We all remember 2011 too well. We remember those cricketing clashes in the group stages when we would stay glued to the screens and our boys out there would make it worth our while. When every match created new favorite memories of cricket all the way until, before the quarters, we were ahead of all fourteen competing teams in terms of points. Oh, the thrill to know we were a formidable competition.
Why not we all walk down the nostalgic memory lane together, huh?
The first pleasant surprise obviously came when Afridi got put down as Captain Pakistan and showed up in a lit Indian carriage at the opening ceremony. Many swooned.
We floored Kenya in the first game and the rest just kept coming. Sri Lanka, Canada, Australia, Zimbabwe. All done for. One by one. Afridi was blowing out hauls upon hauls of five wickets each. Umar Akmal was bringing in class and form. Misbah and Younis were being themselves and saving days. Shoaib Akhtar was making sure no one could see the ball. Umar Gul, Hafeez, Razzaq, Wahab; everyone pitched in and ours truly won five out of six pre- lims. Everything was happening right.
Then when we went and leveled West Indies in the quarter, our team looked like the unstoppable thunderstorm of our dreams. The world cup had been a party since day one. I guess that was why we were not prepared for it when it all fell apart.
Mohali. March 30, 2011. India happened. The anxiety before, the helplessness during, and the despair after will stick around in a dark corner of our hearts forever.
Or perhaps my memories of all the excitement and hope centered around something so beautifully common to us all, give the experience more credit than what it really ought to have. My young life as a cricket fan, like countless others, saw its bloom in that one world cup we could have actually won.
Today, six years apart, many ups and downs littered with several unfortunate Pakistan India encounters have gone by (except that one Asia Cup Gem in 2014. Duh, of course). As we prepare for another mega game of cricket between us and them, Mohali haunts me.
Today, our confidence in our team might not hold a candle to what was going on in 2011; but we have sure watched how far the boys have come.
Here’s to hoping that this time, they really take us all the way! #AikJeetAur forever. Pakistan Zindabad.