Mosques at Iftar time on Monday reported low attendance all over Pakistan as people decided to pray at home owing to the nail-biting T20 World Cup final against India. "I could have missed some of the most important overs," commented Muhammad Iqbal. "I am sure Allah will understand."
Although most Pakistanis were disappointed by the defeat to India in the final, then fans also appreciated the young team for its fighting spirit and the struggle it put up until the last over. People were not unhappy with the performance put up by the team and insisted that they enjoyed the game and did not really feel let down by the loss.
Special match screenings were organised in most big cities to cater to the very high interest in the game. Restaurants had special packages and in many areas, arrangements had been made to have Iftar while watching the game.
There were many Iftar parties held on Tuesday to watch the match as, fittingly enough, the two innings of the final fell on either side of Iftar.
Before the result, a majority of the people were of the opinion that as the Pakistan team had won the 1992 World Cup in the holy month of Ramzan, the team would bring home the T20 trophy. However, their hopes died with the wicket of Misbah-ul-Haq in the last over of an exciting final.
The reaction to the defeat was less harsh than expected. Not only did they laud Misbah-ul-Haq for his fighting innings in the tournament, they also defended the team for the fight it put up. People HT spoke to said they were also happy with the new format of the game and that it has "livened cricket for all."
Imran Ahmed, who works in a bank, said that his office work and love for cricket usually interfered with each other. "But the T20 concept has given me the chance to enjoy the game."
As expected, there was a rain of comments from people from all walks of life, most of whom criticised Pakistan's batsmen, especially Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal and Hafeez. They termed sending Akmal at No. 3 as a "blunder".
Millions of rupees were reportedly at stake as people also bet heavily in what was being seen as an evenly-matched game. Betting is illegal but millions change hands after every game. According to a man who bet several thousand rupees against the Pakistan team, it was his own way of enjoying a big contest.
"Heads I win, tails I win," he concluded.