these dastardly attacks. The political machinery in Pakistan has not helped, or not been able to help in this matter -this is something that should have been done but wasnt. We are upset that these jihadis are able to wage war on India from Pakistani soil and it shouldnt happen. We are therefore not for Pakistani players playing in the IPL untill..

Posted by fred karmally on (March 31, 2011, 15:09 GMT)

Good thing this match was not in England. NOTW would have screamed 'match fixing' - dropped catches, Gul's opening over, Misbah's strange batting, the delayed batting powerplay. Nevertheless some players need to be dropped - from the 10th floor. Only thing that was consistent was the shots to throw away wickets. But amidst all this, let us not take away a well deserved bowling performance from Afridi through the tournament.

Posted by Bosco Martyres on (March 31, 2011, 14:55 GMT)

Fabulous article Kamran. Now for some analysis. Pakistan let themselves down by: 1. A captain who cannot think Strategically ( Examples: batting powerplay not used effectively, persisting with Umar Gul at the end, and numerous other lapses)2.Too many old men on the team ( Younis, Misbah, Razzaq) 3. Inept wicket keeping 4.Terrible fielding 5.Unimaginative, irresponsible batting ( Misbah, Hafeez). ODI cricket is a wonderful type of cricket. Sadly Pakistan has too many weaknesses in key areas. Still, hats of to the team for getting as far as they did.

Posted by agm on (March 31, 2011, 14:39 GMT)

@aabbs7: I think for a batsman to be LBW the ball has to be hitting the stumps.

Well written Kamran.

Posted by abhay on (March 31, 2011, 14:37 GMT)

Geez, this article is similar in tone and emotion to what a teary-eyed mother would write on her daughter's wedding day. Please keep the insightful stuff for cricinfo, this article is better off in your personal diary.

Posted by faizan on (March 31, 2011, 14:31 GMT)

Thank You all the Indian fans for admiring Pakistan.... I hope India does well in the final.. and hope that the cricketing and political ties gets better between India and Pakistan..

Posted by Hassan Farooqi on (March 31, 2011, 14:28 GMT)

"You feel hollow and broken. You have been let down, misled. Your expectations falsely raised, your dreams dashed."

Bull. I feel happy that Pakistan exceeded all expectations. I was neither let down nor misled. I was expecting a quarter-final and I was promised a semi-final, and I laughed on this promised like everyone else. My expectations were met and exceeded. My dream of Pakistan being the group champion was never there, and reaching semi-final was most certainly not there.

Kudos Afridi, for bolding taking a team of newbies and retirees where no Pakistani captain had gone with a star-studded team since 1999.

Posted by Shahid on (March 31, 2011, 14:12 GMT)

One of THE best from Kamran sahib. India was destined to win this match and I could feel it coming. I admire Pakistan bowling who once again was able to bowl a strong team out for less than 200 only if the fielders had done their job. God decieded to break 18 million hearts instead of breaking 120 million, and we will inshallah win those 120 hearts instead of winning the game. Hats off for Afridi... and for you kamran, for writting so beautifully

Posted by SA on (March 31, 2011, 14:12 GMT)

Few questions. Why Misbah thorwed the game. When he can hit sixes and fours when he needed them in the last overs as 9 wickets are down and he needed 12 runs, so can do for himself. Why didn't he played the game as a Vice Captain. There were more balls then runs, and he played the 50 overs game as a test match. Win or loose is part of the game, but when our players showed there characterless game for their individuality, than my heart is really broken.

Posted by Addy on (March 31, 2011, 14:05 GMT)

NOW can we get rid of Kamran Akmal? Pleeeeeeeze..can we..can we?

Posted by arijit on (March 31, 2011, 14:00 GMT)

it's really a touching article. pakistan has always been a mercurial side. we have got so much joy from the performances from their players and yet we also have been pained by it. this pakistan team has a very refreshing attitude which bodes well for their future programmes. on their day this side can beat the best in the world. so perseverance is the key word. drastic measures will only hamper whatever growth and unity this side has achieved.

Posted by Amjad HUSSAIN on (March 31, 2011, 13:38 GMT)

A very good article and i am happy that majority comments coming from Indian friends are really friendly and unbiased. One-day Cricket win depends on game played on that day. It was not a day for a green shirt boys.. Umar Gul has always been appreciated and praised even by Indian experts but it was not his day :( On top of that Indian team played very well. They are much matured team with much more experienced great player.. Pakistan did well throughout the tournament and Indian team deserved the win in that match due to better game.. We must appreciate the team sprite and friendly behavior by both the teams. Good luck to Indian team..

Posted by Syed Suhail on (March 31, 2011, 13:37 GMT)

Kamran,you have camouflaged the main reason and presented the other sideof the coin, while the reality, all "BiG" talks of Gul and Co were dusted in the first 3 overs of the match, the fact is that Pak never really recovered from the Sehwag "Bashing" and also it proved that Pak cannot handle pressure, evidence 5-0 washout in WC's

Posted by Crazy on (March 31, 2011, 13:25 GMT)

Great piece of writing.....Well done!! It is not just about India defeating Pakistan in a game of cricket but the beginning of something good which would make our relations better, which would make a cricket team in future having bowlers of Pakistan and batsman of India. Then we will surely be the impeccable team.

Posted by Prashantth on (March 31, 2011, 13:21 GMT)

Pakistan should be surely be proud of Afridi and his guys. They did show the world how strong they are, to reach semi-finals amidst of many many problems around them during the past 2 years or so....They are surely one of the strong team of the future..

Posted by Big Wonder on (March 31, 2011, 13:19 GMT)

@ivehadit, The ban for Pakistan players in IPL has more to do with disregard for human life then politics. It is what Indian public wants. You cannot act friendly and stab your friend in the back at the same time. Lets leave it out for now and focus on cricket. There is limit to everything.

Posted by Abhilash on (March 31, 2011, 13:10 GMT)

Beautiful article....And how it describes the emotions of a fan is absolutely brilliant.....Superb!!Just Superb!!

Posted by Obaid on (March 31, 2011, 13:08 GMT)

Its a game at the end of the day. . One team had to lose and the good part is we put up a fight unlike our previous performances. . Even in this defeat there is so much positive one can take out. For once the whole team played as one. ....we witnessed the birth of yet another great fast bowler.the whole nation was standing behind 11 men for the best part of 3 days. . I think we should only think of going forward from here. Lamenting and assaulting them will only throw our already depressed and deprived nations further back in the darkness.

Posted by Ghaffar on (March 31, 2011, 13:07 GMT)

Kamran,

Well put sir, nice article!

I have to admit, however, that I do agree with the comments of 'drrsbaig' regarding Misbah's contributions...at best, his batting was incompetent which derailed any hope of a successful run chase as he just hogged up all of the strike and forced others to take risks which one could argue contributed to their (and ultimately the team's) downfall.

At worst, could his 'Boycottesque' strike rate and approach, which is more synonymous with trying to save a Test Match on the last day with nine ten and jack at the other end, be considered to be deliberate?? Food for thought given Pakistan's consistent brushes with controversy in this field over the years!

Overall, I can say as a Pakistani that I am proud of the way the majority of our boys performed throughout the tournament.

Congratulations to Team India and all of their fans. Hope Sachin gets a century of centuries in the final...what a fitting end to a great career!

Posted by Arshad on (March 31, 2011, 13:06 GMT)

Very fine article. Went some way in soothing pain .... Albeit temporarily .. Some indian fans have take offence at abdullah's comment. no doubt India deserves credit for their success. The fact that they held all catches and held their nerves especially in such high pressure situation was a big feat in itself. Pakistanis are diasappointed cos they were in great chance to win in particular after such great start. Hats off to India as always Dhoni's captaincy was top class. He choked runs by keeping field up. Just wish Afridi had shown killer Instinct when India lost quick wickets. Had he done that they would have chased much smaller total and probably won. Dropping catches and poor chasing didn't surprise me one bit but negativity from Afridi younis and misbah cost pakistan dearly. But credit to Afridi for gelling team and pakistan team in general for great overall show despite drastic build up to world cup

Posted by Umer on (March 31, 2011, 13:04 GMT)

Destpite the dropped catches and Gul's slaughter, we managed to keep them to a gettable 261, great job. now, misbah and yunus derailed this chase beautifully, hats off to misbah of making sure we didnt succeed. These 2 also helped wobble the run chase against the aussies, where pak would be the first to beat them in their WC winning trend. beating aus and ind in ind would have been great for pak and Afridi but the 2 sulking ex, wanna be, could ve been captains made sure that it didnt happen.

Posted by Ismail Mapara on (March 31, 2011, 12:59 GMT)

Kamran Excellent article, We should not forget that since 2007 WC team Pak didn't win any one day series against top 5 teams on the ICC Ranking,before WC 2011 started,no one gave them any chance to even reach the QF, dont forget they beat Sri Lanka & Australi. yesterday they played the Champion team , there is no doubt that India has been playing very good cricket for last 2-3 years with consistent performance under brave leadership of MS Dhoni,Pak had a bad day in the office they were unable to handle the pressure, Afradi still needs to learn the art of immaginative captaincy, badly misclaculated the Batting Power play,poor selection of shots from their key batters, pathetic fielding & keeping, overall their performance was good enough, beaten by the better side on the day, Pak Cricket has to move on & every defeat has meaning, you get what you deserve, not what you desire!!

Posted by Waqas on (March 31, 2011, 12:55 GMT)

Great article...One team had to lose, and sadly it was Pakistan. Not only me, but every pakistani fan would be upset and disappointed. Upset because we have lost to our rivals, and more importantly, we are disappointed because we had the game. India have a great batting line up, but it was all rusty, sachins innings was horrible, sehwag was the only positive. India should have been all out well below 260 condsidering dropped catches at crucial moments. Pakistans batting wasn't up to the task, although they had a great start. Faulty strokes brought india back in the game. Well, its true when they say "You never know which pakistan will turn up". Good luck to India and Sri Lanka. Pakistan squad looks fab for the future...all the best.

Posted by Saddique Ahmed on (March 31, 2011, 12:46 GMT)

Dear Kamran Sahib

Well written article. Its imoportant to have a post mortem to find out why Pakistan seems to loose against Indian team,We know we have a HATHORA approach to this but in 3 weeks this will be forgotten when we play the West Indies. Please some one must work out a long term plan for this

Posted by Lancelot Lightfoot on (March 31, 2011, 12:44 GMT)

Anyone else think Misbah Ul-Huq's performance a bit odd? Watching him bat reminded me of the seafood counter at Harrods.

Lighfoot

Posted by Happy_AusBang on (March 31, 2011, 12:43 GMT)

Ultimately it had to be decided on which team had the better nerves on the day and clearly India were better in this regard. Bear in mind that many were nervous about India's bowling, but credit to them they held their nerve and their catches and fielded well. Something had to give and unfortunately for Pakistan several of their star players just could not get it together. It is called Nerves!

Posted by Abdul Latif ,AIOU on (March 31, 2011, 12:43 GMT)

Don;t be dissapointed .Victory and defeat come on the same day .Goodluck Pakistan next time!

Posted by nandama on (March 31, 2011, 12:40 GMT)

Honestly speaking I think this is the weakest pakistani team to have ever played world cup (I started watching since 1983 world cup so don't know about 75 and 79 teams). There is no batting superstar. Weakest openers (salman butt, aaamir sohail, saeed anwar, mohsin khan, mudassar nazar have all been super class openers in the past against India). The middle order is dependent on younis khan who is aged and truly out of form. Middle order doesnt have names of miandad, zaheer abbas, yousuf youhana, shoaib malik, ijaz ahmed, salim malik.... who in the past 2 decades have milked mediocre indian bowling attack. The bowling didn't have any superstar either. None in the calibre of akram, imran or waqar. Shoaib was truly out of form, aged and had even announced his retirement. So this team must thank their stars and gods for having reached the semi-final. Australia, england and south africa were much better and balanced team than pakistan.

Posted by Syed Owais Athar on (March 31, 2011, 12:39 GMT)

Well written Kamran Abbasi. Most of the comments seems to concentrate on drop catches. Though the fielding was below par & the star bowler was thrashed around but Pakistan team managed to restrict India to 260 runs. So the 1st half was fine & controlled. It was the Batting that didn't click. How long & how many chances would we give experienced players? Mizbah's slow scoring rate put un-necessary pressure on who ever joined him. Younus was considered the back bone, which couldn't handle pressure. There is no point in having Mizbah or Younus in One day Team. Because of such players our team might not receive the warm welcome back home as they deserve.

Posted by Wasif Rasool on (March 31, 2011, 12:15 GMT)

God willing we shall rise. Praise to Waqar and Afridi. There should not be a place in the team again for the ousted corrupt players. We will get hold of our position back soon.

Posted by shahid on (March 31, 2011, 12:15 GMT)

The Only thing i want to mention is not to repeat mistakes of past to replace all experience with young guns at once, they can start with Windies tour by replacing oen senior a tour as shoiab as already retired so wahab can com ein and kamran akmal has to make way for a wicket keeper. In next series after that you can replace one batsman a series to have all fresh by one year time and then give them two years to mature and perform to be ready for the next world cup. we whould be very mindful of the test team that we do not need to replace those experienced batsman as yet and follow autralias route of getting batsman mature in one day format and then getting him into test matches.Forget Asif , Aamir and Salman, i thing we have seen that if the team plays with honesty they can be a handful even with limited resources as it was the case this time.. No fixing Please..

Posted by sunny on (March 31, 2011, 12:06 GMT)

the only reason pakistan lost is coz i didnt play!!!!

Posted by Natwar Modani on (March 31, 2011, 12:06 GMT)

"No time to consider what makes a man lash a wide half volley to cover point for catching practice or swish a stupid Dilscoop when the bowlers were at his mercy." Bowlers at his mercy? In the last 15 balls he played, he had scored 5 runs and his partner was not setting the stadium on fire either. It was a result of pressure being applied by India and not just the stupidity of Pak players alone. Even in the other dismissals, you could see that the pressure was a big factor. Being poetic is one thing and being accurate is another.

