Pakistan's remarkable revival
A man can fly after taking 7 wickets in a One Day International - Waqar Younis at Leeds
Photo © CricInfo
That most of these wins were achieved when it was rarely if ever on full strength - with among others key players such as Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar and Inzamam sitting out matches - also shows that the team is developing the until now missing resolve, to overcome a combination of adversity and opposition at the same time.
This indeed is heartening for those followers of the team who had been greatly disappointed after the almost unending series of disasters in the last one year or so.
To a great extent, the credit for this metamorphosis goes to skipper Waqar Younis, and his never-say-die attitude. Waqar may not have been highly imaginative in his bowling changes or inventive in field placings. But whatever he lacked in tactics, he more than made up for with a big heart and leading by example. As a result of it, he has grown in stature as a captain and rejuvenated himself as a strike bowler.
Waqar Younis celebrates the wicket of Mark Waugh
Photo © AFP
His mates must appreciate that his endeavours led to victories for the team, and the Aussie sequence of six wins against Pakistan was broken. And also those of his detractors who thought that he was no longer good enough for the limited version of the game and should be put to pasture sooner than later. They stand silenced, and quite effectively so.
Initially, the architect of this rather magnificent comeback was Inzamam, providing runs when the team desperately needed them.
And once the tide was turned at Old Trafford, and the series drawn, Pakistan has not looked back. That way Inzamam was the catalyst, while Waqar has been the inspiration behind this remarkable revival.
Abdur Razzaq drives bowler Ben Hollioake through mid off
Photo © CricInfo
And even the crowd disturbance in the stands, which unfortunately spilled out on to the field, have not been able to take any of the sheen off their performances.
For their part, the Australians in this event look some distance from their peak, and have played to their high standards only in patches. That said, a win is a win and the one over the World Champions is worth savouring.
But having won the dress rehearsal, what about the final? One thing can safely be assumed: with Pakistan's spirits buoyed up, it would be anything but the kind of one-sided affair that the '99 World Cup Final was. In this irresistible form the Pakistanis are more than a match for the Aussies, quite capable of making it two wins in a row against the team best rated in the world. One is already all anticipation for some highly explosive cricket. And may the spectators enjoy it too but, from the stands please.