Misbah-ul-Haq eventually lifted the Asia Cup 2012 last night but not without a sigh of relief. It was a nail-biting encounter and the post-match celebrations all over the country gave proof of the release of tension which the whole of Pakistan had experienced. Many were jubilant over Pakistan winning the Asia cup for the 2nd time, many just joining the party for no obvious reasons and some like me wondering what all these people are so excited about; We beat Bangladesh, and for the 29th time in 30 games.
What I did realize though was that this was not the same Bangladesh we were used to beating up every time. This side had tasted victory and that too over difficult opponents. They didn’t go out onto the field without a plan anymore. They had method to their game and a little flare to go with it. They gave Pakistan a tough time and made sure the match was evenly poised till the very last delivery.
They were all tears which told the world how much it meant for this side to come so close to glory and yet remain so far. I was touched, and so were a few more of my friends who promptly texted me inquiring if we really did deserve to win. Deep down somewhere, we do enjoy an underdog beat the heck out of top sides in the world. Also deep down somewhere, we didn’t like the way Misbah was martialling the troops. We don’t like tears anyway, at least if Bangladesh would’ve won, we wouldn’t have seen the Pakistan team crying.
On the other hand, what we would’ve seen shouldn’t also be discounted so early. Remember the 1999 world cup? Oh we remember all right! The arrogance and the conceit displayed by the Bangladesh side and specially their Prime Minister with her remarks regarding the 1971 war. I spotted her last night on television also sitting and watching the match in the stadium but she wasn’t to be seen anywhere after the last ball was bowled.
I was just reading today in the newspaper about Mushfiq-ur-Raheem claiming prior to the match that this would just be a formality to be completed, Bangladesh will win for sure. If the news is true, no wonder he was crying; anyone in his shoes would’ve done that after being reminded about the old saying: “Pride hath a fall.”
As a neutral, it is definitely heartening to see a side finally come of age 12 years after attaining the test status (which by the way is still questionable). They played outstanding cricket and announced their presence in great style. What will be interesting though would be to see if they can be consistent with their performance and prove themselves in different conditions and against different oppositions.
As far as Pakistan and Tuc Tuc are concerned, well… never mind!
Hammad A. Mateen