Pakistan vs South Africa: Team green chase the dream
There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and the unpredictability of Pakistan’s cricket team. Most of Pakistan does not even expect this team to beat Ireland, let alone South Africa, arguably the best cricket team in world cricket.
Not only did we do that, we managed to defend a score of 222. I wouldn't have been surprised to see AB De Villiers alone to score that against us.
Judging by our team’s performance in the past few matches, it seems like the only thing restricting our team was Moin Khan’s late rendezvous to the Australian casinos.
The nation woke up with the best possible news – Sarfaraz Ahmed was in for Nasir Jamshed. The campaigns to raise funds to bring Nasir home were partially successful.
My only regret was that the Nasir Jamshed Twitter parody account would not be as active.
The other news was not this fortunate. Younus Khan was in for Haris Sohail, the conspiracy theorist in me believes that Younus tripped him in training just to get into the team.
With Sarfaraz in the team, we got our best opening start in this World Cup. Not that that is too much of an achievement, considering the cumulative scores of Youns and Nasir in all the previous matches do not even reach double figures.
Even when the wicket fell after a blinding catch by Dale Steyn, Younus looked like a batsman reborn. It did not make the run out with Sarfaraz any more excusable but at least we were looking like an international cricket team for once.
Misbahul Haq and Younus were nice enough to allow the entire nation a breakfast break by ensuring there was no excitement while they were on the crease together.
The inevitable Pakistan batting collapse almost makes you long for their mundane and boring partnership.
The collapse made all of Pakistan repeat all their duas for rain. Kids in Tharparkar were wishing for rain in Auckland rather than Thar.
Misbah was still holding fort, so at least all of us could blame everything on him.
Shahid Afridi’s batting served as a perfect metaphor for my sex life. One strike and he was out.
The rain restricted the innings to 47 overs; honestly, we would have rather had it restrict the innings to 40. Somehow, we managed to crawl to 222.
A fighting total as all clichés go but honestly, a total you would never expect to defend against South Africa.
Pakistan got the perfect start with the bowl with De Kock playing just like his name but Hashim Amla looked good at the end. Once again, Mohammad Irfan looked on fire; he also fields like he is literally on fire. With Nasir out of the team, the amusement factor in the field was provided by Irfan.
There were no favours by Amla on his Muslim brothers. If he cannot play for Pakistan, the least he can do for the Ummah is not to score runs against us.
Full credit to our bowlers, and Misbah’s captaincy – we kept bowling well and taking wickets. Only Pakistani cricket fans could be this ecstatic, and surprised to see a wicket keeper taking catches. Sarfaraz ended up with six catches behind the stumps. For all the girls out there, know that he is a keeper.
South Africa did well to keep up their reputation as ‘chokers’. They even Misbah-ed their captain in their attempt at impersonating our batting line up.
No Pakistani cricket fan was confident in Pakistan’s chances till De Villliers was on the crease. De Villiers was literally taking the clothes off our players.
In the end, it was not enough, and Pakistan got the ‘mauqa’ we were all waiting for. With songs by Junoon blaring in the stadium, Pakistan finished their best result in this World Cup. The rain only added to the dramatic effect.
All Pakistanis would have taken a rained out match to ensure Pakistan a point but that performance shows why you should never discount our team.
We are firmly in this World Cup, and hopefully, we are here to stay!
It is time for some fireworks. In the words of Junoon,
“Pakistan kabhi na bhoolo”