ISLAMABAD: The sensational victory of the West Indies against India in the World Twenty20 semi-final overnight was by and large well-cheered by the Pakistani cricket fans after the unceremonious exit of their own side at the group stage.
Most of the fans were seen exhaling cries of sheer joy as Andre Russel hit Indian superstar Virat Kohli for a towering six to bring up the improbable-looking victory as silence fell over 45,000-capacity, overflowing Wankhede Stadium and across India which has a cricket-crazy population of almost 1.20 billion.
The Pakistani fans, ruing their team’s 11 defeats in ODI or Twenty20 World Cup, were perhaps compensating for the dismal performance of their team which failed to make it the last-four stage of the current tournament after losing three matches on the trot–to India, New Zealand and Australia respectively.
“All three tormentors of Pakistan have now crashed out,” said a teenager, Fawad, who sat through the India-West Indies match in a Cafe of the only five-star hotel of Rawalpindi.
Along with this teenager, a good number of people gathered to watch the West Indies whip India at their home soil.”Serves them right”, said another particular emotional fan.
Such emotions should be seen in the backdrop of intense rivalry that has developed between the two sub-continent rivals in almost all fields of life but particularly reflected in the sporting arena.
“Now, the Indians should agree to a bilateral series with Pakistan,” quipped another cricket-obsessed fan.”The Indians pride may now been badly dented.”
After losing unexpectedly to New Zealand in their opening match, India had swept aside all–Pakistan, Bangladesh and Australia–on their way to take on the West Indies in the semi-finals at a placid Wankhede Stadium pitch. England beat New Zealand in the first semi final at Feroz Shah Kotla, New Delhi, on Wednesday.
The Pakistani fans, who were glued to their TV screens all through the evening, wore long faces and dejected looks when India set West Indies a challenging target of 193 to win and then scalped feared big-hitter Chris Gayle in the very second over of the chase.
Slowly and steadily, the fans cheered up as Charles Johnson, Lendl Simmons and Andre Russel Shattered Indian dreams of glory.
“Thanks to the Indian Premier League (IPL) as West Indians have ample experience of playing on Indian pitches, which they exhibit well during the match,” said Kamran Hanif, a passionate cricket fan.
As both the teams played well and it was West Indies which stole the limelight, but indeed it was a victory of cricket – the game full of emotions and passion.