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HindustanTimes Thu,27 Nov 2014
WC loss: Pakistan in mourning, knives out for Misbah
AFP
Islamabad, March 31, 2011
First Published: 11:20 IST(31/3/2011)
Last Updated: 14:01 IST(31/3/2011)

The passionate Pakistani cricket fans were left disappointed and sad today after their team lost to arch-rivals India in the high-voltage World Cup semifinal clash at Mohali.

Preparations at many places to celebrate a possible Pakistan victory were all cancelled as people in different parts of the city.

Disappointed Pakistani cricket fans on Wednesday blamed a sluggish Misbah-ul-Haq for defeat in the World Cup semi-final thriller with arch-rival India.

India defeated Pakistan by 29 runs in a match dubbed the "clash of the titans" to set up a World Cup final showdown with Sri Lanka in Mumbai on Saturday, leaving fans across cricket-loving Pakistan deflated.

"We lost because of Misbah, as he did not score well when it was most required," angry fan Awais Shakir told AFP on Islamabad's main Jinnah Avenue as thousands of disappointed fans were leaving for home.

"He just wasted time on the pitch."

Fans in other Pakistani cities which ground to a halt for the game also criticised Misbah, who scored a lacklustre 56 from 76 balls. His slow play pushed the Pakistan towards defeat before the 50th over.

For schoolteacher Hazrat Ali, it was disappointing -- but not the end of the game.

"Defeat and win is part of the game. Our team will win next time," he said.

In Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, engineer Mohammad Ali said: "It was a great contest all along and the day belonged to India. However Misbah and Younis Khan were very lazy."

By the evening all major roads in several Pakistani cities were gridlocked with cars, motorcycles and jubilant revellers, but the festive atmosphere gradually turned tense as Pakistani batting line began to fall before India.

Power cuts sparked protests by hundreds of angry spectators who blocked a main highway in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir.

The government had declared a half-day holiday in offices and schools to enable the cricket-mad population to enjoy the game.

Special prayers were offered in mosques and at homes, and people recited verses from the Koran, praying to Allah to guide the Pakistani team to victory.

Motorists listened to the commentary on their car radios and shouted out the latest score to passers-by at a busy intersection in Islamabad.

Excitement reached fever pitch as shopkeepers flogged green T-shirts, caps and souvenirs, and social networking sites Facebook and Twitter buzzed with comments on the wickets' falls and player's performance -- and prayers for the Pakistan squad.

Young people were seen wearing the green T-shirts of the Pakistani squad, their faces painted in the nation's green and white, in the northwestern city of Peshawar, while large national flags flew from buildings, houses and cars.

In the eastern city of Lahore, which borders with India, more than 20,000 Pakistanis thronged the Gaddafi stadium to witness the match on large screens. Entry was free and people formed long queues to get in.

In the southern port city of Karachi residents blocked many roads and set up huge screens to watch the live broadcast from the Indian town of Mohali.

Even prison authorities in the city made special arrangements for inmates to watch the match and gave Indian team shirts to some 200 Indian prisoners to support their team.

In Rawalpindi, revellers danced to drums in a market and shouted "Long live the Pakistan team", "We will win" and "Give your best, we are with you".

Whenever an Indian wicket fell, people jumped and danced in jubilation and fired gunshots in the air.

In Islamabad people gathered around screens, letting out screams of excitement when a player hit a four or faced a fierce delivery. Elsewhere the streets were deserted after midday.

Large crowds, including women and children, gathered at the lush green Fatima Jinnah park and waved Pakistani flags in support of their team.

Another large crowd gathered in front of the Islamabad Stock Exchange building to watch the match on a huge screen mounted on the lofty building.

Markets, schools and offices were closed in the restive North Waziristan tribal region's main town, Miranshah, and many made special arrangements to watch the match on big screens.


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