Pakistan was the underdog coming into the World Cup 2011, considering they are always a dangerous side. But, the turmoil of the past many years made even the fans sceptical. Surprisingly, Afridi’s men are rocking and leading the group that has the two most strong WC contenders, Sri Lanka and Australia.
Before the World Cup uncertainty loomed over Pakistan’s performance. Considering the match fixing issue, internal disturing situations prevailing over the world cup, uncertainty over the team selection and above all the captain’s selection also led many to believe that Pakistan would do good even if they manage to reach the second round, playing in Group A of the World Cup 2011 that has three minnows (Zimbabwe, Canada and Kenya).
After the first three matches, Pakistan appears to be the most dynamic team of the World Cup, among both the groups. They have won all the three matches. Their batsmen have performed well, partnerships have been exceptional and the bowlers led by Afridi has roared in every match taking all the 30 wickets on display.
Afridi is leading from the front and the team appears to be supporting him well, although it may be just for the World Cup or for the better cause of finally concentrating on development of Pakistan’s Cricket and in return their personal growth too in the fastest developing market, of Cricket. The likes of Seniors, Younis Khan, Misbah, Kamran, Shoaib Akhtar, Razzaq and Umar Gul are playing their important roles with due responsibility. The youngsters Umar Akhmal, Ajmal and others are also proving to be matching the bests in the World Cup.
Team coordination is the key. Till now, Afridi has managed to keep the team spirited and united. He is leading from the front, performing in all the three matches. They can decimate anyone now, by the look of initial matches. Yet, uncertainty is the most commonnest factor in Pakistan cricket. A defeat may test their character. If they can emerge out of that at Group Stage, they can be the top contender of the World Cup. That is why their matches against New Zealand and Australia holds importance.
New Zealand may not be able to stop their winning run, Australia’s pace battery have the best chance to do that. Yet, till now Pakistan is the best team of the World Cup and Afridi the best captain. Afridi himself is on a personal mission to take the World Cup on his own. 14 wickets in 3 matches with two 5-wkt haul. He is heading to break all the bowling records of World Cup.
From the World Cup’s point of view, If Pakistan can progress in the winning fashion, the World may see one of the most awaited matches of the World Cup for the first time. If India can also top Group A, and both of them can win the remaining two knock out matches, Cricket fans will be livid over the thought of seeing India and Pakistan in the final.
1987 World Cup brought very close to that possibilty. But, both teams were thwarted by England and Australia and the world saw the historical rivals in the final. Is it time for another historical final, India vs Pakistan!!
That may or may now happen provided Pakistan and India continue their winning performances. Yet, Pakistan’s performance is the most commendable performances of the World Cup and they are in for a long run in the World Cup. A repeat of 1992 cannot be ruled out. Afridi’s men deserve it and more than that need it for entire Pakistan and Cricket World.