As Pakistan clinched a last over thriller against Afghanistan to keep their incredible run for the semi-final alive, the cricket was not the only story on display. In the background of the match simmered a hostility that goes beyond what can be called a sporting rivalry. At least two fans were evicted from the match at Headingley after clashes broke out between the Pakistan and Afghanistan fans in the stands, while clashes outside the stadium were more serious. Online, on platforms such as Twitter, the vitriol against each other flowed viciously.

Pitch invasions and clashes are a thing virtually unheard of in the modern cricketing era. This is not normal, and we must ensure that no one is fanning the flames.

Geopolitics have always served as a point of tensions between sporting nations – Pakistan and India have shown us that exceedingly – but sportsmen have always been careful not to stoke those passions directly, focusing resolutely, often doggedly on ignoring the political. The Pakistan and Afghan players during the match have been without fault, playing a respectful match of cricket and going out of their way to be commend the other side for their performance. The same cannot be said for some former sportsmen, who mixed sports and politics, quite gracelessly, in their commentary.

The denizens of Pakistani internet have also played an irresponsible role. While the Afghan crowd was undoubtedly rowdy at the stadium and was prima facie the instigator of the unrest during the contest, the commentary online has been hostile too - which predates the start of the match.

The Pakistan India rivalry has gotten ugly before as well, but we have managed too, despite extreme pressures, stayed away from physical altercations during heated clashes. We must ensure that we foster an environment of sportsmanship and respect around the Pakistan Afghanistan contest, and not encourage hostility.