Karachi: Pakistan erupted in celebration last night as Younis Khan and his men won the Twenty20 World Cup defeating Sri Lanka by eight wickets at Lords, London.
The city of Karachi reverberated with fireworks as people thronged onto the streets to celebrate the national team’s victory in the Twenty20 World Cup, a rare moment of joy for Pakistani citizens amid continuous blood bath.
Heavy fireworks went off as soon as the last run was scored with people chanting ‘Pakistan Zindabad´ and ‘Pakistan cricket team zindabad´ as the national team won its first World title after 1992.
“It is a historic moment for all of us. Younis and his boys could not have given the Pakistani people a more appropriate gift at this time,” former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif said.
Pakistan fans celebrate after Pakistan won the ICC World Twenty20 cricket final against Sri Lanka at Lord’s cricket ground, London. Reuters
The victory comes at a time when Pakistan is struggling to cope with rising militancy and terrorist attacks with a full scale military operation against the militants going in the Swat valley and some other tribal areas.
“We have been waiting for two long years for this sweet moment. It was heartbreaking when we lost to India in the last final. Today our players have given us lot to celebrate about,” Abdullah, a pan shop owner said here as sounds of firecrackers reverberated all around.
Youngsters attired in green T-shirts and holding posters of Shahid Afridi poured onto the streets with many of them using motorbike horns to express their delight.
Since the start of the match, the streets remained deserted as people were glued to the television either at home or private clubs, parks, restaurants, elite coffee shops and tea stalls as people remained engrossed in the action with every wicket and boundary being cheered loudly.
“It is a big step forward for Pakistan cricket. To win the World Cup at a time when Pakistan cricket has also been hit by security issues is a big tribute to our players. Younis Khan deserves a lot of credit for uniting the team into a fighting unit,” former chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed said.
Cellular companies said their SMS and call services had been flooded after the final with people exchanging congratulatory calls and text messages.
“Our lines are choked but we expecting this,” said Shahzad a customer services officer at a cellular company.
Pakistan was beaten by arch-rivals India in the final of the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in 2007 but with India out of the event in the Super Eight stage, it left the stage clear for Younis Khan’s men to accomplish another World Cup title.
Pakistan cricket team’s only other triumph at the world stage came way back in 1992 when they lifted the 50-overs World Cup under Imran Khan’s captaincy.
Former Test captain Ramiz Raja said the victory was a big boost for Pakistan cricket and the country as a whole.
“The people have been passing through tough times and our cricket has also been facing tough times, this is something we needed very badly. The team really built up their campaign very well and gained momentum at the right time,” he said.
Ramiz also praised Shahid Afridi for his stellar performance in both the semifinal and final and said the all-rounder had finally delivered for his millions of fans.
“He played beautifully in the big matches. He clearly looked like someone who wanted to accomplish this feat,” he said.