Pakistan has done the impossible. A team that is renowned for its unpredictability has lived up to its reputation. Beating South Africa was somehow never an option. Every single person had written off this match and were banking on Pakistan winning against Ireland to qualify for the quarterfinals. Everyone hoped for a victory but no one really expected it. The playing eleven for the first time in this tournament looked like a team. A team that is hungry for a win. A team which will not give up until the last ball is bowled. The inclusion of Sarfraz made a huge difference as everyone predicted. He set the base of our innings when he came in to bat. His positive approach and counterattack brought that momentum in our batting that we have been lacking. However besides Sarfraz’s heroics, for me it was the aggression of our fast bowlers that won us the match. It reminded me of the good old days when Wasim Akram would look into the batsman’s eyes to let him know that he was worthless. When Shoaib Akhtar would exchange a few nasty words after delivering a ball at 155 Kmph. That aggression was lacking in our fast bowlers that came pouring out today. You can tell how hard the bowlers were trying by looking at their celebrations after a wicket. Irfan who usually just points towards the sky calmly after getting a wicket was pumping his fists and had a couple of things to say to the batsman. Wahab with the aeroplane celebration and Rahat with his knees almost touching his chest. You could tell how badly they wanted to win. That is what made the difference for me. Quarterfinals, here we come.

–Shaan Tahir

shantahir@gmail.com