World Cup 2011: The dream is over

India dump Pakistan out of the World Cup, Afridi apologises to the nation.

Express March 31, 2011


The dream is over. The infuriating wait for the titanic India-Pakistan clash ended in anti-climax for the fans in green as India shattered Pakistan’s hopes for a 2011 World Cup final appearance courtesy a nervy 29-run win watched by thousands inside the stadium and billions in front of their television sets.

A five-wicket haul by Wahab Riaz, included ahead of Shoaib Akhtar as the team management chose mind over heart, restricted the hosts to a below-par 260. However, Pakistan’s batting crumbled in a chase under lights for the umpteenth time and, as Shahid Afridi puzzled all with his rigidness in delaying the batting Powerplay, the tourists were left needing a miracle.

Misbahul Haq, adapting a strange defensive strategy that allowed the asking run-rate to mount to unreachable heights, dreamt of a glorious end but poor planning and India’s effective death-bowling ensured Sachin Tendulkar plays his last World Cup match on home turf.

“I want to say sorry to my nation,” said captain Afridi who suffered a rare poor outing in the tournament with the ball, going wicket-less and contributing just 19 with the bat. “We tried our level best and we enjoyed ourselves at this


Afridi predicted his team to reach the last-four before the World Cup began – a notion shared by only a few – but the team’s dominance in the group matches, and the rise in confidence as it marched into the semi-final, gave birth to the dream of lifting the trophy.

However, four dropped catches reprieving man-of-the-match Tendulkar (85) allowed the hosts to scrape past the 250-mark and despite a reasonable start, Pakistan faded out, handing the screaming fans at the packed Punjab Cricket Association Stadium a perfect result.

Riaz, who would not have played the World Cup if it was not for the bans handed out to Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, grabbed a career-best five for 46, a haul that included the prized scalps of Virender Sehwag and India captain MS Dhoni. He dismissed Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh off consecutive deliveries with the latter bamboozled by a late-swinging yorker first-up. But the Pakistan batsmen failed to take cue from the left-armer and the momentum gained on the field was lost as they ended up agonisingly short of a dream finale against Sri Lanka on Saturday.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2011.


Dr Priyanka | 10 years ago | Reply @hamza khan: Grow up man! There are millions of muslims in India and doing very well also for your kind info. Nobody is butchering them sweety ! Don't let your imagination run riot ! Save your country please please ! God helps those who help themselves. We Indians are not your enemies. Look in your own backyard ! You will find them aplenty !
Dr Priyanka | 10 years ago | Reply @Junaid.: what kind of language is that ? We Indians are not cheapsters. The IPL is a private commercial organisation. They can hire anyone they want. How come such a poisonous and venomous comment ?
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