Its about 1am and i have just managed to get back home after going through the experience of a live Ind Vs Pak match right here in Karachi.Â As the meticulous planner in me went nuts from last night i spent the entire day from morning till getting to my seat in the stadium planning for it. What to wear, how much water to take will they allow my cell phone? should i bother to take my camera?
Well i am glad i left at least an hour earlier than the scheduled start and made it inside the stadium in less than half an hour, a miracle considering the odds stacked against you in parking, walking getting through crazy death star like security. Me and my friends had managed to get tickets to one of the regular or how they are called here “general” stands as we always sit in the more expensive seats usually and stare wistfully at the all other stands dancing and hooting like mad.
It started off quite conservatively with Pak batting on a total belter of a wicket. The going was so slow that they made about 26 runs in the first 10 overs and everyone was looking at one another like err..what the hell is going on. Then they cut loose and the furor began…since we are not allowed the luxury of drums or horns in the ground people here make do with empty mineral water bottles which take about 10 overs to get empty in sufficient numbers for 50,000 hands to beat them on plastic seats in front creating a stadium wide rhythm which is both intoxicating and scary.
Frankly Pakistan would have made even less than the 299 they managed had India held on to the two really simple chances they floored. However Malik and co played well and still the end was rather rudderless as we were 220 in the 40th over and Afridi and Misbah were yet to come. It is today that i understood what Afridi means to this country, because when he strode onto the ground the entire pathan colony behind me stood up and started dancing with shouts in pushto while the stadium reverbeted with two words “Boom” “Boom”.Â Too bad the boom boom went belly up.
The next pinnacle or shall i say crescendo came..even though the decible level was ear splitting high throughout, when misbah caught that stunner for the first Indian wicket to fall. I have never in my life seen so many people dancing together, it was quite insane, yes obviously we were dancing as well and you know the best thing? There was an entire Indian contingent just a row of seats ahead of me and they danced with all of Pakistan’s fans without so much as a hard word exchanged. Infact when the writing was on the wall after Umar Guls departure and sixes from Raina and Sehwag were landing all over the place the fans were totally gone by that time, oblivious to what was going on with bottle thumping women oooohing, men whistling and dancing around like mad enveloping the whole stadium like the entire city was letting out its collective suppression. I heard women shriek with excitement when Ishant turned around and waved, each and every time…it was hilarious and it was sweet.
True we were totally beaten all ends up today by the terrific Indian chase, our bowlers did not even bother them, such was the awesome hitting on display. Still it was an experience par excellence in atmosphere, comradery and all around great fun. Well played India, you got us today but remember there is still more to come and we play our best with our backs to the wall!! & if the Australian authorities seriously think they can stay away with their team from Pakistan and not miss much, i invite them to come and get converted!! No one does cricket like Karachi!!