Lahore, March 30 (IANS) The fire-crackers that had been stacked up and the euphoria that was building came to naught as India beat Pakistan by 29 runs in the World Cup semifinal at Mohali Wednesday, a match that could have gone either way.
The cheers turned into mourning and the smiles faded away into tears, as people of every age group – be it children, youngsters, the elderly – everyone just couldn’t help but shake their heads in despair for fighting hard till the last minute and reaching so close, and yet losing a match in which the fortunes of the two sides swung widely.
“We got off to good start, but then at regular intervals, we started losing two-three quick wickets. But when (captain) Shahid Afridi was out, all our hopes were completely dashed,” said Yousuf Bashir, an elderly resident.
What was touted as the clash of the titans, was indeed a nerve-wrecking experience for many, but not for little 10-year-old Jamaal Khan, who was in tears as Pakistan lost their last wicket, that of Misbah-ul-Haq, even though victory at that stage was impossible, what with Pakistan needing 30 runs off the last two balls.
“I don’t want to say anything,” said a crying Khan.
And Pakisatan’s jinx of beaten by India every time they have faced off in the World Cup continued. India had beaten Pakistan in 1992, 1996, 1999 and 2003 and now in 2011.
This year though, looking at the way Pakistani team was performing, in the tournament especially after breaking Australia’s dream run of 34 World Cup victories, much was being expected but unfortunately it was not to be.
“I am in tears, it is just not happening. We played well in this World cup, and after breaking the Australian jink, I was hopeful of breaking it this time too, but it just didn’t happen,” said artist Nabiha Hasan.
People also used social networking site Facebook to share their sentiments.
“Is totally shattered and heartbroken…”, Omar Jamil, CEO of PR firm Latitude posted on his page.
For Zahir Rahimtoola, a businessman, the game turned “depressing” and dampened all his spirits of exciting party plans.
“Looking at the way Pakistan was playing, we had assumed we were going to party all night, but, it just turned out to be opposite. It is grim and sour now,” said Rahimtoola.
But, fashion writer Aamna Haider Isani had seen it coming and wasn’t optimistic about Pakistan winning.
“The game was like a bad accident. Sometimes you know there is a disaster ahead and you can’t look away. I am glad the first innings was fun to watch,” she told IANS.
So what was the turning point of the game?
“Losing the toss was the turning point,” she added.
Businesswoman Fareshteh Aslam agreed with her and posted on her Facebook page: “We drop catches. Top order bats like rank amateurs. Er, do we deserve to be in a World Cup final?”
Though, it was a difficult fact to digest, Khalid Ansari, a waiter at the Punjab Club bravely puts on a smiling face and said: “Winning and losing is part of a game. The team that plays well, wins it, nothing to worry about. Life moves on, nothing stops. It’s just a moment of loss, tomorrow everything will be fine.”