Posted by Azim on (March 31, 2011, 12:01 GMT)

Beautifully written

Mr. Abbasi

Pakistan played very good cricket Credit goes to Shahid Afridi.

Change are required

Firstly in PCB

Professional & better knowledgeable persons should be needed for management

Posted by Salman on (March 31, 2011, 12:01 GMT)

Agreed Mr. Abbassi my heart bleeds but it still bleeds green

Posted by Saood on (March 31, 2011, 11:58 GMT)

While the performance this WC certainly offered hope, one cant help but fear that PCB with their poor decisions lack of discpline and bad selection will somehow find a way to take this away from us, I hope i'm wrong.

There is nothing like the WC and no format combines strategy and aggression like ODIs, thats why i like them better then T20s and tests.

Posted by Ahmed on (March 31, 2011, 11:51 GMT)

excellent analaysus by you regardng our team, especially, especially those words, where you mentioned that our experienced batsman was playing like debutants, if you wanna won one day match in future you must keep out misbah and younus khan. they are a good player but for test match and not for one day match and t20.I am worried because our team is going to westindies , hopefully not happen again.

Posted by Frqan Amanat on (March 31, 2011, 11:49 GMT)

Kamran,

I usually agree with you on almost every article but this one is not what I would have wanted to read.

If you want to remember, remember that we have always combusted when it times to explode, I do remember wahab riaz, i do remember shafiq.. but i do remember that how politics will destroy them sooner or later, I also remember that how our fielding has let us down again and again... i will also remember that our batsman failed us AGAIN... I will remember that our young guns did better then the people who are suppose to be "senior"

no matter how much positive spin you would like to put, we lost to a team that we had on ropes because we did exactly what we are famous to do .. eff it up when it matters..

these revivals you talk about happens every couple of years and then we go back our old habits of scandals and kicking out talent..

Never again will i believe that pakistan team is worthy of any praise because they will end up failing themselves and us quite nicely

Posted by Ayesha Ahsan on (March 31, 2011, 11:47 GMT)

ts so well written. How smoothly you have made a perfect sense out of our emotions and team's performance. So true that its a new beginning!!! :) I am sooooo happy that for once everybody is taking it in the right & positive way! We don't ve to complain all the time, in fact we need to learn to thank on what and how much we have. Complaining on what we don't never makes anyone happy, in fact it disgraces one to be unthankful in HIS eye.

Posted by Murad on (March 31, 2011, 11:45 GMT)

Pakistan had a controlled over the match for most of the time in both the innings

Posted by Ankan on (March 31, 2011, 11:37 GMT)

good 'un Kamran. Only if your namesake knew how to catch, you would be writing a completely different article. however commiserations, and do pray for us ... we shall win it.

Posted by Omer Wajid on (March 31, 2011, 11:36 GMT)

Very good article. There are quite a few positives which will make every Pakistani cricket enthusiastic fan feel BETTER. The Heroics of Wahab Riaz, Strong nerves of Asad Shafiq, Bamboozling Doosra's of Ajmal, Fearless Umar Akmal & the Individual brilliance of Afridi (The Bowler). So yeah we as a Nation are sad but we have some positives to look forward to in the future.

I wish all the Indians Best of Luck for final.

Posted by Suresh on (March 31, 2011, 11:33 GMT)

Pakistan was awesome throughout this tournament and this match should have been the final.i dont know y no one crediting india for playing exceptionally well under pressure.Pakistan had the best bowling lineup,but sadly their leading wicket taker went wicketless and Umar Gul was thrashed like a street bowler.not only their catching but also their ground fielding let them down badly.on the other hand india fielding ecxeptionally and against the odd indian bowlers delevered when it mattered,the pressure created the pakistan batsmen to play foul shots and more than that pakistan as a batting unit never performed in this tournament...the team which absorbed the pressure won the match simple as that..Mind you india chased the same target against mighty aussie attack from the brink of defeat where every batter contributed....its teams all round performs won the game for india.Pakistan lost the plot when it mattered the most..Afridi is great captain..he kept his smiling face and wished india.

Posted by Pataudi on (March 31, 2011, 11:29 GMT)

funniest moment in the match was the awkward silence after mike atherton blurted out "also their physiques are different, look at riaz!"

Posted by Syed Salman Akbar on (March 31, 2011, 11:28 GMT)

Beaten but not broken. Defeated but not vanquished. We shall rise once again and the world shall witness the spirit of Cornered Tigers. Once more The Cornered Tigers Shall roar.

Posted by zom on (March 31, 2011, 11:23 GMT)

Whenever india has defeated Pakistan in Worldcup, they loose that cup.... dont be sad people you will be joined by indian fans on saturday night... with this bowling and batting standards, india can never defeat Srilanka...(if the dont play other games other than cricket..)

Posted by Paersh Shah on (March 31, 2011, 11:21 GMT)

Great analysis with a positive note for Pakistan team. To Afridi and his men, from an Indian fan - " With that you had to what you have delivered, is an immense achievement - you may not have won the world cup but you have won hearts of cricket fans all over the world." All I hope is that people like Mr. Abbasi are running PCB than the current lot.

Posted by ZUBAIR on (March 31, 2011, 11:16 GMT)

This is the Best Article, since I've been following cricinfo web.. Yes not only Kamran.. But Cricinfo.. There could be no better article than this.. Superb!!!

Posted by Tariq on (March 31, 2011, 11:08 GMT)

Amazing article, you have such talend mr Abbasi. We did amazingly well and given the unstable conditions we endure back home, the semi-final seems more of an achievement. Well done to the Pakistan team because they made up proud, but most of all, they helped in unifying the nation. There were no Mohajir, punjabi or pathan yesterday because after a long time we were all Pakistani first. So WELLDONE Afridi and the team... u truly achieved something amazing and gave us a glimpse of the future.

Hope the best team wins on Saturday. Pakistan Zindabad

Posted by Aizad Malik on (March 31, 2011, 11:03 GMT)

Wonderfully written.

No doubt this team has the talent and no doubt Afridi, Waqar and the team management have done an exceptional job in uniting the team once again. Yes, we (Pakistanis) are sad as we came very close to put our hands on that trophy but we are a proud nation and exiting this world cup with our heads not down. My best wishes are with the Indian team and no body else in the world deserves to have his hand on this trophy then the Tendulkar. He has been a magnificent servant of India and Cricket.... A true gentleman just like my Proud captain Afridi.

Posted by noman ahmed siddiqui on (March 31, 2011, 11:00 GMT)

it was a bad day for us, this is a big opportunity for us to learn from our mistakes but i know that we have an ability to give a big dent to India in future. beware indians we will back and win inshallah.

Posted by Arif Kazmi on (March 31, 2011, 11:00 GMT)

Is there a rule that says that the Man of the Match must be from the winning side. Without a doubt, Tendulkar is one of the greatest batsman around. He has played many great innings. But in the Semi-Final of 2011 world cup he crawled miserably to his 85 after being dropped so many times. Of all the man of match awards he has won, this is the one he must be most embarrassed about. Does the jury take into account where a new player should be encouraged. Wahab Riaz would have been a much better choice. Sorry, the jury blew it on this one.

Posted by mohsin chaudhry on (March 31, 2011, 10:45 GMT)

Boy did reading this make me feel better... such beautiful articulation of the ambivalence us pakistani fans are feeling. Indeed a new beginning inshallah

Posted by xyz on (March 31, 2011, 10:42 GMT)

I cried n burst into tears.... n every time I thought abt the team I felt horrible for em.... they faced their defeat in front of the whole world.... we only sat home n watched.... but I am sure Allah averted some equivalent evil / danger for our duas n kept our team in His protection... Pakistan Zindabad.... WIN OR LOSE NO ONE CAN SHATTER OUR SPIRIT.....

Posted by Rajiv on (March 31, 2011, 10:42 GMT)

Well written, Kamran. But for an me as an Indian supporter the only thing more delicious than the victory was the fact that the Pakistan team didn't seem to be too despondent about the loss. Its almost as if they didn't really believe they could win and are happy with running us close.

Posted by Shiyam Razak on (March 31, 2011, 10:37 GMT)

Mr. Abbasi,

I think you are absulutely correct. It is crushed but not Broken.

All credits to the spirited unit under Shahid Afridi, Afridi did well as a captain and as a bowler though he was failed with the bat this time.

This team looks like the most spirited team even than the one which won the WC in 1992 under the great leader Imran Khan.

This match was totally miscalculated, it is not because of the dropped catches or loosing wickets at regular intervals. But mainly due to the selection of power play over.

Pakistan could have easily gone for the power play in the 40th over,which means that they could have scored at least 45 - 50 runs from 40 - 45th over. so the pressure would have been lower for even for the lower oder to score 8.00 runs per over in the last 05 overs.

Yet again when you bang all the good bowlers in during this power play they would simply forget the line and length even during the next 05 overs.

So this is very simple, miscalculated all together.

Posted by AA on (March 31, 2011, 10:36 GMT)

Kool :) just a match (Both team played under huge expectation of their countries so sloppy on the field can be understood ,No road end for Pakistan and India (if they loose in final).But I am happy two Asian Countries qualified for the final so West domination is on stake.

Posted by M & M on (March 31, 2011, 10:33 GMT)

Sachin's Century ...

Pakistan lost the semi-final, only because Sachin did not score a century.

Although, Pakistan tried their maximum to allow Sachin reach his century and for that they dropped him at least four-times, but Sachin was well-aware of Pakistan’s conspiracy against him and he got himself out before reaching the three figures.

Posted by Jim on (March 31, 2011, 10:32 GMT)

Mr. Abbasi: You are a very good writer. One of the team had to win and one had to loose. As in any game, better team wins. You sir, again, failed to extend credit to India for winning the semi-final.

Would you now acknowledge India 5, Pakistan 0???? This statement is made in just jovial spirit. Pakistan is a good team and they performed very well in this world cup and I am looking forward to Pakistan really developing into a consistent force to reckon. Good luck to Shahid Afridi and congratulations as well for a job well done.

Posted by GANES on (March 31, 2011, 10:31 GMT)

Well written. Before the match Shahid Afridi said he wont let Sachin score a 100, and Umar Gul said he will rip through the top order of India bating- all this actually ensurd that India approached their batting better they would have normally done. And Pakistan bowling unit was threatening and this was the first time in this WC when their STAR bowler and highest wicket taker and captain AFRIDI did not get a wicket. The wicket was assisting spin but Indians played him with extra caution but just could not read Ajmal. What a bowler he is! Every ball he bowled was different and had variety. A late entry into the Pak team is injustice to him as he is already approaching that age when people start thinking to retire. Overall Pakistan played with a brave heart and would have won the match had a couple of hits from Afridi, Umar Akmal Kamran Akmal and Younis Khan been connected properly with the bat. Wahab Riaz bowled very well and so did Munaf and Bhaji.

Posted by Gaurav on (March 31, 2011, 10:31 GMT)

A very well written article Mr. Abbasi. I am an Indian and I am yet to meet an Indian who does not support Pakistani Cricket, Well when we play against each other thats a different matter. I must confess, that although India has won the match, Pakistan has won our hearts with their heroic performance all through the tournament.

Posted by M & M on (March 31, 2011, 10:30 GMT)

Surrounded by controversies, Home venues taken away, isolated by ICC, playing only on foreign turfs, many a critics claiming us as underdogs, and yet we came so far.

Well done team Pakistan.

Pakistan Zindabad.

Posted by Bismillah Momand on (March 31, 2011, 10:25 GMT)

Superb article! Simply loved it! How easy it is for us to forget the positives from this world campaign!

Posted by Sherur Rahman on (March 31, 2011, 10:24 GMT)

Unpredictable Pakistan - that's why watching them is so fascinating. Apart from the spilled catches, their batting was in chaos. When they were going with solid partnership, the opening pair made horrendous shot selection others followed too. Shaheed Afridi was a treat to watch throughout the tournament. Now he should concentrate in his batting. It was good to watch Reaz, who brought in the memory of the first test he played. Pathetic Gul!

Though Sachin was made man of the mach, he will tend to forget the display he made.

Posted by Asif Khan-Leeds on (March 31, 2011, 10:23 GMT)

Very well put Dr. and I share your feelings. I feel a bit more let down by our Pakistan media then our cricket team. To the build up of this match what they were thinking by playing that music, turning to fortune tellers etc. Is that how a muslim nation prays/ wishes well for their sports teams. Am I being too old fashioned here?

Posted by Muhammad Noman on (March 31, 2011, 10:22 GMT)

I was depressed all day until I read this article. I always treated Kamran Abbasi as a biased writer but this article has won my heart. Congratulations to Pakistan team for bringing the country together. Thanks Kamran.. :)

Posted by Haris on (March 31, 2011, 10:20 GMT)

Defeat hurts. Couldn't agree more. Everytime it hurts. However, i felt proud after reading this article. Bautifully written and expressed.

Posted by Arvind on (March 31, 2011, 10:16 GMT)

The world cup has shown that no other country has such a repository of talented cricketer that pakistan has got, only if they could have been more disciplined. Feel sorry for unceremonious exit of Sohaib Akhtar, he deserved a little better then this. Pakistani administration needs to make the player feel more secured and they can be world beaters....except for India ofcourse..............still enjoying the victory.......well done India...........

Posted by Irfan Rainy on (March 31, 2011, 10:14 GMT)

For a young nation that's been entrenched with turmoil since it's birth, where it cannot find hope in governments, legislation and the infrastructure of a truly civilised and egalitarian society, there are the blues. These blues lie deep within the souls of all who see the mother country next door prosperous, become the new home for cricket and as the 'runaway child' nation it needs occasions of bliss to get through life and cricket is the only drug that can unite this nation and lift it out the blues, even momentarily. So therein lies the reasons why victory was needed but beyond that also lies another frustration of a talented side that lacks consistent professionalism by ultimate defeating itself every time. They say Mississippi is the home of the blues but I keep telling them that's it Pakistan.

