Saturday, June 17, 2017

Champions Trophy & Pakistan's Umeedwaar Supporters

What would a fan be if he is not optimistic?

Here is a recollection of the past two weeks and how a few friends predicted the Champions Trophy proceedings right till the end!

This Champions Trophy was anxiously awaited by Pakistan's fans, particularly for the match on 4th June. It was going to be Pakistan vs India in an ODI after two years.

It was an anxious wait and a sleepless night...

The match itself was an anticlimax. There were so many emotions pouring out, which I would love to share but some of the language used is not for public viewing.

The next day was all about taking the Micky (no pun intended) out of Sarfraz' "out of the box" statement.

Nothing was right about Pakistan's start in the Champions Trophy. Bold statements, bad death bowling, inept batting. Nothing went right and everyone had lost hope; well almost everyone.

The evening of 5th June brought some good news for Pakistan's fans.

Couple of days went by, Pakistan continued to be criticized, the team was not expected to win any of its matches, but come the morning of 7th June, it was Pakistan vs South Africa, and some of us still had hope!

Some of my friends laughed at me when I said we have a chance you know. No one thought we stood a chance against the world's number 1 ODI team. Well almost no one.

At least I was not alone. One friend not only predicted a victory against South Africa, but went on to predict it correctly all the way to the final.

There were reasons presented also about why Pakistan will beat South Africa, and then there was some hope.

As rain came down and Pakistan won by being ahead on DLS, more predictions were made and some were reiterated.

The same prediction was reiterated elsewhere the next day.

Even though I had predicted one of the semi finals to be India vs New Zealand; on the morning of New Zealand's must win match against Bangladesh, I felt otherwise.

Bangladesh became the second team to qualify for the semifinals as Australia lost to England the next day, and on the morning of another knock out game, India vs South Africa, I had another feeling.

That came true when India beat South Africa.

I had already predicted a Pakistan vs England semi final earlier, and reiterated the same on the morning of 12th June.

Pakistan's win over Sri Lanka sealed it and all predictions seemed to be coming true.

The prospects of a Pakistan vs India final were truly alive.

But not many believed Pakistan could get past England... some of us though had all the hope in this world.

Once again, I was not alone. There was the same friend saying the same. He was also trying to arrange tickets for the Final on the morning of Pakistan's semifinal against England.

While the planning continued, optimistic thoughts continued and we were still a few hours away from the start of the first semifinal.

We could not hold in our excitement at the way Pakistan's bowlers dominated the proceedings.

England lost their 8th wicket at 201 and they were bowled out for 211. Everyone was on the bandwagon now. Tickets for the final were being arranged, and hotels were being booked.

The chase was all too easy for Pakistan. No one expected it. No one could believe the turnaround they had witnessed.

Now, India had to beat Bangladesh to make this Champions Trophy epic.

India obliged with even more ease as they smoothly sailed over Bangladesh setting up a first time ever Pakistan vs India final of an ICC ODI tournament.

Match tickets were arranged. Flights were booked. Hotels were booked. And the boys made their way to London to bring home the cup.

Yes, this is the same friend who had predicted a Pakistan vs India final on the morning of 7th June. He however claims that he had made this prediction in February. He might be right.

So here we are then. A rollercoaster ride that has brought us to the eve of an epic final. What are we predicting for tomorrow?

Yep, that sounds about right!


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