Azhar Aslam and Shaista Kazmi
So how did we do it? Was it sheer luck? Hardly any one would agree. Was it faith only? Some would argue for that. Was it the sheer talent of Afridi, Akmal, Razzaq and Gul? Many would vouch for that. As I write this, my mother has come and sat next to me and stated: ‘wasey kamala he hey jaisey Allah nein Dilshan ko out kiya!’. I won’t say I rest my case with my mother (at least not on one this occasion). Since I prayed too and said Allah O Akbar to myself just before we won. And it was a great sight to see them all bow to Almighty in the home of consumerist capitalist neo-imperialism..
The best thing was the manner it was won. With eight wickets intact, and eight balls to spare! What makes this even more memorable is that Pakistanis beat South Africans in the semi-final. Hence they beat both pre final favourites. So how did we do it? In brief, we won because we were better team on the day. But this was not achieved without sheer determination and proper planning. While I am not privy to behind the scenes, it was clear by watching the match that Pakistani team had done their home work. Thorough analysis had been done, strategy had been drawn, tactics had been decided and action plan finalised. Finally it was all executed in clam, cool and professional manner under a bold captain. The remarks made by Afridi and co in post match interviews showed immense respect for Younis Khan.
Dilshan, tournament’s highest run getter was trapped with clear plan. Razzaq opened along with Amir against expectations. Regular and unexpected change of the bowling was done to keep the Lankans guessing. Umar Gul was used at the time when the wicket was needed, successfully and when runs were to be stopped, where he did not succeed this completely. Afridi and Saeed Ajmal were mostly on mark. Field placing was mostly precise for the bowler and the batsman. The bowlers delivered more or less to perfection, shackling the fearsome Lankans and prompting some rash frustrated shots from them.
Chasing 138 against three Ms ( Malinga, Murli and Mendis) ably supported by Mathews and Jayasuriya, was no mean feat. But it was done in cool and calculated manner. There were 120 balls to achieve the target. A little more than run a ball. It was clear that Lankans had to get Pakistanis out. Therefore instructions were clear. Do not loose wickets. And that was crucial. No unnecessary risks were taken. And there was no ‘ Pakistanis-are-their own-worst-enemies’ scenarios.
Akmal and Shahzaib built the foundations in a relaxed, confident and cautious manner. But they, Akmal in particular, did not hesitate to punish any wayward delivery. Accelerator was pressed at the right time, as and when needed. After loosing two wickets, even ‘boom boom’ Afridi got his head down and did not rashly attempt to show the bravado and hit every ball out of Ground. I was almost reminded of how Miandad and Imran built Pakistani innings in 1992 final. Batsmen knew as long as they got 5-6 runs per over , even in singles to twos, that was sufficient to stop the run rate getting out of proportion and avoid the resulting stress. There were natural jitters at times but these were handled in professional manner. Shoiab took singles as and when needed to allow Afridi the strike.
The big hitting came only after Pakistan had crossed 100 mark. The 19 runs in the 17th over were taken at the right time, with precision, against the right bowler, who was the weakest link in the Lankan bowling chain. But then Murli was shown no respect when he did not deserve it, in his last over. And Malinga was sent to ropes to make sure the job is done before the last over to avoid any unnecessary nerves. All this was done in a calculated and professional manner. The Pakistanis proved themselves as the best team in the tournament. And they had not one single person but many to thank for it. The leadership was inspired. The team work and talent were immense and awesome. Before the final, Pakistanis had been called ‘erratic geniuses’ and ‘mercurial’. On the day they proved that by correct application and dedication they could simply be ‘geniuses’. Not erratic anymore.
Put simply the best team won when it mattered most. And we are very proud of it.
To change the fortune of Pakistan as nation and country, this is exactly what we need to do. Define what we are up against. Analyse it thoroughly. Draw a correct strategy. Outline our tactics. Pen down the action plan. And then execute it with dedication and hard work under an inspired leadership. Then and only then we also ask for Allah’s help as well. Fortune favours the bold. We can change our fortune. We can change this world.