Posted by Turbantor on (March 31, 2011, 10:14 GMT)

@Abdullah. If we agree hypothetically to your argument that "India didn't beat Pakistan, heck they didn't even come close", but this is not the first time but fifth time in all the world cups. We Indians and pakistanis all know that when it comes to Ind vs Pak match at world cup, every player gives more than 100% since lot of things are at stake. The forte of indians is batting and pakistanis is bowling from time immemorial (fielding is none for either). However, in 2011 semifinal the both teams performed upto the mark in the department of their strengths,but only Indian bowlers rose to the occasion and performed that was never expected from them, where the pakistani batters failed miserably. At the end as the Great Imran said in chat with tv news channel, the team who handles the pressure better will win, and the same happened. ( Hence India did beat Pakistan with hands down)

Posted by IMObserver on (March 31, 2011, 10:11 GMT)

I hope Afridi is named bowler of the tournament if there is such an award. Great palyer and sportsman. Nehra should get the award for high ethical standards for not claiming the catch; we have seen Ponting, Clarke, even Gilchrist etc claiming such catches.

Posted by HA on (March 31, 2011, 10:08 GMT)

Well said Kamran! A beautiful piece of writing.

A shattered team struggling in the game & going through controversies of all sorts...from spot fixing to unannounced captain to the tarnishing comments from the so called cricketing gurus like Ian Chappel, certainly this was not the team expected to top in their group, beat the Lankans, the Aussies & reach the semi finals.

Well Done Team Pakistan....in fact tremendous work, I should say. Some positives & negatives to take away from these last couple of weeks. Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz and Saeed Ajmal (made the greatest batsman of todays era guessing all the time) and Shahid Afridi (as the Leader). The future of Pakistan cricket certainly looks bright.

Keep going Team Pakistan! Pakistan Zindabad!

Posted by yusuf on (March 31, 2011, 9:58 GMT)

Really i Like Afridi very much. He had done what he said pre match. Look at the captainy,led by example. They come back very well.Surely,player of the tournament is Shahid Afridi.All the Very best Pak team and Afridi.

Posted by abhi on (March 31, 2011, 9:56 GMT)

Saying Pakistan beat Pakistan just sounds ridiculous ,You mean to say if a team drops catches doesn't cash on opportunities and crumbles under pressure due to lack of quality or experience ..They beat themselves...right

I guess Australia were not a great team then since they had players dropped in KO nor are the great Windies .. Man its just about the teams ..Pakistan got defeated by better team on the day who had quality and showed character ... Pakistan themselves have won matches due to dropped catches and missed run outs... this team is good and they have quality but that doesn't mean you rob the others of Glory..

Posted by jawad khan on (March 31, 2011, 9:54 GMT)

well done indians, you guys pulled off a great contest, best wishes for the final.

Posted by panky1167 on (March 31, 2011, 9:47 GMT)

Greetings From India, Very Well Written Mr. Kamran, All the best to Pakistan Players.Must Say Fought Well.

Posted by Ahmed Qaisar on (March 31, 2011, 9:46 GMT)

Thank you for reminding us Kamran.

Indeed we do feel crushed but our love and support for the Pakistan Team will never be broken. I am confident that Inshallah our team will one day go back to the glory days of the 80's and the 90's and possibly once again lift the World Cup.

Pakistan Zindabad!

Posted by Tafheem on (March 31, 2011, 9:43 GMT)

Indeed pakistan better than the expectation. The wins against Austrailia and sarilanka were very good. Yes the dropped catches were costly but at the same time the batting of younas khan and misbah was without any purpose and thinking. The wickets of young guns like asad shafiq and umar akmal were lost due the slowness of younas and misbah batting.

Posted by ramaprasad on (March 31, 2011, 9:43 GMT)

India did not win the match but Pakistan lost it!

Posted by Kashif on (March 31, 2011, 9:41 GMT)

Good article Kamran. Definitely, this team has acheived much greater than what was expected. The world did not give us any chance and yet we won against hot favorites of Sri Lanka and Australia. Also, the big batting line up of India was demolished. Hard luck but well played Cricket Pakistan!

Posted by Rajan on (March 31, 2011, 9:39 GMT)

I think you touched on most of the freak incidents that happened during this match however team unity was the real reason that cost them the match. Certain senior players did not play to their true potential because they were not happy with the leadership.

Posted by venkat on (March 31, 2011, 9:36 GMT)

Best article from Kamran ji. Even though Indian I was cursing Pak for not fighting hard after some of their baffling displays yesterday. However considering all that had happened in Pak cricket, any other team would have been blown away in the league stage itself. In that aspect alone, Afridi and his team should be praised for their acheivements.

Posted by Abhishek on (March 31, 2011, 9:36 GMT)

Nice article Mr. Abbasi...keep up the good work...hope Pakistani fans dont indulge in the inquisition this time...their players showed an inspired performance in the world cup after those scandals...and yes Afridi din win many hearts :)

Posted by Moqbul on (March 31, 2011, 9:35 GMT)

Pakistan lost(due to some lack of game planning and mis catches) but they come as a unit in world cup. Achievement is above expectation and Will be better and better day by day. Pkistan Zindabad

Posted by Faseeh on (March 31, 2011, 9:32 GMT)

A very wonderful write-up. Very balanced and methodical, like India's performance..

A lot of positives to take back home for Pakistan. Uniting the nation within and with neighbors is no mean achievement especially what is happening since august.

Posted by senthil on (March 31, 2011, 9:30 GMT)

catches win matches is the proverb.but pakistan's fielding let their team down.how can they miss so many catches? had there been a life to virender sehwag entire script could have been different.but pak bowlers did excellent job.but their batsman didnt do their job...

Posted by Mohidin Gundroo on (March 31, 2011, 9:29 GMT)

Could not agree more.The irony is despite a very poor fielding a score of 260 was not a difficult to achieve only if Yk and Misbah had not played a strange defensive negative game with no foot work. Credit to Dhoni ,he read their mind and made life even more difficult by putting in close fielders drying up even singles.Their defensive batting put pressure on youngsters to play risky shots.Only Umar and Razak got good balls.Their last hope was when Afridi and Misbah were at the crease with Afridi playing crisp shots but getting only 2 instead of a 4 with well spread field, he missed the trick to use power play at that time.Time to say goodbye to many of these oldies including Kamran Akmal

Posted by M Mir on (March 31, 2011, 9:25 GMT)

Pakistan played well it was just luck which favored India, 4 catches dropped and still Tandulkar cannot complete his coveted century thats how the opponent bowling was, whoever plays good wins with luck in cricket. Lets hope they have good luck in future.

Posted by Venkat on (March 31, 2011, 9:22 GMT)

Missed catches apart, that LBW was as plumb as plumb can be. The DRS did Pakistan y'day. They played really well. A catch here or an LBW there could have won them the game. And Afridi spoke with a maturity that we thought was beyond him. But one thing Kamran, this team has consistently over achieved over the last two years. Taking a test off Australia, beating NZ in NZ,drawing a test series in SA were all great performances. I am really looking forward to watching this Pakistani side develop over the next few years. They are a team to watch if you ask me.

Posted by Sudhir Giri on (March 31, 2011, 9:18 GMT)

Excellent write up.. Pakistan played to their fullest potential under the inspirational Afridi.. This World Cup Match will remain in the Annals of Cricketing history for a long time..

Posted by Farooq Dar on (March 31, 2011, 9:18 GMT)

Dear Kamran Sahib.Brilliant once again.No body could have put it better than you have.I think the team did more than they were expected to do before the tournament bagan.There were some brilliant moments-and we should be proud of the way shahid Afridi led his side-I thought he was getting better and better after each game.I quite agree with you on the point about several choppings/changes have to be made-I am afraid there is no room for the old bags now.Time to bring on and nurture young blood ,who have actually done well so far i.e the likes of Asad shafiq and saeed Ajmal.Regards Farooq Dar

Posted by Avi on (March 31, 2011, 9:16 GMT)

Great article sir....being an Indian I doff my hat to the Pakistan team for a well played tournament and wish them best of luck for the future. A bit disappointed with the sore loser above who said that India didnt beat Pakistan...but anyway wonderful piece of writing

Posted by waseem on (March 31, 2011, 9:16 GMT)

Very well said Kamran. This article made me feel better.There is a lot of hope in Pakistan team..Asad, Umar Akmal, Wahab and Hafiz plus skipper Afridi will make this team a force to reckon with..Love you Afridi for a great World Cup and good effort.

Posted by Masood Hassan on (March 31, 2011, 9:12 GMT)

very well said Today, this feels like the journey’s end but it must be a new beginning. Loved it

Posted by Junaid on (March 31, 2011, 9:11 GMT)

We as a nation did not deserve a win. All activities came to halt for the match, everyone was announcing holidays (Prime Minister, Governor, Chief Minister & Interior Minister). On the other hand 50 people were injured in karachi alone due to firing (that too in a lost match), guess how many would have injured/died had we won the match.

Posted by sajid on (March 31, 2011, 9:05 GMT)

well written mr abbasi. many positives coming out of this WC campaign like umer akmal, gul, ajmal, afridi, a shafiq, wahab n hafeez. They are our future and also I think its time to say good bye to Kamran Akmal, Younis Khan, Misbah n razzaq and bring in some talented youngsters who can represent pakistan in the next WC.

Posted by Jahanzeb on (March 31, 2011, 9:05 GMT)

Very well written. I dont think it hurts to lose against India anymore. It hurts because as a nation we needed this worldcup for positivity and morale. We really did.

Good Luck to India.

Posted by Rajesh Chary on (March 31, 2011, 9:03 GMT)

As I grow older I realise the the jingoism and the gloating of my teenage is replaced by an un adulterated joy for the game - so it was with yesterdays match. No gloating on India's victory or Pakistan's loss (happy? definitely yes as we're in the finals); a little sadness for some poor cricket; but a lot of joy in watching some incredibly talented sportsmen - and some really good fellas who came across from the borders to support their team!

Posted by bany on (March 31, 2011, 9:02 GMT)

nicely put....consolation was never so just...

Posted by Sunil Nair on (March 31, 2011, 8:59 GMT)

It is hard to chase a modest target with Younus & Misbah approach. Undoubtedly Pakistan is a far better unit than India, deserving the title clash. Almighty had decided to go with Sachin in this match. Whether he bless him to grab his dream cup? Sachin lifting the cup is poetic justice.

Posted by Praveen on (March 31, 2011, 8:58 GMT)

Abdullah - heck India did beat Pakistan and beat them fair and square - if there is a batsman getting out then there has to be a bowler at the other end . Pakistan had a great tournament and indeed some players have a bright future and some may be flash in the pan.. but try to give credit where its due - heck pakistan didn't beat West Indies and Australia they beat themselves - hurts innit ..

Posted by ZAFAR UL HASSAN on (March 31, 2011, 8:56 GMT)

Nicely put, We have achieved a lot than losing in this tournament.The no-where team brought to lime-light,fans on both side of borders got what they have misses since long. VERY WELL DONE SHAHID AFRIDI, HATS OFF TO YOU.

Posted by AD on (March 31, 2011, 8:50 GMT)

Beautifully written, We are proud of our team

Posted by Sanjeev on (March 31, 2011, 8:46 GMT)

Very nice article Mr. Abbasi.

Posted by Hassan on (March 31, 2011, 8:46 GMT)

well beautiful article i must i has given me a new hope....Pakistan played so well in this tournament unexpectedly shahid afridi led from the front on each an every situation but in the semi final as our team is unexperianced could'nt handle the immense pressure of the India-pakistan semi final and yeah India didnt beat Pakistan we lost the match and the world cup from our own mistakes but yeah this team played well and i still love them.........future is ours

Posted by Faridoon on (March 31, 2011, 8:44 GMT)

Kamran, kuch bhi na kaha aur keh bhi gaye....

I think in general the fans of Pakistan are a lot more forgiving than we have been in 2003 & 2007. Reason for that is the way the team played. No longer do they look like a fractious bunch of guys with diverse loyalties going through the motions. One team one goal seems to be their mantra. I am sure this team will do great if they keep playing like a unit. Kudos to Afridi and Waqar.

Posted by Nabeel on (March 31, 2011, 8:43 GMT)

A BEAUTIFUL Writeup ..... RIGHT NOW Every Pakistani has the same feelings .... U put in the best words possible .... THANKYOU very much from the core of my Heart !!!!!

Posted by KingKong on (March 31, 2011, 8:43 GMT)

Jeez, man up Abbassi. Why the need to find philosophy after defeat in a cricket game ? It's a game, all the fans have left after victory or indeed defeat is a giant hangover. Your team got beat...end of. There will be plenty of matches and occassions to get even (even then, after the moment of instant ectasy all you will have left is a feeling of emptiness and the realisation that everyday chores wait). I would have dedicated the article to the sight of plenty of Pakistani fans waving their flags and having a whale of a time inside an Indian stadium. Who would have thought that possible ? But no, you whinge and moan and spout philosophy. You sound like Indian cricket writers in the 90's!!

Posted by piyush bakshi on (March 31, 2011, 8:43 GMT)

the wicket was difficult to play on. younis and misbah did not play like amateurs, they found the going difficult against a part-time bowler just as sachin found it difficult against quality spin from a regular spinner and wasted deliveries.

easy to find faults with strokes played in retrospect. can easily be done for what sehwag played, harbhajan's and gambhir's rush of blood. so lets be a little charitable to the pakistani batsmen. it wasn't easy out there, maybe the bowlers foxed them? :)

pakistan rarely enters a match banking on its fielding but this was worse than that.

the fact is that pakistan rode on its bowling attack and its luck to reach this far, the batting was poor and waiting to be exposed. in the semis, luck ran out and went to India's corner with lives to Sachin.

riaz was a revelation. didn't feel that pakistan really missed amir and asif.

Posted by Dr Akram Khan on (March 31, 2011, 8:40 GMT)

I think people forget one other point that cost us the match- Gul's bismal and shambolic performance (or lack of it). In my opinion he gave something like 30 runs too many and he was suppose to be our premier bowler. All that hype about Gul and the pressure on him if Shuaib did not play. Well Riaz performed magnificently.Therefore, two things cost us the game- Gul and dropped ctches. I pridicted after the Indian innings that we will lose by about 30 runs and that was the case.

