Pakistan’s World Cup History in a Nutshell

Pakistan is a nation that has seen some worst of times since past many years. It is a country that has suffered from almost all kinds of pain that are known to men. People here have seen what many nations might have never even imagined but this nation is a very strong one. This nation still finds something to cheer about, even in the hardest of times, when no one understands their sufferings. Pakistan, a nation that breathes, eats and live cricket. The pleasure this game give this nation cannot be explained, it can only be felt. The latest edition of the 2015 Cricket World Cup is not far away, and Pakistan’s World Cup history is something pretty incredible.

Pakistan came into being on 14th August, 1947, obtaining its ‘Test Nation’ status in 1952. Since then, the game of cricket has grown and prospered gradually. Despite the fact that the national sport is Hockey, Cricket has its own place in the heart of every person of this nation.

Pakistan has produced some legendary players, players who have their names written in gold in the history books of Cricket. They include Jawed Miandad, Waqar Younis, Zaheer Abbas and, of course, the 1992 World Cup winning captain, Imran Khan.

Pakistan is, no doubt, on the list of successful nations in modern cricket. They have had a history of glory and success in major or minor tournaments. Though,Pakistan had made to the semi-finals of the two previous World Cups in 1979 and 1983, the real change came in 1986, when Pakistan won the Australasia Cup 1986 in such a dramatic way that the nation still remembers it as the greatest victory in Pakistan cricket history. It was then that Jawed Miandad became the Hero of the nation as he struck a last ball six in the final match, against arch-rivals India, and won the nation the cup that they had fallen in love with.

Since then, cricket in Pakistan got a turbo boost. More academies were set up across the country, and the search for new talent was boosted. The focus on better training increased and the nation stood to support the national team wherever they went to play.

The stage was set in Australia and New Zealand. The year was 1992 and the Pakistan Cricket Board sent the best team they had to the biggest tournament in the cricketing world, the ICC World Cup. In that World Cup, many changes to the game were introduced, including coloured kits, the white ball and day-and-night matches. Led by the great Imran Khan, the team had a little sloppy start in the beginning of the tournament, but eventually, they went on to face the favourites England in the final. Pakistan beat England by 22 runs, winning the trophy for the first time.

Since that day, the Pakistan team has put its heart and soul into playing the best cricket it can. They know one way of cheering up this heartbroken nation is the language they all speak and love: the language of cricket.

The next World Cup, in 1996, was hosted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Despite having a home ground advantage in some matches, Pakistan Team was not able to go very far in this edition of the event. They were knocked-out by the arch-rivals, India, in the quarter-finals. The tournament was won by Sri Lanka under the captaincy of Arjuna Ranatunga.

World Cup 1999 was hosted by England, but some games were played in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and the Netherlands too. In this edition of the big event, Wasim Akram very nearly led Pakistan to the heights they reached seven years ago. Pakistan got through the group stages as the group leader and reached the final at Lord’s Cricket Ground to face Australia. The Mighty Aussies beat Pakistan comfortably by eight wickets to win the tournament.

Captaincy was given to the legend, Waqar Younis, for the eighth edition of the tournament in 2003. This World Cup was co-hosted by Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya. This edition of the big event saw many upsets. Many of the teams that were being considered favourites couldn’t qualify for the knock-out rounds and went out of the tournament in the group stages. These teams included South Africa, Pakistan, England and West Indies. The final was played between India and Australia at Johannesburg. Australia won the final and became the world champion for the second consecutive time.

In 2007, the World Cup was held in West Indies. It proved to be a very shocking event for Pakistan’s side. They were knocked out in the group stages when they lost to West Indies and were on the wrong side of an upset, losing to Ireland by three wickets. Following the heartbreaking loss, the then Pakistani coach, Bob Woolmer, was found dead in his hotel room the very next day. Very soon after, Inzamam-ul-Haq retired from captaincy and ODI cricket.

That was the time people thought that cricket in Pakistan would soon be forgotten like the national game, Hockey. The 2007 mega event was also won by Australia, who became the first nation to win three consecutive World Cups.
Everyone knows miracles do happen, and in 2009, under Younis Khan’s captaincy, Pakistan won the second edition of the ICC T20 World Cup, bringing the nation back the happiness they had lost. But soon, in 2010, three of Pakistan’s most talented and promising players, particularly Mohammad Amir, were accused of and later punished for spot-fixing during a test match against England.

The World Cup 2011 was co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The Pakistani side, led by Shahid Khan Afridi, shut the mouths of the critics by qualifying for the quarter-finals as group leader. In the group stages, Pakistan beat Australia in a match and ended their undefeated streak in the world cup matches that they had since 1999. Pakistan faced West Indies in the quarter-finals. By the help of outstanding all round performances by Mohammad Hafeez and very composed bowlers, Pakistan won that match by 10 wickets. Skipper Afridi himself took four wickets.

The semi-final was against India in India. India won by 29 runs, knocking Pakistan out of the tournament and later winning this edition by beating Sri Lanka in the final, in Mumbai. Though Pakistan did not make the final, their performance was admirable throughout the tournament.

It is now 2015 and the eleventh edition of the ICC World Cup is due in February. The squad has been announced, kits have been launched and the domestic Pentangular Cup has been all done and dusted, players have started a few days’ training at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. They will then leave for the host nations, Australia and New Zealand, and will play two ODIs against New Zealand before the World Cup warm-up matches start.

Misbah-ul-haq, as skipper, has proved himself as one most able captains in the history of Pakistan Cricket. With his current form and a very talented young squad, the expectations are high. For the nation who lives cricket, this world cup does bring hopes, hopes of getting success, as last time they played the Mega Event in Australia and New Zealand, they took the cup home.

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