Cricket enthusiasts celebrate at Chatani Restaurant in Springfield, Virginia Photo/Screenshot/Aziz Ahmed Facebook
The venue was London. The battleground the historic Oval Cricket Ground. The rivals were arch and the best teams in the world, Pakistan and India.
So, when the two teams landed on the Oval for the Championship 2017 final, the world knew the stakes for everyone in the game. Pakistan and India, probably the fiercest of rivals in world cricket . But it was in the United States that Pakistani-Americans followed the game with bated breath.
And when Pakistan defeated India by a massive margin of 180 runs, there was no measuring or scaling of the delirium the lively community went into – going live on the Internet and getting together to celebrate the occasion, days ahead of the Eid festival, and also coinciding with Father’s Day.
There was the Dhol with the traditional drum beating and ‘Bhangra,’ the ecstatic South Asian dance on Springfield Mall, which has some of the most popular Pakistani stores and restaurants frequented by the large community.
“It was the youth and energy that Pakistan exhibited throughout the innings, which helped them pull off such a complete victory over India,” Johny Bashir, an avid cricket fan, said.
Bashir was referring to the fact that it were the young guns, Fakhar Zaman and 18-year-old spinner Shadab Khan.
Several Pakistani-Americans wore green shirts to express their support and mood of celebration.
The social media became perhaps the most popular platform as people do not eat at restaurants during the daytime during the month.
Sports lovers flooded the Facebook and Twitter with comments and congratulatory messages. ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and ‘Dil Dil Pakistan’ reverberated across the social media.
Dr. Tariq Shahab, a prominent cardiologist and community leader, said the win should inspire the Pakistani nation to excel in areas of socioeconomic development.
“This is a tremendous occasion for Pakistanis, and I congratulate everyone on this occasion. A great game of cricket. We should pledge to strive for success other fields of endeavor like education and health.”
It was after a long time that Pakistan regained their top status, having been a formidable side in the last few decades but the absence of domestic international cricket took a heavy toll on young and budding talent as they missed out on the inspiration and motivation that comes with home series.
One of the most heartening factor was that Pakistanis threw up a number of new heroes in both bowling and batting. Fast bowler Hassan Ali was declared the player of the Championship.
Muhammad Amir was the star of Pakistan as he sent top Indian batsmen packing, setting the stage for an overwhelming win.
— Adil Najam عادل نجم (@AdilNajam) June 18, 2017
The Pakistani victory broke the Indian jinx as India had been winning against their neighbor for several years, leaving Pakistani fans dejected and critical of the cricket board management.
On the eve of the final a Views and News video interview with American singer and humanitarian Todd Shea, who is a huge Pakistan fan, went viral as Shea predicted a “zabardast” Pakistani victory over India.
The victory is expected to unite the Pakistani nation, which has been beset with an avalanche of challenges in recent years from terrorism to political divisions.
“The victory will be a morale-booster and unify the nation in the face of challenges,” Mowahid Hussain Shah, Supreme Court Attorney and author of a book Will and Skill said.
Shah also notes that the victory speaks of the immense wealth of young and raw talent in Pakistan which remains hidden.
“Another key takeaway is that India, which has been described an invincible side, cannot withstand pressure. It just wilted under the pressure of a team in good form and playing with passion,” Shah says.
Back in Pakistan, top leaders sent out congratulatory message to the nation and the cricket team, applauding a display of scintillating performance in the final and throughout the competition that featured top eight teams of the world.
Pakistan were ranked at the bottom.There was no way for India to make up for the loss of their opening and anchoring batsmen including Yadev as the mix of pace and spin attack broke through the middle order batting and the required target of 338 looked an insurmountable mountain.