Posted by Dr Omar Khan on (March 31, 2011, 8:39 GMT)

Absolutely gorgeous piece of writting. Well done Dr Abbasi! Without doubt Pakistan deserve cricket at home.

Posted by sameer on (March 31, 2011, 8:38 GMT)

Beautifully written. It indeed was a brave effort from a brave team headed by a brave leader.

Posted by Hassan Maje on (March 31, 2011, 8:32 GMT)

Yes expectations falsely raised and other things rightly said, Mr Abaasi. Devastating, Shocking, Crushing, Disbelief, Shaterred dreams, broken hearts.. words I can describe (and some words can't describe) how it feels to bear this loss. As hard it may be to stomach this defeat for PAK, reality mut be faced. For a country going through so much turmoil, a little joy was needed but GOD knows best. However as for the game, PAK knew the could win the game but their belief system led them the other way - there is always a difference between what we know and what we believe in inside - its a mental block/phobia they could'nt overcome last night in pressure. PAK players need also a psychotherapist as part of the coaching unit. I wish all the best to the PAKISTAN team and pray GOD brings bounty to my Cricket team and GEO PAKISTAN and we inshallah will win World Cup in future.Amen.

Posted by Qazi Tanvir on (March 31, 2011, 8:28 GMT)

Can't agree more. the team has done great achievement and shown great character . Well done Afridi and your young guns.

Posted by drrsbaig on (March 31, 2011, 8:27 GMT)

Written with a lot of passion, reflects the true feelings of dejected fans. Shahid Afridi proved himself to be the son of the soil, and the pride of Muslim brotherhood worldwide. Winning and losing is part of the game, but its important that we learn from our defeat. Despite all the faults of our players, I think we could have won this match. I would solely blame Misbah-ul-Haq for this defeat. His role was crucial, he was a hurdle for even other players to fight it out. NO intent to win whatsoever!! Even the indian commentators were questioning his approach, one even called him the VILLAIN of the team. I am sorry to say that I agree with them. He betrayed the teammates and let the nation down. Misbah should not play ODI ever again.

Posted by ZULEKHA on (March 31, 2011, 8:23 GMT)

Well said. This team delivered more than was expected of them and no thanks to PCB for doing everything to douse the team's spirits- from announcing catain in the nth hour to the interior minister's churlish commnets.

Posted by Pratik Mehta on (March 31, 2011, 8:14 GMT)

What Beautiful writing... What beautiful thoughts...

Posted by Shahzeb on (March 31, 2011, 8:12 GMT)

Great article. Pak has lots of talent but they need proper guidence and management. first of all Afridi should be made permanent captain till the next world cup. he is an inspirational leader and he can make a good team in the coming years.

Posted by Sikander on (March 31, 2011, 8:09 GMT)

Very well written Kamran Bhai. I was feeling defeated since the last night but your article made me feel much better. Yes we never expected Pakistan to do what they did. They defeated Sri Lanka, Australia and West Indies on the way to defeating themselves. Remember Indian score 260/14 counting the missed chances whereas Pakistan were 231/10. Geo Afridi.

Posted by yasir on (March 31, 2011, 8:05 GMT)

If I were in Pakistan at present, I'd really try very hard to somehow rally us pakistanis in giving them a heroes welcome. They deserve it. Afridi played like a tiger, led like a tiger and went down like one. Im proud of our cricket leader.

Posted by Kartik on (March 31, 2011, 8:02 GMT)

Very well written indeed. But the fact remains that Pakistan have put down an opportunity to become the World Champions and I am not sure how many members of the current side will be there in 2015. Pakistan has over-achieved!!! by doing what, playing well & winning matches! Isn't this what they are paid for? There have been so many occassions in the past when rank outsiders have won the World Cup - 1983, 1992 being prime examples; so what is so great about Afridi's boys doing well at the big stage? Afridi and his team played very well but have been elbowed out of the tournament. And no one will remember how well they came back from near-defeat situations to pull off surprise victories. The bottomline, in spite of all these great positives that you have listed, Kamran Saab is that Pakistan will not be the World Champions - at least not till 2015.

Posted by Syed Arbab Ahmed on (March 31, 2011, 7:54 GMT)

V used to lose to India more than often before Javed Miandad hit the very famous 6 to Chetan Sharma, then India used to fear from us, they did not even want to play with Pakistan, v need the same kind of PASSION, HEROICS from a single man or from a team otherwise

A million dollar question, can v overcome our mental dent and beat India in a world cup match?

Posted by Jose Paul Mathew on (March 31, 2011, 7:53 GMT)

I feel its highly unfair that there is a witch-hunt on in Pakistan against Misbah. People should realise that cricket is just a sport and people make mistakes in sports. But that does not give anybody the right to question the competence of a proven player like Misbah. Pakistan as a team got it wrong yesterday but defeats are a part and parcel of life. If anything, Pakistan should be proud of the way its cricketers represented the country in the world cup and indeed for the graciousness displayed by Afridi under extreme duress.

Posted by Yasharth on (March 31, 2011, 7:48 GMT)

Afridi found a lot of fans in India this time. The team played with passion. And even in the high pressure game, he had the spirit to laugh off Sachins first dropped catch and pat him on the back. Well Done !!

Posted by Haseeb on (March 31, 2011, 7:48 GMT)

beautifully written!

Posted by A true Pak fan on (March 31, 2011, 7:48 GMT)

In the end, It was all about fielding, heheh.

Good Game India. You can't deny Sehwag and Sir Sachin's innings.

BUT Wahab is the true MVP/MoM of this match in my opinion.

I think Pak should get rid of Kamran Akmal asap, if they wanna win anything in next years.

Regards and congrats to all Indians

Posted by sadia on (March 31, 2011, 7:45 GMT)

kamran most Pakistanis are proud of the men in green..winning the semis would have been beautiful but the loss isnt crushing either.its heartening to see the nation being so gracious in defeat.love u green shirts!

Posted by Eimad on (March 31, 2011, 7:45 GMT)

Brilliant! Best article i've read for this match!!

Posted by MM on (March 31, 2011, 7:42 GMT)

@Abdullah: When would you folks finally concede defeat? Everytime you folks lose, this is the same line about Pakistan beating Pakistan. The other teams are just watching the show I guess. You were beaten fair & square by a team which performed better on that day. End of story. Similarly, South Africa were beaten by a fierce NZ team who, in the mood they were in on that day, they wouldn't have lost to anybody. You should have seen their body language, the way they bowled & fielded. You are insulting them by claiming that SA lost the plot.

Posted by Krishna Anil on (March 31, 2011, 7:38 GMT)

Thought the pak team did extremely well in the campaign. Nobody would have believed at the beginning of the tournament that this team would reach the Semi-Final after topping the group, beating australia, beating west-indies by 10 wickets and emerging as the strongest bowling side in the tournament. But thats what they did.

Yes..there are opportunities for improvement..i.e. catching, middle-order batting etc.

But more positives than negatives for the pak team and something to build upon. No inquisitions please. The team did a fantastic job.

Posted by Asif on (March 31, 2011, 7:37 GMT)

Excellent analysis Kamran, Pakistan performed better than many higher ranked teams and getting to the semis is not something that can be underestimated especially considering all the difficulties this team has had over the last several months. I feel disappointed because I think we were in a wining position however the Indians should be given due credit for their performance as well.

Posted by Ayub Suleman on (March 31, 2011, 7:35 GMT)

One should not criticise Pakistan for loosing the semi final. We have, in the past, seen that Pakistan, on their day, will CRUSH any side in the world but India should say they were the lucky ones. Tendulkar dropped four times even survived an appeal given out by the umpire. This is call LUCK and on your home soil you have to win.

Posted by Rishi Agarwal on (March 31, 2011, 7:31 GMT)

Excellent piece! Afridi has really been a fine captain and a true sportsman. I hope he finds his batting form again soon...

Posted by Vilas Rajwade on (March 31, 2011, 7:30 GMT)

Very well written article, Mr. Kamran Abbasi. We in this part of the world tend to be overcritical of our failure, and under-appreciative of the achievements. Hopefully, this article will pave way for more such balanced articles in future; and I will be waiting for them.

Posted by Sajith Bhasker on (March 31, 2011, 7:29 GMT)

Kamran well written . this was a match where lot of ifs and buts involved. At the end cricket was the winner. Well played India and Pakistan. Come on India lets do it for a man at his home ground who has served unselfishly over 21 years.That will be the best gift you can give for the great little man.

Posted by GV on (March 31, 2011, 7:28 GMT)

Beautifully said:) It's a joy to watch Pakistan (my second favourite team after India) play and Afridi seems to be the perfect choice to lead now. Good Luck Pakistan.

Posted by AJ on (March 31, 2011, 7:28 GMT)

I am well impressed with pakistan's effort esp Afridi. But i think younger batsman needs to take more responsibility. little comeo of 20s and 30s are not good in 5o over form. You can not expect senior batsman fire everytime.

India played ok..not great. I thought they played better against OZ. I dont think it will be easy against SL as ppl predicting. If SL top four fire and make 260+. india will stuggle

Posted by AJ on (March 31, 2011, 7:28 GMT)

I am well impressed with pakistan's effort esp Afridi. But i think younger batsman needs to take more responsibility. little comeo of 20s and 30s are not good in 5o over form. You can not expect senior batsman fire everytime.

India played ok..not great. I thought they played better against OZ. I dont think it will be easy against SL as ppl predicting. If SL top four fire and make 260+. india will stuggle

Posted by Hasan on (March 31, 2011, 7:27 GMT)

If only Mohammad Yousuf was there instead of Younis!! We need players who can score 100s..

Posted by Murali on (March 31, 2011, 7:25 GMT)

Iam surprised no one spoke about the worst UDRS decsion against Tendulkar, how can a ball turn so much on a first innings on a pitch like that. Massive decision that turned the contest on its head.

Posted by Faraz Mahmood on (March 31, 2011, 7:24 GMT)

Nicely & rightly said Kamran. Although it is good that after long time nation is backing the team after such loss but we should take this loss as a learning point too. Few imp. lessons to be learned are: 1. Players should be more tougher mentally 2. Team needs good batsmen (atleast for ODI;s) to replace aging stars like Misbah, Younus etc 3. Team players should focus on game itself rather giving big statements before the game itself. Example No Indian player except their captain spoke to press while Umar Gul, Hafeez etc were having press conferences. Our Management should realize that these statements put more pressure on players rather then their opponents. "Action speaks louder than the words"

Posted by yuriga on (March 31, 2011, 7:23 GMT)

Sambit Bal: "To revel in victory is the greatest reward for the sports fan, but nothing dignifies the sport more than grace in defeat." This article of Kamran's best epitomizes grace in defeat.

Posted by Jaideep on (March 31, 2011, 7:22 GMT)

To me, the greatest moment was Shahid Afridi's post match comments. As an Indian, I have always envied and feared his presence in the field. Yesterday, he turned out to be th finest statesman of the game. His measured talk, his demeanour during the match, composed yet passionate, just deserves praise. For the first time, afterpossibly Wasim Akram, I really felt for a Pakistani captain. Wish Afridi all the success for the future.

Posted by szatist on (March 31, 2011, 7:22 GMT)

gr8 write up... keep it up!!

Posted by AKBAR ASHRAF ALI on (March 31, 2011, 7:21 GMT)

No doubt we have played exceptional cricket like beating australia etc , but we should look foward and should learn from our mistakes , and take decisions which our in favour of pakistan and keep personal friendships beside while playing for country.

And should identifiy the slots for which we our loosing repedeatly like in fashion of loosing like (Batsman from 1 to 5), thier strike rates and the scores when the make the condition of that game , i think so we should give chance to fresh blood in this dept , as we our loosing from the front on the players which we consider will save the ship , they are quite defencive in attitude and our missing the strategy to win the game , as they play too much defensive and build pressure itself on thier selfes and others who come plz afridi bhai take decision and look in this matter.

BUT PLAYED VERY WELL ,

Posted by Ali on (March 31, 2011, 7:18 GMT)

Can't be better.....

Posted by Hemant Gandhi on (March 31, 2011, 7:17 GMT)

Good work, Team Pakistan...you should be proud of your achievements in this cup. No one gave this team even 10% chance of reaching KO stage, forget SF stage.

Kudos to the team for performing at such a level, coming from that dump created by your admins.

Good one, KA.

Posted by Jaz on (March 31, 2011, 7:16 GMT)

Thank you for this well written article, it's allowed me to focus on the positives. It has been a good World Cup overall, this has really put it into perspective.

Posted by khalid on (March 31, 2011, 7:16 GMT)

We need not to worry about the performance instead we need to work out the weak points. No doubt the young talent pakistan have is showing the difference from other teams. Good batsmen of indian team couldnt perform as they have been doing so in past matches. We lost NZ coz of catches and we lost india coz of catches we won Australia cos of catches. So rightly saying catches win matches.

Posted by aditya sharma on (March 31, 2011, 7:14 GMT)

Beautifullly written. one of the best pieces i have read on sport. One appreciates Afridi & his endeavour even more. Being an Indian, I am happy that we won but just the sheer effort and honesty with which Afridi and his men went about their task despite all the odds including a mad minister, makes one's heart heavy on their departure.

Posted by Atul Malik on (March 31, 2011, 7:14 GMT)

Very nice article. Pakistan should be very proud of what the team has achieved, given all they have gone through.

Posted by Atif Sandhu on (March 31, 2011, 7:09 GMT)

I agree that it was all about raised expectations but the match of semi final was not natural, it was not a traditional match between Pak & India. This Semi final lacked the traditional heat, enthusiasm and energy among players. They (players of both teams) were more like professional units who were just fulfilling their duties. Pak team did not come up as it was expected, they were off colors, they were totally different outfit that we observed throughout the tournament. Mr. Abbasi it was not merely a game of cricket for millions of Pakistanis and Indian... and you can never calculate what we lost today...... We always talk about new beginning, how many beginnings we have accounted for... its a never ending phenomenon for us as nation...

