March 31, 2011

We cost ourselves the semifinal by shoddy fielding — mainly the several Tendulkar dropped catches — followed by some irresponsible and on occasion sluggish batting. But errors of this one game aside, which we did not lose by a huge margin and fought till the very end, Pakistan was beaten by a team of experienced players and renowned batsmen who in Mohali played on an ideal batting track —  and remember, bowling has been our strength in this tournament.

We, the underdogs, controversy-ridden, deprived of international cricket at home and constantly juggling with player selections, were also beaten by a well-groomed side with international cricket experience at home and formal cricketing opportunities such as the IPL. Yet, still, our bowler Wahab Riaz in a nerve-wracking semifinal against India, in India, finished with figures of 5-46 and added a runout to his name. Saeed Ajmal troubled Indian batsmen throughout their innings. We made it to the semis, and on the way there we defeated Australia and we breezed through the quarter-final against the West Indies, where our openers led us to a 10-wicket victory. And our captain, Shahid Afridi, remains the leading wicket-taker in the tournament.

It is no small feat what we achieved in this ICC World Cup 2011.

Here’s what Pakistanis online had to say to and about their team after the match:

“After an hour of disbelief, here is all I can manage: Thank You Team Pakistan, Thank You for restoring hope at a juncture where it was all but lost, thank you for reminding the world why they can NEVER count us out, thank you for proving our critics wrong —I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t gutted! But you have been brilliant, you have …”  — Fahad Hussain via Facebook

“I love the men in green for making us all realise we’re Pakistanis first. And can get together to support one cause. I hope the patriotism lasts forever!” — Faiza Karamali via Facebook

“I salute the Pakistan Cricket Team for performing extremely well throughout the World Cup and fighting for their goal and securing third position in the rankings” — Mofeez Sheikh via Facebook

“So proud of Afridi, Lala you were brilliant. No need to apologise. Extremely proud of the team, we made it to the semifinals. Well played” — Sana Saleem via Facebook

“Considering the circumstances #TeamPakistan has been through, it’s brilliance of Afridi & team to reach this far. Well done!”   — FurSid via Twitter

“My heart breaks for Afridi. He carried us all the way here and deserves our gratitude” — Sami Shah via Twitter

“No Lala!! No need to apologise! You did us proud” — Kalakawa via Twitter

“We’ve survived international cricket isolation, match fixing scandals & still come this far; Lala & his boys have done us proud —respect!” — Yusra Askari via Twitter

“Men in green, you have given us a lot of joy over the past few weeks and every reason to be proud of you” — Nighat Dad via Twitter

“Team Pakistan you did well throughout the World Cup 2011. We will give you a heroes’ welcome on your return home #cwc2011″ — Jehan Ara via Twitter

Our players, and especially our captain, are truly deserving of a hero’s welcome on their return home.

Farieha Aziz is a Karachi-based journalist and teacher. She joined Newsline in 2007, rising to assistant editor. Farieha was awarded the APNS award for Best Investigative Report (Business/Economic) for the year 2007-2008. She is a co-founder and Director at Bolo Bhi, an advocacy forum of Digital Rights.