Pakistan versus India is never just another match!
We may be cracking Aman ki Asha and Damad-e-Hind jokes, but deep down the nerves are never calm.
Watching Pakistan and India battle it out on the field is always tough; it's even tougher for me today as I earnestly wait for my Indian visa. A part of me wanted to bribe the higher powers by trading this victory so I could make it to a close friend’s wedding in Mumbai.
“It’s just another match.The boys are in great form, they can always win the next one and still win the series, right? Poor me, I have been planning this trip for six months now…”
While I was still struggling to choose sides in the battle between patriotism and personal gain raging in my head, Hafeez and Jamshed walked out onto the field. They looked confident, poised and determined. Immediately, all doubts faded away. We had to win this match - everything else can wait.
That’s what cricket does for us as a nation; it make us forget the good, the bad and the ugly for a few blissful hours as winning the match becomes the sole purpose of our existence.
We forget that we have no cell phone service for the day; the empty CNG tank does not look so ominous any more and the YouTube ban does not appear eternal all of a sudden.
As the power goes out, we turn to our radios and phones for score updates. We master the art of switching between Cricinfo and Twitter at work, but we follow the match. We watch and analyse every ball and every stroke - gallivanting between humour and criticism, easily agitated and quickly appeased.
We discuss everything, from the commentator’s language to the bowler’s hairstyle in an attempt to calm our nerves. We crack a few “Aman ki Asha” and “Damad-e-Hind” jokes. But nothing ever really helps.
I did all of the above as the Pakistan side played decently for the first three-quarters of the innings. The shots seemed sensible and the nerves appeared calm. Professor seemed to be teaching "Dhoni-11" a lesson and Jamshed seemed like an Inzamam in the making. But like all Pakistani cricket fans, deep inside I knew this was just too good to be true.
And then the wickets started falling.
One after another.
What seemed like a very achievable 300 plus target eventually ended in a mere 250.
The stomach is in knots again as the Indian openers step out in the field. The crowd is screaming and cheering for their players. I can hardly spot a green flag or Pakistan jersey in the sea of people. I say a silent prayer.
“What was I thinking? This is not just another match. It's Pakistan versus India!!!”
Patriotism ultimately wins.
Read more by Sarah here or follow her on Twitter @sarahmunir1