Posted by Ali Vaqar Awan on (March 31, 2011, 7:05 GMT)

Though Pakistan was not expected to reach last four. It was extra-ordinary achievement considering the circumstances. Our team was not expected to reach even last eight. Pakistan bowled well and with great passion. Again droping catches and lethargic fielding cost us. Target was not very difficult. It was our batting that let us down. Misbah and Younis are to be blamed. They play slow and it puts extra pressure on other batsman. There should have been gulf between Misbah and Younis in batting order especially ODI and T20. These two should only play test cricket. Pakistan does not need to make drastic exclusion of players. Big achievements of Pakistan were defeating Australia and Sri Lanka. Our team should put the past behind and start preparing for 2015 world cup. Moreover, need to work extra hard and aim for bring back world cup.

Posted by praveen hingorani on (March 31, 2011, 7:03 GMT)

lovely article - incredibly well written

Posted by Irfan on (March 31, 2011, 7:02 GMT)

Thanks Kamran...Very well said ...very well written...i am feeling better now.

Posted by SALIM on (March 31, 2011, 7:01 GMT)

This is in reply to Abdullah. No doubt PAKISTAN is a good team, however you cannot say India didn't come close to PAKISTAN. The reality is PAKISTAN cannot dream of beating INDIA anywhere in the world. India is way much better in both one day and test. Till to date PAKISTAN never beat INDIA whenever they met in world cups.

Posted by Tahseen Ashraf Kahloon on (March 31, 2011, 6:55 GMT)

It was nice performance by Pakistani team.They gave us a good entertainments during WC2011.Now its time to look forward.Need to take some hard step for future of Pakistan cricket.Induct some new fresh face in batting line up.say good bye to Misabh,younis Khan,kamran akmal & may b Razak.................. select new team for WI tour.All the best to them.

Posted by Khurram on (March 31, 2011, 6:50 GMT)

The best thing of the tournament is Afrid's passion and attitude on and off the field. I don't like him as a player but he is a great Captian and a greter ambassador for Pakistan as captian

Posted by Omar Hussain on (March 31, 2011, 6:50 GMT)

Yes! I am down but insha-allah Pakistan are not OUT!Luck was with India but i must admit their fieldplacing and bowling was clinical and disciplined creating the pressure which undid our batsmen.Not that their bowlers are better than ours!It is their fielding which won the match while ours lost it!Anyways after what our boys have been through there is no denying the latent talent prevailing in the forms of Asad Shafiq,Wahab Riaz and thankfully Umar Akmal now getting more responsible!All the team deserve a grand welcome home.Allah bless you boys!Well done!And good luck!

Posted by Omar Hussain on (March 31, 2011, 6:50 GMT)

Yes! I am down but insha-allah Pakistan are not OUT!Luck was with India but i must admit their fieldplacing and bowling was clinical and disciplined creating the pressure which undid our batsmen.Not that their bowlers are better than ours!It is their fielding which won the match while ours lost it!Anyways after what our boys have been through there is no denying the latent talent prevailing in the forms of Asad Shafiq,Wahab Riaz and thankfully Umar Akmal now getting more responsible!All the team deserve a grand welcome home.Allah bless you boys!Well done!And good luck!

Posted by Dani on (March 31, 2011, 6:43 GMT)

You are spot on kamran...

Posted by ABBAS ALI on (March 31, 2011, 6:43 GMT)

I love this article in the sense we have been fighting and have enough heart to come and still done the best in possible ways such there are always room for improvement but for off guard all the limits AFRIDI should remain captain and all OLD BABA's should be said bye bye..............THIS IS BEGINNING OF NEW ERA WHICH WILL ONLY BELONG TO PAKISTAN INSHALLAH

Posted by Dani on (March 31, 2011, 6:42 GMT)

You are spot on kamran...

Posted by sars on (March 31, 2011, 6:41 GMT)

This was a tightly contested match for all the wrong reasons.Both teams were trying to outdo each other in playing badly.Pakistan won. Having said that the team went far beyond all our expectations of them (if not beyond our hopes for them). Well done Mr Afridi you should be proud of yourself and your team.We certainly are.

Posted by H.Mal;ik on (March 31, 2011, 6:40 GMT)

Dear kamran , well said with pinpointing accuracy . I will say my famous words for the team " The YoYos " did it again. It was just the matter of time that their downward trajactory would start !The Butter Fingers set it in motion & culminated with the DILSCOOPE and Square Cutting madness of the highest stupidity sealed it in the end. Misbah is not the scapegoat But the Main Culprit in this whole episode

Posted by Dani on (March 31, 2011, 6:37 GMT)

we love team Pakistan...no1 was expecting us to reach this far...Afridi should be the captain for next few years because we his attitude boosted the team...Good luck team Pakistan in the future...just remember no matter wot happen we are here to support you....Pakistan Zindabad

Posted by Niel on (March 31, 2011, 6:32 GMT)

Afridi's humility and grace should make every Pakistani stand tall and be proud. This Pakistani team has really reminded us of how devastatingly good the Pakistani team can be. He has gained a lot of fans and respect in India and around the world. From an Indian living in Australia... well done and a great job Pakistan, hats off to you!!!

Posted by Muhammad Zubair on (March 31, 2011, 6:32 GMT)

Of course, Pakistan team did better than what was expected. Each players tried to put his energy behind the skipper. The unity of team was evident from the faces and body language. It was pleasant to see them praying maghrib namaz with jamaat in Mohali stadium. The jamaat itself symbolized unity. Thank you Aridi for giving us entertainment. Best of luck Zubair

Posted by ABdul Paki Fan on (March 31, 2011, 6:32 GMT)

great approach from pakistan dring this world cup...no on expected they will reach semi final but they got reward from the afridi a man leading from front wht happend after years of lack of cricket....they dont have home ground......problems have good bond with pak team but they showed no one can neglect them..... India played well ...happiest thing abut the cup,the cup will remain in asia whoever wins......Inshallah Paki cricket future is brigth bec they are generatinng young talent guns whicc can fight any wr in future.....Best of luc PAk for future,India and Sri lanka for final...this final should be remembered through the life of cricket

Posted by saud on (March 31, 2011, 6:31 GMT)

Here is how I look at it. It was a series of 8 one day games that we won 6-2.

Posted by Prince on (March 31, 2011, 6:31 GMT)

wonderful words.... gives a lot of hope

Posted by adam on (March 31, 2011, 6:29 GMT)

extremely well said .lets hope from the shambles rises the new era where players of yesteryear take some time out to think and ponder about what is to be done about thier immediate future and as you said let the new stars rise from the pakistans horizon and display their artistry and give the world their own charm which they are renowned for.lets remind the world that this is just the real beginning of something that is so very special that is to come very very quickly sooner rather than later inshallah.

Posted by Sajid Cheema on (March 31, 2011, 6:28 GMT)

I agree with the article. No doubt that our team has done much more than the pre-worldcup expectations, but please be professional and get rid of the players who do not perform when they are really required to.

Posted by adam on (March 31, 2011, 6:27 GMT)

extremely well said .lets hope from the shambles rises the new era where players of yesteryear take some time out to think and ponder about what is to be done about thier immediate future and as you said let the new stars rise from the pakistans horizon and display their artistry and give the world their own charm which they are renowned for.lets remind the world that this is just the real beginning of something that is so very special that is to come very very quickly sooner rather than later inshallah.

Posted by Mehdi Hasan on (March 31, 2011, 6:27 GMT)

Misbah,The most cricketing brain,According to Most Expart,just show few sample of its brain,luckily all of them against india......................

Posted by Rajesh on (March 31, 2011, 6:27 GMT)

Afridi is truthful man then anyone. All his 3 prediction before match and world cup got right. 1st India Srilanka will be finalist. 2nd Pakistan cant give Sachin to make his 100th hundred and 3rd they cant give Indian to hit sixes. Thanks Afridi. Now can you predict the final winner as India.

Posted by Sid on (March 31, 2011, 6:24 GMT)

In spite of all the recent issues, the future looks bright for Pak. They need to move on and build a team around the likes of Wahab and Umar Akmal and move on from the likes of Kamran (who if ever chosen should be in the capacity of a batsman alone).

Posted by srivathsan on (March 31, 2011, 6:21 GMT)

very well said .Down but not out.It was a professional performance by pakistan team.Restricting india to 260 is no mean achievement given the explosive start india had.Any team could have won & it happened to be india.In the hind sight it is easy to tell what could have been done but I feel afridi did a very good job & pakistan team is now full of confidence & resurrected . The credit should go to him.I wish that pak. fans though disappointed appreciate this fact & welcome the heroes who have done very well in this WC ,BEYOND THE EXPECTATION OF THE FANS.

Posted by Z on (March 31, 2011, 6:20 GMT)

This is a fantastic article!

Posted by Mukunda on (March 31, 2011, 6:18 GMT)

Mr: Kamran Abbasi, Very nice article. More than anything, it reflected true state of affairs!!

Posted by ravi on (March 31, 2011, 6:17 GMT)

A very positive and a beautiful article....

Posted by Nabeel Amir on (March 31, 2011, 6:16 GMT)

Thank you Mr Abbasi for such words that we all needed. To my fellow Pakistanis, give our team a heroes welcome. And to my Pakistani Team, You were and will be our heroes. We are proud of you.

Posted by Hasan on (March 31, 2011, 6:16 GMT)

Excellent article. Can't be anymore proud of the achievements by the 'Green Army'. I take it this way, we had sent 11 individuals to represent Pakistan in the Worldcup. The final outcome is "One Team". Things are looking good for Pakistan Cricket given that trust is shown in the leadership and the team by the people and the administration. Hope to see our tigers bounce back with a bang in future. Pakistan First & Pakistan Zindabad !!

Posted by Ray on (March 31, 2011, 6:15 GMT)

Its unfair to even mention Asad Shafiq here. His shot was a result of Yunus's timid batting against Yuvrag. Asad was trying to take the initiative back from India and he couldn't do that - unfortunate. Yunus should've ben trying to play a risky shot, not Asad who was managing his innings really well. Yunus and Misbah played like their lives depended on this innings. Anyways, a good victory for India, as a Pakistani fan, I'd like to congratulate them on this. They summed the pitch better than the Pak team - in fact Raina said at mid innings break, that its a good score and on seeing the Indian batting struggle like it did during mid innings, I thought anything over 250 will be a good score. Indian bowling was also very good, Patel, Nehra, and Yuvi were good at stifiling the batsmen and Zaheer and Hrbhajan also picked key wickets.

Posted by Mithilesh on (March 31, 2011, 6:10 GMT)

Brilliant! Shahid Afridi deserved to lift the cup.Sports can be cruel though.

Posted by Nayab on (March 31, 2011, 6:10 GMT)

Very well said. This article captures my sentiments exactly. The statement that remains in all our hearts is perhaps 'if only.. if only..'

Posted by Saud on (March 31, 2011, 6:09 GMT)

I don't think there is any need to "judge who stays and who goes." This is just one loss in a great run, the result could have been very different with a bit of luck on our side. We need to let this team settle down and fine tune it not rip it apart and start over.

Posted by sameerali on (March 31, 2011, 6:05 GMT)

I should say that Afridi is a wonderfull captain. Cuz honeslty there is no match winners in pakistan. No one is in form but Afridi had little choice and brought the team untill Semi Final. well done pakistan. BTW i'm indian

Posted by ahmadammar on (March 31, 2011, 6:01 GMT)

Wonderful depiction....perhaps for the first time in years, a defeat doesn't really feel like a defeat (considering Pakistani cricket fervor!)...Our bowling really got one of the best contemporary teams on back foot for a much longer span than expected.

Posted by Tehseen on (March 31, 2011, 6:01 GMT)

Like all pakistanis I was devastated, not by the fact that we lost to India but by the way we lost it .. Agreed that the team did much more than what was originally expected .. But their run made us believe that they have the potential .. Today it wasn't India that won the match .. It was really Pakistan that lost it .. And that is the part which will always come back to  hound me .. The 60 runs gifted by pakistan to sachin was the difference in the end .. This article makes me feel a little better .. Hope the memories shade away as Pak goes on to continue their run  .. ThAnks

Posted by avis on (March 31, 2011, 6:01 GMT)

At the end of day, Pakistan lost. There can be many ifs but eventually India won because they were a better team. You never know - even if Sachin would have got out on the first chance he offered, probably Yuvi would have come earlier and played a bigger innings, taking time to settle down and ensure India reaches 280+ score. Had Sewhag flicked the ball for four on which he got out LBW probably he could have gone to score big hundred and India would have score 350+. Probably Virat wouldnt have got out on single digit score and ended with 50+. A team wins because its a better team than the opponents and thats what it was yesterday. Lets accept it and move ahead. Pakistan did good but India did it better. India fielded better than Pakistan. Indian bowling was marginally better than Pakistan. Probably India's batting was also marginally better than Pakistan. Overall margin of 30 runs is a big margin in a relatively low scoring (as per today's standards) match.

Posted by Shahzeb Ihsan on (March 31, 2011, 5:59 GMT)

This is one underdog story that should be told again and again. Even though right now, so soon after the defeat to India, emotions are running high and it is easy to look past everything our world cup campaign represents...the sheer will power, raw talent and uncanny resilience of our cricketers. Lala, you rock!

Posted by Aniruddha on (March 31, 2011, 5:56 GMT)

I am an Indian and happy that our team reached the finals. We did WIN the TOSS and that factor cannot be discounted from the result. Yes, the Indian team did admirably well when under pressure, but so did Pakistan and that too under much more pressure (while chasing).

Posted by Narayan G on (March 31, 2011, 5:52 GMT)

It is ALL nice to say the Pak beat Pak and India did not beat pak. But the fact of the batter is India is No.1 in all forms of cricket. Leave along t20 that is no cricket.

