Islamabad: The 600 people of the Dawoodi bohra community were supposed to be gathering to have food together in a hall soon after breaking a 15-and-a-half hour fast on Sunday.
Instead, those who gathered at the religious centre in Rawalpindi delayed the food in order to watch Pakistan’s historic win over India at the Champions Trophy on a giant TV screen. For them, and for millions of people across Pakistan, the taste of victory was sweet.
“You can expect anything from only one cricket team in the world and that is Pakistan,” Ali Abbas Mandosarwala, who was at the centre with his wife, two sons and a daughter, said as India were bowled out for 158 and lost the final by a margin of 180 runs.
“Honestly I wasn’t expecting Pakistan to go beyond the group stage,” he added, reflecting on the unpredictable nature of the national team, “but the young players have shown there’s nothing impossible in this world.”
Communities gathered around TV screens throughout the country on Sunday night to share the moment as Pakistan won their first ever Champions Trophy, just weeks after being written off following a loss in the tournament’s opening match — also against India.
Jubilant fans spilt onto the streets dancing and distributing sweets soon after Hasan Ali claimed the last Indian wicket in the 31st over.
The national media on Monday heaped praise on the team.
“Pakistan champion, rolled over Indian team,” leading Urdu language Daily Jang printed across its front page.
“India couldn’t even make half of the score, whole team booked in 30.3 overs,” the Daily Jang said.
It was a stunning turnaround for Pakistan, ranked eighth in the eight-team competition and who lost their opening group match against India by 124 runs.
Under Sarfraz Ahmed’s captaincy, Pakistan beat South Africa and Sri Lanka in the remaining group matches before surprising host England in the semi-finals.
“All hail the champs,” the English-language Express Tribune headlined its lead front page story.
The Daily Dawn noted Mohammad Amir’s three wickets in his opening spell, which included the key wicket of Virat Kohli, while describing Fakhar Zaman’s century in only his fourth ODI as scintillating.
“Pakistan break jinx, trounce India in dream final,” the Dawn proclaimed in its lead story.
The News said Pakistan “sizzled at the sun-baked Oval” to record their first major victory in the 50-over format since winning the World Cup in 1992.
“The stars aligned for Pakistan on a bright Sunday in South London when they cut their old rivals down to size to win their maiden Champions Trophy crown,” The News said.