Cricket World Cup 2011: Bombay Proves To Be a Bridge Too Far for Pakistan

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Cricket World Cup 2011: Bombay Proves To Be a Bridge Too Far for Pakistan

The dream is over.

The Pakistan team is back from its Indian dungeon amidst mixed reactions. For some it was "match fixed" from the outset. Others saw it as a mission impossible whilst the majority of us are proud of the fact that Pakistan's national anthem was played on Indian soil and the flag raised high for the world to see.  

At Mohali, expectations were high, but from the very day Pakistan drew India in the semifinals, it was going to be a tough ask considering the fact that Pakistan has never beaten an Indian side in a World Cup game and because India on their home soil are almost unbeatable.

For some Pakistani supporters who had managed to get hold of the tickets, it was a dream come true to witness the duel. For others who were not that fortunate, the game was screened in market places and local stadiums, one such being the DHA Stadium in Karachi, Pakistan. 

The match-day environment was fantastic! Flags waving all around the city, people rushing up to different venues to watch the game, cars covered with the Pakistan flags and boys and girls alike painting their faces with green and white chanting Pakistan Zindabad (Long Live Pakistan). 

For Pakistan and India, it was a battle for national pride. A vintage Pakistani side turned up, and despite dropping six catches, restricted the Indian batting order to 260 odd, which by all means was achievable. 

The Mohali crowd was stunned into silence when Wahab Riaz produced a gem of a delivery to knock over the stumps of an in-form Yuvraj Singh, taking two wickets in two balls. His five-wicket haul kept India limited to 260 despite Umar Gul proving to be expensive. 

Pakistan's good start certainly turned on its head by some unprecedented shots played by the openers. 

Veterans Younus Khan and Misbahul Haq played as if they were trying to save a Test match rather than win an ODI. Shahid Afridi came and went and the rest was history. 

Shahid Afridi at the match conference put up a brave face. He apologized to the nation (which was not required) and answered the Indian media bravely. To a question, "What will you have to say to your nation?" he replied, "This nation has given us this pride, this stature and we will accept their anger with grace!"

This loss would not go down well with the nation, but the unity and harmony displayed was phenomenal. It goes to show that cricket, amongst other things, is the only thing which makes these two nations stand united.

History might see this match as another India-Pakistan encounter that ended with yet again an Indian victory, but in reality this game, and cricket itself, could be the "path forward" for developing the souring relationship between the two countries.

And in fairness, the better team won.

The pictures in this attire are from Darvesh Studios from the Zamzama Stadium Screening organized by the Entertainment Factory. You can follow this writer on www.twitter.com/shehryarkhan7  

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