Posted by Vibhuti on (March 31, 2011, 5:50 GMT)

Beautifully written article. Agree with the spirit and emotions. Pakistan - well played and well fought. Stuff happens to everybody and yesterday it happened to your team. You have a great unit here - nurture it and you guys have a world beating combination in making.

Posted by Kashmiri on (March 31, 2011, 5:49 GMT)

Nicely written! I am a cricket lover like everyone else in this subcontinent... This match was really tough on us... Ur writting did its bit to cool me down... helped me see silver lining even when i see these dark clouds surrounding everywhere... I wish our nation too had a team which we could cheer for :(

Posted by Asim Ghaffar on (March 31, 2011, 5:47 GMT)

We lost because of:

1. Middle order not doing what they were supposed to do.. take singles and rotate strike. Specially Misbah who yet again did that things: go slow, raise RRR and then try to become hero.

2. Hafeez lost it all after spending good time on wicket.. i am speech less on his shot specially the kind of trouble he was in on the ball before that.

3. Captaincy.. you talk to your bowler when he is being hit for 4. you talk him through what he wants.. you ask questions so he get clear on what he wants to do. and when everything else is failing you change the field to create doubt in minds of opposition.

4. if you are afridi and you want to hit.. you need to take Batting power play.

5. if you are in playing XI of an international team then you should be able to field and bowl consistently.

...

time for change.. new captain is needed who can think on field and think through.. afridi did wonderful with bowl but not with him mind.

Posted by Narayan G on (March 31, 2011, 5:47 GMT)

India will beat Pak in any corner of the world 9 times out of ten with the SAME teams. Pak is an over-hyped team with lack of mental strength. That is India's strength. You may produce 100 Wahab Riaz, 1000 Mohammed Asifs, 10000 Mohd Amirs... but unless you have nerves of steel you can achieve nothing. India is riding on that factor alone. Courage and Wisdom.

Posted by Sridhar Sampath on (March 31, 2011, 5:43 GMT)

Though I felt happy to see India win, I felt sorry for Shahid Afridi who led his side with much dignity. His leg spin bowling was a treat to watch as well. I agree with Abdullah that Pak defeated Pak yesterday. My Pak friends may so 'No inquisition please' but simply can't help wondering if the performances of Misbah & Younis Khan (dropped catches on the field and inexplicably slow batting) were merely cricketing failures. Many of my friends here in India share the same sentiments.

Posted by Ranjeet on (March 31, 2011, 5:43 GMT)

TO Abdullah : Pakistan lost fair and square and your comments just show the frustration you feel !!!!!

" India didn't beat Pakistan, heck they didn't even come close" HAHAHAHAHAH what a joke as if anyone believes it ;)

Posted by Syed Salman Akbar on (March 31, 2011, 5:41 GMT)

I still love my Cornered Tigers and i am proud of them. Afridi no need to say sorry. we love you. we love team pakistan and what it represents. It is time to start building for 2015. We have the bowling. We need batsmen. Umer Akmal and shafiq are good prospects. we need two more in middle order. Afridi please start working on your batting. you need to take up number five slot.

Posted by Hitesh Joshi on (March 31, 2011, 5:15 GMT)

Sehwag's and Raina's innings were crucial. Sachin, although extremely lucky, played very beautiful shots. Wahab and Nehra bowled beautifully. Dhoni captained very well and Afridi's captaincy, although mediocre in this match, showed desire. Umar Akmal and Hafeez played well. Yuvi and Bhajji showed their importance in the Indian team. Munaf and Pak spinners bowled smartly. Gul too had some comeback after Sehwag. The umpires did well too. The spectators were sporty (glad there was no booing).

Now just tell me what were Younis Khan and Misbah doing?

Totally off-color, laid back personalities lacking aggression, they spoiled the whole fun in the match..they made it a mismatch. And this comes from an ardent Indian fan.

They dropped catches, and did not know where to place their shots! And about Kamran Dropmal.. all Pakistan matches must have a mandatory Kamran-Drop, right?

Pak team has some serious issues because of these players. BUT be proud of the effort so far, in spite of them.

Posted by Krish on (March 31, 2011, 5:11 GMT)

One of the best cricket articles I've read; straight from the heart I'm an Indian and was blindly euphoric in my celebrations yesterday night but, reading your article, I can't help but feel a twinge of sympathy for this very talented Pakistan side and awe at their resilience and positive attitude. I hope Pakistan continues to challenge India and the rest of the world and wins a WC in the not too distant future. Best of luck.

Posted by a pakistani on (March 31, 2011, 5:06 GMT)

Excellent article!!! All who have the opportunity to use the media should do as you have done. Media shapes people's minds and opinions, so it is very important that people write like this. When we feel heartbroken, we should think how much more heartbroken our players would be, having lived through the ordeal. We must appreciate them for it. If I were Afridi, I would have refused to attend the presentation and if forced, would have wept my way through it and behaved like a blundering idiot. Reading cricinfo, I have discovered he has won not just pakistani hearts, but those of indians, english and everyone in general. No losing captain of this world-cup has earned as much love and respect as ours. Way to go CAPTAIN!!! We are so proud of you!!!

Posted by sanjeev on (March 31, 2011, 5:00 GMT)

hats off to riaz u little beauty, hmm pakistan needs to improve their fielding, esp catching and plz keep kamran akmal out i mean i have seen him drop close to 20 catches in last one year(test and odi), razzaq should come up the order otherwise he is coming at number 8 too low down the order

Posted by Nuruddin Lakhani on (March 31, 2011, 5:00 GMT)

Dear Kamran,

It's a very well written blog and you have spoken the from the hearts of millions of Pak Crciket Fans. I would like to use your discussion forum to thank our national team under the leadership of Afridi and Waqar for providing us with extreme joy and pleasure for more than a month. During this time, the whole nation forgot about all the pains and grief that we went through after the forgettable tour of England. Shahid - you do not have to say sorry to the nation, we are proud of you boys for putting up a wonderful fight. Its us who should thank you for that and I am sure Ian Chappell will agree that you were not IDIOT for apologising to your countrymen or congratulating your Indian counterparts.

Thanks

Posted by Md. Saiful Islam Chowdhury on (March 31, 2011, 4:50 GMT)

Pakistan team looks better than couple of years. They are young, energetic and patriot but they need patience really while they start batting.They have to stay in the cricket to make good partnership from the initial stage. They have to improve their fielding and batting. They need economical bowler like Washim Akram. they should try to bring back Mohd. Amer to make the team strong.Shahid Afridi can continue the captainship for ODI and T20 and Younus Khan or Mesbah can continue the captainship for test match. They should respect each other especially their captain. Javed Miandad or Imran khan will be good coach for them in future.

Posted by Hardik Mahendra on (March 31, 2011, 4:49 GMT)

This has been an amazing piece of article. Truly ancapsulating the past few months of Pakistan Cricket culminating with the Semifinal match between Ind - Pak at WC 2011. Yes it is truly amazing how Pakistan did make it to the final 4 of this competition given the fact that there was utter chaos in their team / administration after the spot fixing scandal. Credit must be given to Shahid Afridi and his young guns (Umar, Wahab etc..) and some senior pros (Umar - atleast till the S/F match, Misbah - leading run scorer for Pak in this WC and Afridi the bowler) for playing truly mesmerising cricket over the past 1 month to have set up a clash of the lifetime!! Great Going Pakistan! May you continue to perform better!!

Posted by Vatsa on (March 31, 2011, 4:47 GMT)

Well played Pakistan and hats off to Afridi and Waqar to maintain their equilibrium. They didn't bring in Shoaib to be flashy. But for inconsistent fielding and inexperience batting, Pakistan would have been a very strong favourite. Very nice/simple speech by Afridi at the end. The Indians could have said a few words, but were probably too excited.

Posted by MSH on (March 31, 2011, 3:44 GMT)

We have a lot to look out for in the future. Hopefully we will build from the positives taken from here. Exciting talent coming up. Our roller coaster ride with the Pakistan cricket team will only get better. Pakistan Zindabad !

Posted by Sun on (March 31, 2011, 3:10 GMT)

Indeed, Shahid Afridi's attitude through this World Cup was great.

Posted by Abdullah on (March 31, 2011, 2:46 GMT)

The future for Pakistan cricket is looking bright. Shafiq is a promising no. 3 batsman, and Riaz is a handy bowler to have. India didn't beat Pakistan, heck they didn't even come close, but Pakistan beat Pakistan, much like South Africa beat themselves against New Zealand.

Posted by Mendis on (March 31, 2011, 2:18 GMT)

Beautifully Written....Indeed Pakistan Bowling has been a treat to watch tru-out the world cup.... Unfourtunate there batting Combusted...Thank You for Lighting Up the World Cup with the Pakistani brand of Passionate and Unfearful Cricket...

Posted by Afshan Ijaz on (March 31, 2011, 1:40 GMT)

Thank you...reading this has made me feel better...made me feel hopeful...it must be, like you say, a new beginning.

Posted by Saad Salman Zia on (March 31, 2011, 1:40 GMT)

Beautifully written :)

Posted by Bilal Haider on (March 31, 2011, 1:32 GMT)

I for one am an extremely proud Pakistani today for not only how our team played the world cup but also how the guys conducted themselves and I am also a very proud Pakistani today because I know we have a great sportsman spirit epitomised by a relaxed and smiling (although shattered and broken on the inside) Afridi ... we can go on and on and on about the debate as to what went wrong ... but I for one would rather just focus on what they achieved when everyone wrote them off and everyone ganged up on them and jumped on the bandwagon to suggest as if we are all that is wrong with cricket ... I am also proud of being a Pakistani because I remember how our crowds treated, greeted and rejoiced with the Indian team in 2004 on Pakistani soils ... that is our sportsmanship and that is our open heartedness ... we might be a smaller country but by God we have a way bigger heart ... To Afridi and all the boys ... We are immensely proud of you!!! ... thanks for the memories ...

Posted by Hasan on (March 31, 2011, 1:11 GMT)

If only we could be sure the reckoning will come. We are but a shadow of our past glory. I have to admit, though.......Afridi and his men brought that past back to life for the last few weeks.

Posted by Mubashir Syed on (March 31, 2011, 1:10 GMT)

Kamran, you make some great comments as always and the team did perform above expectations, but we shouldn't settle for this. We had a chance to win here but our fielding let us down. Pakistan , despite all the scandals and suspensions, has been very competitive. We played well in the test matches in England both against England and Australia and have done well in subsequent series against South Africa and New Zealand. We are better than this, and we have to stop defeating ourselves, by the silly fielding mistakes we keep making.

Posted by Jawad Mir on (March 31, 2011, 1:05 GMT)

I honestly have nothing but praise for our Team and Afridi. People must not point fingers. Yes we made mistakes but that's cricket. And no we didn't drop catches to gain some $. We lost to a better team and nerve got to us.

That being said, let's face it 8 months ago no one thought we would make this far but instead we as a nation were complaining how other nations including India have conspired against us to rob us of our best bowlers. Guess what's it's not that. What's done, we all know, it has nothing to do with anyone but ourselves and despite all that Afridi and his team took us so close. I only feel for our team because in 2 years, this is a third loss in semi final but I don't think any other team has consistently come this far in Champs Trophy, T20 and now World Cup.

Let's give our heros a warm welcome when they come home, alas they are the only reason we as a nation unified on March 30th, 2011. Support them so they can give us another reason to be unified.

Posted by Manoj John on (March 31, 2011, 1:03 GMT)

Cannot agree more, Kamran. Pak team leaves head held high.

Let this be the beginning of a new era in Pak cricket.

It seems that the talent stream is pretty abundant in Pakistan. Let those scandal guys remain out forever, if proven. Pakistan will not miss anything. Am an Indian btw.

Posted by Narasimhan on (March 31, 2011, 1:01 GMT)

Pakistan could not have asked for a more fitting ambassador of the game in this World Cup than Shahid Afridi. He appeared so dignified and sporting in defeat, heartily congratulating India, at what was obviously a painful loss. Perhaps, in this dark moment, Pakistan cricket will finally turn a corner and show case the incredible talent many of its youth carry. Today, Pakistan is clearly the cradle of the greatest fast bowlers. It is beyond time that the performance of the country reflects its talent, that it makes the news for its cricket rather than non-cricket, that the stupid politics that have plagued it get marginalized.

For the first time I can remember in recent memory, the defeat has the potential of transforming the team if one learns from Afridi. History will hopefully treat him as a hero.

Posted by Saleem Islam on (March 31, 2011, 0:57 GMT)

Kamran, well put and said. They have really over achieved given all that has happened over the past few months. I hope there will be no inquisition please!

Posted by Humair on (March 31, 2011, 0:56 GMT)

Hi Kamran, A great summary of Pakistan's plight in this World Cup. I sure fell in the category where I did not expect much from the current team other than where will they end up in the top four from their group. To beat Sri Lanka, and Australia and play with that much spirit against India to me, they exceeded expectations. The fight in Wahab in the semi's, the guile of Ajmal, the blossoming of the multi-talented Hafeez, the brilliance of Umar Akmal, the spirit of Afridi, the maturing of Gul, and the birth of a Mohammed Yousuf Replica in Asad Shafiq were the highlight of the tournament. Everyone else contributed in their capacity, Razzak, Younis, Misbah, Kamran, Rehman, shoaib and even Shahzad kept cheering the team. The sum were much superior than the parts for Pakistan and there were really no egotisitic team members. And finally let's not forget the guy behind the team performance and Unity. Waqar Younis, who really worked so hard to get this severely disjointed team to gel!

Posted by Ronit Ghosh on (March 31, 2011, 0:54 GMT)

You my friend are a magnificant writer. This is the best article I've seen for this match. Keep doing what you do. :D

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on (March 31, 2011, 0:53 GMT)

Kamran, you chose your words really well this time. It might have been difficult, but you found good balance to be objective.

Posted by zain on (March 31, 2011, 0:51 GMT)

couldn't agree more

Posted by Navin on (March 31, 2011, 0:45 GMT)

Well said, Mr. Abbasi.

