As dark clouds scuffled over Lords on Sunday, a tide of hope swept over the fresh pitch of the stadium. A resurgent Pakistan that had till now been nearly as abject as its opponent, South Africa, had just sent Proteas crashing out of the World Cup.
It was Haris Sohail, the possible turner of the tide whose match-winning innings of 89 coupled with five wickets shared by Mohammad Amir and Shadhab Khan that turned the game at Lords into a match Pakistan could not lose.
After carrying the weight of the stinging public response for an entire week since India annihilated them, Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men move to Birmingham with hope – they have proved that they are still alive – that their route to the final four remains. The light inside them was not broken.
As the team now will have to run the table against New Zealand, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, it is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid comparisons with the three times Pakistan have hoisted global trophies, the 1992 World Cup, 2009 World T20 and 2017 Champions Trophy. Each time they had to reach sudden death in the group stage before taking all before them.
There seems to be more witchcraft at play this time than ever, as Pakistan’s journey at the tournament till now co-incidentally mirrors their 1992 World Cup triumph.
In the 1992 World Cup, Pakistan had won just one of their first five matches, before mounting a stunning comeback and going on to lift the trophy when none had given them a chance.
This time too, Pakistan won just one of their first five matches and would have been certain of heading home had they lost the tie against the Proteas.
Just like in 1992, Pakistan lost their opener to West Indies this time, won the second match, lost the fourth and fifth ties and won the sixth one. Their third matches in both editions were washed out.
Pakistan’s opponent for the seventh match, in both editions, are New Zealand, which remained unbeaten till that stage.
The similarities don’t end there, as Pakistan fans would point out. This is the first time since 1992 that the World Cup’s league stage is being held in the round-robin format.
Although this could all very well be coincidence, the lingering feeling of deja-vu hasn’t alluded fans, who are amused and excited, with some prophesizing that Pakistan is about to repeat their 1992 World Cup history.
So the wise oracles of Twitter are making predictions, other fans are busy issuing a word of caution: Don’t take Srafaraz Ahmed and his men lightly. The remaining, are chugging the humour that comes with the observation.
Just for excitement🇵🇰 in 1992 WCLost to WindiesWonWash outLostLostWon- NZ was unbeaten till they faced 🇵🇰🇵🇰 In 2019 WCLost to WindiesWonWash outLostLostWon- Next Match: vs NZ so far UNBEATEN #CWC19#PAKvSA #SavPak#WeHaveWeWill#WorldCup2019— Praneet Samaiya (@praneetsamaiya) June 23, 2019
A defeat, victory and then a washout - just like in 1992.Pakistan scores points in same manner as in 1992 when it had won the World cup and the only time round robin league method was followed as being played now...Would Pakistan recreate history?— Sasidharan sudarsanam (@Sasidharan_su) June 8, 2019
Coincidentally,Pakistan's third game 1992 was Also a wash out,Against England when Pakistan was bowled out for 74 SO bristol Pakistan world cup game Against sirlanka Also being washed out today so I'm seeing the same scenario as repeat of 1992 world cup pic.twitter.com/wAA3oZ2sYi— Uzairkhan (@Uzairhasnaat) June 7, 2019
Crazy Stat:1992 World Cup: PakL, W, Rain, LL,W, W, W2019 World Cup: PakL, W, Rain, LL,WSarfraz can still become Prime Minister of Pakistan.#PAKvSA #SAvPAK— Farrago Abdullah (@abdullah_0mar) June 23, 2019
In 1992 worldcup, Newzeland was unbeaten until they faced Pakistan 🇵🇰 Pak beat them and broke their streak of win. Same situation is now. Newzeland is unbeaten & they’re going to face Pakistan on Wednesday in Birmingham #PAKvSA— Azeem (@Azeem_Views) June 23, 2019
1992 me bhi Pakistan ne Africa ko beat, krne ke bad consecutive matches jeete thy, so If Pakistan beat South Africa today 😂✌World Cup apna ha. 😂 😂— Aнмed 🇵🇰💔 (@Chal_Daffa_Ho) June 23, 2019