اردو

Cricket’s Top-Five: Pakistan’s greatest moments

Sides around the world fear the magic Pakistan can suddenly produce while their fans dread the eventual collapse that follows

PHOTO: AFP

Cricket fans in Pakistan have been on the greatest roller coaster ride in the world. The highs and lows of the Men in Green through the ages have cemented their legacy as the most unpredictable side in the world. This label perfectly defines the chaos and the storm that is the Pakistan cricket team. Sides around the world fear the magic Pakistan can suddenly produce while their fans dread the eventual collapse that follows.

These are Pakistan’s greatest moments when they rose from a precarious situation to shake the very fabric of the sport itself.

5: The six that defined a generation (1986)

Pakistan and India is a rivalry that has spanned through more than 70 years. Their history has brought a new element into the sport where fans from both sides demand a victory. The passion and excitement of their encounters remains unmatched in the global arena of cricket, even by the Ashes encounters between England and Australia.

During the Austral-Asia Cup final at Sharjah in 1986, Pakistan’s legendary former batsman Javed Miandad was the lone warrior who would not move aside against India. He was the lone ranger fighting an almost losing battle and yet he persevered. The Men in Green required four runs on the last ball. Miandad hit a six that changed the course of cricket’s history in the country. The moment became embedded in the psyche of Pakistanis everywhere. That last ball six was one of the greatest moments in the history of cricket in Pakistan.

4: Second times the charm (2009)

When the new Twenty20 International (T20I) format was introduced, Pakistan with its flamboyant and hard-hitting batsmen along with their bowling attack were the ideal candidates to steal the first ever World Cup played in the format. An India-Pakistan final in 2007 however ended in heartbreak as Misbah was left looking down on the pitch at the missed opportunity as India grabbed the trophy.

The second edition in 2009 however saw Pakistan ascend to the top of the world. Afridi’s mercurial run in the tournament along with sizable contributions from all players involved helped Pakistan win the T20I World Cup for the first time.

3: Rising from the ashes (2016)

The 2010 spot-fixing scandal broke the back of the Pakistan side. It lost two of its brightest pace prospects while losing an opener who had finally started to perform in the role and also acted as the leader of the side.

The tragedy however was turned around through blood and sweat by the new captain of the side Misbahul Haq who shaped the team into his own image. A fortress was made at their temporary home ground in the UAE, as Pakistan fought the best in the world and continued winning.

Finally, the team that had worked hard to rebuild itself stood out in oversees matches during the series against England in 2016. Pakistan stood toe-to-toe with one of the best sides in the world on their home ground and drew the series 2-2.

This drawn series catapulted Pakistan to the top. The Men in Green became the number one side in Test cricket for the first time since the introduction of the rankings system.

2: The most improbable triumph (2017)

Pakistan were not supposed to win the Champions Trophy in 2017. The number eight ranked side which barely managed to get into the tournament was not on anyone’s radar for a tournament triumph.

The early loss against India did not help Pakistan’s cause either. But then something happened. Something only a Pakistan fan has ever felt. A rage took over the team which rolled through its opposition as if possessed. They were no longer the weak eight ranked side who had barely managed to qualify for the tournament in the knockout stages. They were unbeatable champions who mocked the standards of the game around them and punished the opposition for attempting to breathe the same air as they did.

Pakistan won the Champions trophy which was their most improbable triumph in history.

1: The cornered tigers roar (1992)

The greatest moment however can only be one. For Pakistan it is and always will be the 1992 World Cup. The greatest come from behind victory in the history of the sport, the 1992 World Cup was the most dramatic tournament in its long and illustrious history.

A down and out Pakistan was propelled into the knockout stages because of rain. They then scrapped and clawed their way to a World Cup victory. The cornered tigers roared in the year 1992. Their echoes still vibrate throughout the country today.