Posted by Suresh on (March 31, 2011, 0:41 GMT)

Those missed catches were very costly. Otherwise this should be a tight match. Though Pak is defeated, the team looks strong unit. It will come very strong in near future. All the best India for the cup.

Posted by Aleem on (March 31, 2011, 0:36 GMT)

The way Younas, Misbah had batted - and missed catches of Tendular [1 each ]it was very evident that they were playing against Afridi. It is well the time to replace them as well as Kamran Akmal - who's drop catches has always heart the team heavily. Razzaq's time with the team should also be over - you can't just play one inning in 5 years and stay in the team. These 4 players need to be replaced with Young Blood now. These so called seniors would never want any captain to win the honors - by winning any significant tournament. They have personal egos, more higher than the dignity of the country. I wish there is no BHAI culture in the Pak Squad and 11 players play like MATES - with equal respect for all and a Sensible Captain - may be someone like HAFEEZ, who at least has cricketing brain and is not just insensible emotional character like Afridi. If PCB did not do the above mentioned - I am afraid no one would support Pak Cricket team in future.

Posted by Hitesh Joshi on (March 31, 2011, 0:33 GMT)

Sehwag's and Raina's innings were crucial. Sachin, although extremely lucky, played very beautiful shots. Wahab and Nehra bowled beautifully. Dhoni captained very well and Afridi's captaincy, although mediocre in this match, showed desire. Umar Akmal and Hafeez played well. Yuvi and Bhajji showed their importance in the Indian team. Munaf and Pak spinners bowled smartly. Gul too had some comeback after Sehwag. The umpires did well too. The spectators were sporty (glad there was no booing).

Now just tell me what were Younis Khan and Misbah doing?

Totally off-color, laid back personalities lacking aggression, they spoiled the whole fun in the match..they made it a mismatch. And this comes from an ardent Indian fan.

They dropped catches, and did not know where to place their shots! And about Kamran Dropmal.. all Pakistan matches must have a mandatory Kamran-Drop, right?

Pak team has some serious issues because of these players. BUT be proud of the effort so far, in spite of them.

Posted by Masaood Yunus on (March 31, 2011, 0:30 GMT)

Well said Kamran.

Lets face it, we never really expected Pakistan to advance to this level amid all the background in the past many months. Just a year ago, they were completely written off and in real danger.

They definitely surprised us by being here as well as beating Australia. The team spirit and dedication that the team showed in exemplary and Afridi generally has been an inspiring Captain.

They just need to continue their journey forward with the same positive energy. There will be another day .. in better times.

My best wishes to the future of Pakistan Cricket. They brought us much joy and pain this summer, but at the end, we Love You All. A few careers will end in next few months and rightly so. Its time to look forward and I wish Waqar Younis can continue his good work.

Posted by salma on (March 31, 2011, 0:30 GMT)

Can't figure out Misbah. What were his intentions? Why didn't he even try to win it? Umar Gul was shamefull and was the only difference between two teams. The extra score he gave was what we needed at the end. Not a single batsman wanted to play a long innings..........shamefull performance as a whole. 7 catches dropped, isn't it a familier story?????

Posted by Veritas on (March 31, 2011, 0:29 GMT)

One must place sport in its proper context. Putting commercial considerations to the side, sport is, at best, a temporary distraction from reality; at worst, it is a means of escapism from issues of real importance, such as one alluded to here (ie, "wars ... on ... borders and within them"). No person died in the game, of course. No social advantage (or disadvantage) for any country accrued due to the result. Also, no one was "crushed", nor "broken", descriptions more suitable for victims of natural disasters, terrorism, etc. I say this as a (neutral) Anglicised Southern European born in Australia. Pacem.

Posted by Mudassar Rana on (March 31, 2011, 0:29 GMT)

Whole heartedly agree with you kamran - best article you have ever written. spoken like a true fan.

Indeed the sadness with this match is that we have only ourselves to blame for losing - but the pressure was intense for me so i can imagine how the players felt.

Posted by RohitK on (March 31, 2011, 0:27 GMT)

An excellent article Kamran. I am Indian, and yet I was very impressed and moved by the resilience and hope of this new Pakistan team. They have gone through a torturous time, with the scandals, the administration and the isolation of their nation. Yet they came out fighting, with an unbroken spirit and genuine love for the game.

To the Pakistani fans, all I can say is that they should be immensely proud of their team for the way they fought against the odds, and brought expectation and hope to a nation, and fear into the mind of their opposition. Do not begrudge today's loss, for it was a hard fought battle and both sides had their share of joys and pains. In the end, cherish the great game of cricket played, and the bridges it might have built between the two nations.

I, along with hundreds of millions of other cricketing fans, respect the Pakistani team for the way they came up against the odds, and for the passion they have brought to the game. All the best for the future.

Posted by Rishi Bhardwaj on (March 31, 2011, 0:22 GMT)

Well said Kamran. It was heartening to see Wahab Riaz and the Pakistani spinners giving their all and giving their best. I thoroughly enjoyed Pakistani bowling and was appalled by their fielding. Even in our club games I expect better catching from my comrades. Kudos to Wahab and to the Pakistani think-tank to put faith in him before Shoaib Akhtar. How I wish India could steal a fast bowler or two from Pakistan!

Posted by Bukhari on (March 31, 2011, 0:22 GMT)

Great article Kamran, love your thoughtful touch on all the turning ponits of the match and your analysis of all the culprits of this match without naming them. Afridi & Waqar deserve a pat on the back for picking Pak cricket from the wreckage, assembling a make shift structure strong enough to stand for 48 days before crumbling under its own weight.

Yes the new beginning must be to build a much stronger structure, and strat with finding a reliable wicket keeper without the greed of runs but glove work. The new beginning to have reliable opners, not the bits and pieces. And yes! The new beginning for ODI team having young, fresh legs and positive intent. Younis and Misbah! you are great players but take a leaf out of Dravid & Laxman and keep yourselves to tests only. Ijaz Butt! do you have an iota of integrity? Pl leave Pak cricket and join some baffoon theatre, you may fit there. Can we have an honest and capable PCB? The beginning must start from there. Good luck Pak cricke

Posted by Krishna on (March 31, 2011, 0:22 GMT)

Awesome Article. Can feel the dejection of the true supporter. Reminds the Friday feelings after India-Pakistan match in Sharjah.

Posted by SaminColumbia on (March 31, 2011, 0:21 GMT)

Pakistan should be pretty used to this by now...India has defeated Pakistan 7 times (and counting) in World Cup matches - 5 times in ODI's and twice in T20's!!

Posted by Tariq on (March 31, 2011, 0:20 GMT)

An excellent article to lift the spirits. It hurts no doubt but it's a new team and whatever it has achieved in this world cup, we should cherish it. As a nation we need to give the team some time to settle down properly and we will see success. Just keep the damn politicians and politics out of this team. Let the captain and the coach do their job. Go Pakistan.. we are with you, arise like a Phoenix from ashes.

Posted by Ananth G on (March 31, 2011, 0:19 GMT)

I am not a fan of Pakistan or Pakistan cricket. But today I admire Shahid Afridi's team for fighting hard in this tournament. There is still a lot of basics they lack - catching, wicketkeeping, running between the wickets - but their passion for the game is there for all to see. Good luck for building on this foundation.

Posted by Rizwan Liaqat on (March 31, 2011, 0:19 GMT)

Sorry Kamran, but other than Riaz's spectacular performance, there are no positives to be taken from this match. A pathetic all round display from fielding, our best bowler and the batting.

As a Pakistani it pains me to say it, but when it comes to crunch matches against India, it is always men vs boys. Losing is a habit they say, and boy do our players love to lose. Don't see our lot beating the neighbours in a World Cup ever. Disgusting as ever. I'm not just broken but frustrated and angry. The game was ours to lose. We lost it. As always.

Posted by Adnan on (March 31, 2011, 0:19 GMT)

The biggest issue for me with Shahid Afridi is that he doesn't seem to have a plan B to turn to when things are not going Pakistan's way. We saw plenty of that today. First, persisting with Umar Gul when he was being taken to cleaners, and not bringing in Razzaq or someone else. Then being clueless about when to take the batting powerplay. Had they taken the powerplay when Razzaq got in, things could have been quite different as Dhoni would have had to bring in his premier bowlers at that time. Cricket has changed, so must Pakistan's thinking and strategy if they want to be successful in the future.

Posted by JP on (March 31, 2011, 0:19 GMT)

Even a die-hard India fan like me has to appreciate what Pakistan pulled off this World Cup. Thank you Kamram Abbasi for a thoughtful and poignant piece in the middle of heart break. I think Pakistan, through grit, luck, and charisma, won a lot of fans. Thanks for giving us a day to remember.

Posted by Quratulain on (March 31, 2011, 0:19 GMT)

It is very rarely that a pakistani batsman goes on to score big. They all fall in 20s, 30s or 40s. First five batsmen raise the asking rate by at least 2 and when lower middle order comes in, asking rate is always at 7 or 8. Even while playing first, they score at 4 an over and then ask 5th,6th,and 7th batsman to hammer every ball for six. Its only good bowling performances which won them matches. Its high time that Younis Khan stops playing ODIs. Kamran Akmal is surely a history now. Misbah should change the hell he creates otherwise let him go too. Bring in guys like Fawad Alam, Usman sallahudin and Naved Yasin. It's time that Sarfaraz Ahmad is given a prolonged chance in national team. Afridi needs to transform him from a slog hitter to a decent batsman now.

Posted by US_Indian on (March 31, 2011, 0:18 GMT)

Good One-I have been a witness to many an Indian defeat in the initial days when Pakistan were dominant in the ODI's and the time i was in Sharjah stadium when Miandad hit the last ball for a Six.Losses do hurt but on the whole I would say Pakistan did well beyond their expectations inspite of all the chaos,but all is well because those issues brought this team together as a unit otherwise I havent seen pakistani sides of late being so closenit.If at all Pakistani team has to go forward from here they have to drop the Akmal clan once and for all, find some decent wicket keeper, Afridi did a good job, Umar gul did a good job but once in a while everyone has a day off. Fielding was the major difference between the two teams. As the former Indian Allrounder Syed Abid Ali said once, victory or defeat is decided by the better fielding side and better running between the wicket sides and last but not the least a side which plans the game properly and stays calm and composed.

Posted by Alam on (March 31, 2011, 0:16 GMT)

I am quite happy with Pakistan performance. They did great. They just need to fine tune themselves to become a great team. They do need some changes at least in one day international matches. Also it is great to see temperament of young players like Umar Akmal, Riaz and Asad. They are future of Pakistan.

Posted by mahmood ali on (March 31, 2011, 0:15 GMT)

its hard to swallow defeat but its only a game pakistan reached the semi finals in a world cup match hats off it was a great effort we should have won but we lost all we lost is our pride it hurt for about 1 hour but all is fine im proud of our nation we will regroup and be back pakistan zindabad

Posted by Phani Thotakura on (March 31, 2011, 0:15 GMT)

Great article Kamran. As an Indian supporter, I am happy with the result the semi-final threw up. I am eagerly waiting for Saturday to see what more this Indian team led by the impressive Dhoni can achieve. But I am also happy with the way the Pakistan team carried itself through out the world cup under the passionate leadership of Afridi. Umar Akmal is a rare talent who needs to be nurtured along with the likes of Asad Shafiq and I am sure that Pakistan cricket will see glorious days again.

Posted by SG on (March 31, 2011, 0:14 GMT)

Great article... so very well written. Everyone should finally realize that it is a game after all, and is to be enjoyed.

Posted by S on (March 31, 2011, 0:13 GMT)

beautifully written; couldn't help but be teary-eyed as I read this

Posted by sagir on (March 31, 2011, 0:12 GMT)

Kamran, i have always enjoyed reading your articles... and once again you have put together a very well written piece together expressing the pain and hurt that fans have to face and yet succinctly stated that this was as good as it could have got for Pakistan in this tournament, who did very well to win their matches on the strength of their bowling alone.. so rather than criticise them for getting out, let us praise them for what they achieved despite the adversities...

Posted by Srini on (March 31, 2011, 0:12 GMT)

SF match lived up to its hype even though the standard of cricket fell short. I would say, PAK's batting lost this match rather than India's superior bowling. Hafeez (for throwing away his perfect start), Younis and Misbah should all be held accountable for their recklessness with the last two probably playing their last of ODI cricket. Wahab was a revelation today. With his place more secure now that Shoaib Akhtar is retired, he could form a vital link in Pak's bowling attack in future. Overall, PAK team can be proud of their achievement in this WC given where they were just a few months ago on Eng. Good luck to Ind for finals. May the best team win!.

Posted by sundar on (March 31, 2011, 0:12 GMT)

An excellent article. A very balanced and touching one. The Pakistani team must really be commended for their performance and behavior on the field in this world cup They have a lot of good wishes to carry with them. Keep it up Pakistan your second world cup is not far.

Posted by Aravind on (March 31, 2011, 0:11 GMT)

My words might sound a little hollow in these times, but Afridi really conducted himself brilliantly. The passion to win and compete is awesome. The relative success of Pakistan indicates how poorer world cricket will be without their presence. High time India starts supporting regular cricket with Pakistan. Inviting them for the IPL would also be a good place to start.

Posted by Vishal Khandelwal on (March 31, 2011, 0:10 GMT)

Nice article..Well done to the Pakistani team .. they were admirable

Posted by Shivanker Saxena on (March 31, 2011, 0:10 GMT)

Excellent. EXCELLENT!!!

Posted by Hassan on (March 31, 2011, 0:08 GMT)

Mr. Abbasi,

I totally agree that the condition of our team a month before the world-cup was miserable. The only reason we as nation are disappointed because we were over-expecting from our team. In last two world cups (2003 and 2007) we had far better teams as compared to this current one but this 2011 world cup squad comprised of young guns made it to Semi Finals. I hope that we will not going to fire any player or coaching staff. In fact our board should start working better on basic infrastructure. We have to promote this sports on schools levels as well. We as nation love this sport and we don't want it to become like Hockey. My full support is with Shahid Afridi and Waqar Younis. Pakistan Cricket team rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Mohammad on (March 31, 2011, 0:07 GMT)

Also acknowledge that at the end of the day, the better team won.

