There are three major icc tournaments in which world class teams participate. The World Cup (ODI), The World T20 (T20), The Champions Trophy (ODI). Pakistan the most “UNPREDICTABLE” team has won all of them but the journey was hard as well. It took the nation 25 years to get those trophies.
The first was The World Cup in 1992. In the leadership of the legendary Imran Khan. The team was full of young talent. Some of them were playing the tournament for the first time. The road to the winning was very tough. They only won 4 games, lost 3 and 1 was washed out due to rain.
But they still made it to the semifinals where they met New Zealand and defeated them by 4 wickets. The top scorer for Pakistan was Inzimam ul Haq 60 (37) and for New Zealand was Martin Crowe 91 (83). Wasim Akram took 2 wickets, and Willie Watson took 2 wickets. Inzimam was declared Man of the match for his fifty. That fifty is still remembered by many of us and is considered one of the heroics done by the shaheens. Inzimam is truly a role model for the young guns.
After the semifinals, it was time for the finals. Where Pakistan met the tournament favorites, England. Who doesn’t remember Khan’s famous tiger T shirt. He said that the boys (his team) are cornered tigers. You were right Khan, Pakistan will always be the cornered tigers. So, it was the grand finale Pakistan being there was really a proud moment for the nation.
In the final, Pakistan was outstanding. They won it. They did it for the nation. For the first time the nation felt how it feels to be the champions. Pakistan won by 22 runs, the skipper was fascinating with the bat. He scored 72 (110), Mushtaq Ahmed took 3 wickets. The nation will always remember it, it was the happiest moment of their life.
After the world cup win, the best days of Pakistan cricket arrived. But for 16 long years, Pakistan could not win any other icc event. On 3 march 2009, the darkest day in the history of Pakistan occurred. A militant group attacked the Sri Lankan Cricket Team in Lahore when they were touring Pakistan. The Sri Lankan team was sent back to their country immediately. Since that dark day, the international cricket doors were closed on Pakistan.
After a couple of months, the world T20 tournament was to be staged in England. Pakistan team thought that there will not be a better chance than this one. To show the terrorist that they are still strong and there is nothing except Almighty Allah that can lower them down.
Pakistan was brilliant in the whole tournament. They lost their match to the hosts, England. But Pakistan has always bounced back. They performed very well against the Netherlands team and won by 82 runs. Kamran Akmal was given Man of the Match award for his 41 on 30 balls. Pakistan qualified for the super 8’s.
In super 8’s Pakistan won 2 out of 3 matches against New Zealand and Ireland. They lost to Sri Lanka. Against Sri Lanka they lost by 19 runs. Against New Zealand they won by 6 wickets. Umar Gul was given man of the match for his fifer. Against Ireland they won by 39 runs. Again Kamran Akmal was given man of the match for his 57 (51).
After the super 8’s Pakistan Qualified for the semifinals. Where they were against the chokers, South Africa. Pakistan won easily by 6 runs. The match went till the last ball. Shahid Afridi was given man of the match for his all-round performance he scored a stunning 51 from just 34 deliveries and took 2 wickets for just 16 runs.
After that mouthwatering performance against South Africa in semifinals, it was time for Pakistan to face Sri Lanka in the Grand Finale, the final stage. The two countries faced the militant group. Now it didn’t matter who wins it, the terrorist will surely get the message. Pakistan posted a very great performance as they restricted Sri Lanka to just 138 runs. Pakistan now needed just 139 runs in 20 overs.
Pakistani batsmen started very well but the first wicket fell too early. Then in came the heartbeat of Pakistan, Boom Boom Afridi he handled the pressure very well and took us to glory with the unsung hero Shoaib Malik. The last run will be remembered for ages with David Lloyd announcing the victory: “AFRIDI FITTINGLY HITS THE WINNING RUNS, BIG MAN, BIG GAME, IT’S A LEG BYE WHO CARES?!”. That was it Pakistan gave the message to the terrorists and made their nation proud once again.
8 years have passed, and Pakistan once again were participating in the Champions Trophy 2017. Pakistan have never ever made it to the final. They always lost the semifinal and came back home. This time, the team was not weak but was an unexperienced team with an unexperienced captain.
Pakistan started off with a defeat against the arch rivals India. It was an upset for the team and for the nation. But as they are addicted to bounce back, Pakistan had other plans. There next match was against the South Africa. They shut the mouths of criticism and won the match by performing with the ball. They won by 19 runs (DLS method). Hassan Ali was awarded man of the match for his 3 wickets.
The next match was against Sri Lanka. The match was a do or die for both of the teams. Pakistan bowled very well restricting them to just 236 runs. Pakistani batting collapsed once again but the skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammed Amir took us to glory. Pakistan qualified for the Semi-finals for the fourth time. The skipper was awarded the man of the match award for scoring 61 runs of just 79 deliveries.
In the Semifinals they were against the favorites, England. Pakistan once again took a step forward and defeated England by 8 wickets! Hassan Ali was again given the man of the match for his 3 wickets.
Pakistan qualified for the Finals for the first time. It was the proudest moment of the lives of Pakistani’s. Pakistan has to face the arch rivals India again in the tournament.
For all Pakistanis, it was enough to qualify for the finals. But they once again had other plans. When the match started, the result of the first over was not so good, it was a maiden. But when the first four was done. Inside me, I felt like Pakistan have won it. Fakhar Zaman scored a mesmerizing hundred. What a moment it was. He was out at one stage and it turned up to be a no ball.
The heroics done by Azhar Ali were outstanding he gave Pakistan a start. Without him, it seemed impossible. Pakistan posted a target of 339 runs with the loss of just 4 wickets. Pakistani bowling was at its best. The first wicket fell down on the 3rd ball of the first over. Sharma was gone on a duck. The great bowling remained same for the whole match. Hassan Ali took the last wicket, Sarfraz took the catch. And Pakistan won the Champions Trophy for the first time.
Fireworks everywhere, happy and proud faces everywhere, the players were happy, the coaching staff was happy, cricket fans were happy, and most importantly the nation was happy.
Finally the Trophy Cabinet Is Completed! Congratulations Pakistanis!
By – Tooba Bint Sara