Karachi: Cricket fans in Pakistan broke into wild celebration after their team's win over India in a warm-up game of the ICC World Twenty20, in Colombo on Monday.
Having lost to India in the 2011 World Cup and then in the Asia Cup, the warm-up match was taken very seriously by fans here. The media did its bit, creating hype around it.
"The people's reaction is understandable. Any match against India is taken very seriously. But Pakistan need to now keep this momentum going in the World Cup," Pakistan's former captain and senior batsman, Younis Khan said.
He pointed out that Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik had shown that even by playing calculated strokes, T20 matches could be won. "It is a good win for Pakistan and will definitely boost their morale. The win today also means there will be more expectations from the team in the tournament," Younis added.
Whether in offices, homes, restaurants or even tea stalls, the match was followed avidly by fans here. "Beating India in any match is something to celebrate about. And the way we chased down a big total that is great," a taxi driver named Yousuf said.
Former captain Aamir Sohail said Malik had played a brilliant knock and Kamran deserved credit for giving his colleague time to settle down. "I think India definitely need to play [Ashok] Dinda in place of Irfan Pathan. They need another specialist bowler, not an allrounder. Pakistan has shown what it is capable of in this World Cup," Sohail said.
He pointed out that if Pakistan got their combination right, they could beat anyone. "Malik showed he is a master at playing in the most difficult circumstances in T20 matches."
Pakistan's former player and until recently coach Mohsin Khan said India still remained a dangerous side. "Their batting is in great form and Kohli and Sharma batted beautifully today. But Pakistan's advantage is it has a lot of variety in batting and bowling. Though it was a warm-up game, the result meant a lot for our team," Mohsin said.