Posted by Deepak on (March 31, 2011, 0:05 GMT)

Super article...despite the loss today, Pakistan cricket can look forward to a great future ahead. The strength of a team and its leader needs to judged based on the strides they have made, not entirely on the final outcome. A month back, nobody gave Pakistan a chance to get to the semis. Playing as a unit with a coherent strategy, they swished thru the qualifiers, dismantled NZ in the QF and almost got India. They can look to build on this and revive the greatness of Pakistan cricket

Posted by dilli8890 on (March 31, 2011, 0:05 GMT)

As an India fan, I am glad India won. But congrats to Afridi and the Pakistan team for some wonderful cricket over the last month or so. Afridi was a true statesman in his post-match comments. Wahab Riaz bowled as good a spell under pressure as I have seen. Imagine what the attack would have been like with Asif and Aamir. Good luck to Pakistan cricket. I hope you guys put your house in order.

Posted by dark_jinx on (March 31, 2011, 0:05 GMT)

very well written!!! broken-hearted paki fan :( BUT also very PROUD of the guys in green - afridi was a true leader, showed great attitude and our young players (umar & riaz) put their heart into the game - disappointed with the seniors.....excited for the next world cup cuz the youngsters will be well polished by then!!!

Posted by Fawad on (March 31, 2011, 0:05 GMT)

Umar Gul psyched himself out of this match before he even stepped on the field. Stating that the inclusion of Akhtar would relieve the pressure off his shoulders is tantamout to confessing that he is unable to handle pressure. Wahab's incredible performance not only did justice for his inclusion in this high pressure match, but was also a slap in the face of Gul who insinuated that he didn't have faith in his ability and would rather partner with Akhtar. Umar Gul's incredibly pathetic bowling display set the tempo early on in india's favor and consequently cost us the match in the first 4 overs.

Posted by Yogi on (March 31, 2011, 0:04 GMT)

Abbasi bhai, customarily well-written article. I can feel your pain.

I am an Indian supporter. My joy at today's result was tinged with empathy for the Pakistani team's fans. Yes, India ultimately played better today and deserved to win, but the Pak team did not deserve to lose. Yes, they dropped catches like unfocused three year-olds and (some batsmen) played stupid shots or did not play any shots. But for all that, Riaz was magnificent. As were the spinners. And Afridi.

Frankly, it is the Pak cricket establishment that should be sacked wholesale, not the players. Bring in some great ex-players like Wasim Akram and mold a new generation that will play the brilliant cricket only Pakistan can produce.

Posted by SQ on (March 31, 2011, 0:04 GMT)

I think a better title would have been "Beaten, but not broken". We were not crushed.

Posted by avinash on (March 31, 2011, 0:04 GMT)

well played pakistan...now pray for india....inshaallah..your big brother will lift the cup this time....thanks afridi..for showing grace even in loss...

Posted by Sushmit Mazumdar on (March 31, 2011, 0:04 GMT)

Excellent article! It is not a time to rue insignificant( in the context of the bigger picture) details like dropped catches or poor shot-selection by well-set batsmen. Rather, it is a time to celebrate the scrappy but highly-competitive game that unfolded, played in generally good spirits by two of the better teams in the tournament. Even though, being an Indian fan, I was rooting for the Indian team to somehow emerge on the winning side, I was fascinated to watch Wahab Riaz and his superb bowling, Afridi's wearing his passion on his sleeve; Hafeez,Ajmal and Shahid mesmerizing Indian batsmen with their guileful spin, and later, Hafeez and Kamran in full flow. If Shahid can hold the team together like he has done in the past few weeks,this team can become as solid as any other. Hats off to the Pakistan team for going farther than anybody expected them to.This is not a moment of disgrace, but should be one of pride and celebration. My best wishes to the team!

Posted by MUHAMMAD on (March 31, 2011, 0:03 GMT)

DONT WORRY PAKISTAN WE R ALWAYS WITH YOU. LOVE YOU AFRIDI

Posted by jar on (March 31, 2011, 0:02 GMT)

Game lost is a game lost and the pain is even more with a loss to India.

Posted by Shahid on (March 31, 2011, 0:02 GMT)

I can understand each and every faulty shot because batsmen do that now and then. I can understand Umar Gul because he has always been a third class bowler or a first class performer, never in between. BUT what I cant understand is one senior batsman who even doesn't try to win it. He blocks five out of six balls each and every over as the asking rate climbes from 6.50 to 7 to 8 to 9 then 10 and above, but he blocks even then and overs are going for 2,3 or 0 runs... and when it is surely lost then he hits a few in Powerplay to make his SR look like a healthy one.

Posted by Harpreet singh bhinder on (March 31, 2011, 0:01 GMT)

I thouht pakistan need new blood like Hammad azam and many more who can play for country...... Razzak,misbah,younis and Kamran is not fit for od1.. At last....Afridi welll done........

Posted by Deepanjan Datta on (March 30, 2011, 23:59 GMT)

Afridi's men can hold their head high. His post match interview summed up the man - eyes still moist but spine unbowed he admits to the mistakes, but doesn't witch-hunt - instead displays pride in his team. He looked like a leader of men, and behaved like one. His wishes to India, and apologies to his fans were words of earnest. In between PAK yo-yo-ed from brilliance to despairing and added that charm of unpredictability they always bring. Yet they were the team which got its act together to beat the hitherto "unbeatables" and an eventual finalist. Indian batting is perhaps the strongest of tournament which carried them to 260 despite deceptively sluggish pitch, and excellent bowling. But Pakistan would know - purely for their fielding efforts alone, India were the better team tonight.

Posted by Atish Ganguly on (March 30, 2011, 23:59 GMT)

"Shahid Afridi and his brothers in exile reminded you of the joy and the thrilling expectation that once made Pakistan cricket great." - that once made Pakistan cricket great ? As long as the spark and the grace that we saw today remains alive, despite everything, Pakistan cricket will always remain great !

Posted by Santhosh Hiriyanna on (March 30, 2011, 23:58 GMT)

Nice article. Hope is a thing you should never give up. Pakistan has the potential to lift the world cup no doubt. The fact that they have made this far is a plus in spite of them going through disturbances be it in the team or the country itself.They can go home with pride intact.

Posted by Pathan on (March 30, 2011, 23:58 GMT)

With Pakistan cricket, its not so much as being beaten by the opposition but rather being beaten by yourself!

And today, Pakistan gifted victory to India. The much vaunted Indian batting was a shambles and without Tendulkar's innings, the Indian score would have barely made 200. Yet, for as long as I remember watching Pakistan over three frustrating decades, the appalling fielding cost Pakistan the match. Its very simple; Dropeed Catches, Lose Matches and Tendulkar had about six birthdays in the space of 2 hours!

It difficult to blame individuals but there is little doubt that Younis Khan and Misbah lost Pakistan a place in the final. Firstly, the awful catches they dropped cost Pakistan around 50-60 runs and then the abject, inexplicable batting was more suited to a 20 day test match than a ODI World Cup Semi Final. Despite all that, Pakistan still had a chance and why on earth wouldnt you take the powerplay when Afridi is likely to get out any ball? I just cant explain today.

Posted by JK on (March 30, 2011, 23:57 GMT)

Afridi and his boyz shouldn't be ashamed of this loss. They gave their best and were in the game until the end. Instead this WC campaign should lift their spirits up and help them to be more focused on cricket!

Posted by Satyajit Mukherjee on (March 30, 2011, 23:57 GMT)

Kamranbhai, you have certainly done your part in appreciating the true grit shown by this Pakistan team, in the face of overwhelming odds. Although, I am Indian at heart, I could not help admiring the resilience and courage shown by this team. I have cheered every victory of theirs, every boundary and wicket taken, barring the one against India. Even so, I am saddened at their departure from this World Cup. This is the team that brought joy and passion with their game, and backed it up with unquestionable commitment. It will be a travesty of justice if this talented bunch of cricketers have to go home to face brickbats and inquisitions, instead of being welcomed back with open arms for proudly upholding the flag of their country.

Posted by Hemant on (March 30, 2011, 23:57 GMT)

I'm an Indian, but was proud to see the Pakistani fightback despite the pressure, politics, Sehwag assault in the beginning and finally the dropped catches. And the way the team behaved, esp. Afridi, I've a new found respect for these guys. Great work Pakistan, and all the best for future!

Posted by Imran ahmad on (March 30, 2011, 23:56 GMT)

Nice article Kamaran. I agree with you. I will salute Afridi who single-handedly took Pakistan to semifinal against all odds through his individual brilliance and leadership skills.He made his team fight hard till the end. Reckless fielding costed us the match.If we look at the general state of affairs in Pakistan, Pakistan team performance needs to be praised. What more a team can achieve whose chairman is Ijaj Butt and whose patron in chief is Zardari?

Posted by A Saleem on (March 30, 2011, 23:55 GMT)

Beautiful piece of writing. It makes me feel a bit better :) It sucks, it blows, but so be it. I am proud of Shahid Afridi and how he led our team!

Posted by Nikhil on (March 30, 2011, 23:55 GMT)

Very well written article, Kamran. Enjoyed reading it.

The general consensus in India seems to be that this game was played in a very good spirit by both sides. I always tend to overlook some personality issues and like the players who take their game seriously (Ponting being a prime example). I will be frank, I did not have a good opinion about Afridi before this WC but Afridi looked so sincere in this whole campaign that I have to admit that I was wrong. He also was so magnanimous in his speech that this game probably did much more about Indo-Pak relationship than those gentleman and their predecessors have been able to achieve so far.

It was a breath of fresh air to see the players be so respectful towards each other. There is something distinctly likable about this Pakistani team and I hope they are able to maintain this spirit and keep troubles and trouble-makers away to concentrate on cricket.

Posted by Lokesh on (March 30, 2011, 23:54 GMT)

As an Indian, I am truly touched by this article. Good luck to the Pakistan cricket team to scale many more peaks in the years to come. Pakistan cricket at its best is a sight to behold and the team is on the right track to achieve past glory.

Posted by Omer Moin on (March 30, 2011, 23:54 GMT)

Kamran, say it aint so! :(

Posted by moosa on (March 30, 2011, 23:53 GMT)

Awesome.... Abbasi Awesome Read...thank you mate... thank you for making me forget the pain... thank you for trying that the pessimist shut their mouth... thank you.... Team Green you ve made us proud, Afridi you are a legend no matter what... Long live PAkistan.

Posted by Praveen on (March 30, 2011, 23:51 GMT)

Way too philosophical, but I understand your pain.

Posted by aabbs7 on (March 30, 2011, 23:50 GMT)

Yeah, I know ur right, but its still gutting, India were there 4 the takin, lets not 4get, Tendulkar WAS LBW and he should hav been out, had that desision gone our way it would hav been a completely different story. Nevamind, I love Pakistan no matter wat, and I'm proud that despite every1 hating us and wanting us 2 go home early, we got right up2 the semis, and were unlucky in the end, well done Pakistan cricket team, much love.

Posted by Ranjit on (March 30, 2011, 23:48 GMT)

Poignant article. The 2003 centurion clash was remembered for Tendulkar’s and Sehwag’s innings. However this one will be remembered for Riaz’s spell and Afridi’s mature captaincy.

Posted by Yogesh on (March 30, 2011, 23:47 GMT)

I thought Afridi was terrific and even his batting was more mature. But he was pushed to a point of no-return when he came to bat. Even accounting for Gul's off-day, if Younis/Kamran had caught Tendulkar they would have chased something significantly lesser. It was a delight to hear him joking at the press conference about not allowing Tendulkar a century. I thought he missed a trick by not having a slip for Ajmal to Sachin as he was stuggling to pick him and also when Dhoni was new at the crease. It was a bit strange given that Ajmal bowls doosra well.

Secondly, India owes Pakistan something for softening up Aussies. I think the Pakistan defeat just before QFs sowed some seeds of doubts in Aussie minds.

Unlike many, just by the nature of the format i was thinking of Pakistan as a possible semi-finalist. But i did not expect them to make it there so clinically. Riaz's yorker was terrific and wonder when did i last see a spinner strangle Sachin so much as Ajmal today ?

Posted by Ahmad Zubairi on (March 30, 2011, 23:47 GMT)

I am feeling down but not devastated. Kudos to waqar and afridi to gel this team together and come upto the semis. On another day Umar would have bowled to his potential, we would have taken catches ot batted better and won the match. I guess pressure did finally get to them. We should support our team and congratulate India. Lets wait for a cracking finale.Good luck Pakistan in future

Posted by Azmat Siddiqui on (March 30, 2011, 23:45 GMT)

We still love our cricket team. Well done Afridi. Winning a loosing is a part of the game. It was not our day.

However it is time to start re-building. Kamran Akmal has served his purpose. We need a real wicket keeper not a back stopper. Razzaq is no more required. Younus has to show more committment or should quit one-day cricket, same goes for Misbah. Both are test players. One-day cricket does not need them.

Posted by ivehadit on (March 30, 2011, 23:44 GMT)

Beautifully written Kamran. I'm a permanent fan!

India should relent on its politically inspired ban on the generously spirited Pakistani players and invite them to play in the IPL on the basis of talent, not reject them on the basis of national origin. Indian fans may begrudge their resilience when playing against India, but they will accept Afridi, Gul, Umar Akmal and Wahab Riaz as the best of the best and enjoy watching them play for their teams.

The world has moved on. Let the IPL move on as well.

Posted by Altaf on (March 30, 2011, 23:44 GMT)

A well-written piece to signal the end of a great Pakistan campaign. Great job boys, we're proud of you!

Posted by mahavir on (March 30, 2011, 23:44 GMT)

touche

Posted by Raj on (March 30, 2011, 23:41 GMT)

Mr Abbasi, why dont you spend some time and come up with an analysis that makes Pakistan vs India 6-5 in World Cups? It may calm your frayed nerves.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

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