Long live this Pak­istan story

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - LUN­GANI ZAMA

PAK­ISTAN, Zind­abad. Pak­istan, zind­abad!

“He who laughs last, laughs loud­est,” chimed the Uber driver, wear­ing a grin as wide as the River Thames. Ever since their hor­ror show against In­dia in their first game of the tour­na­ment, Pak­istan have been un­recog­nis­able.

They’ve been “dif­fer­ent gravy”, as they say in these parts. They si­lenced SA, snuck in against Sri Lanka, mugged Eng­land, but they saved their “Sun­day best” for In­dia. It had to be against In­dia, the one coun­try that they mea­sure them­selves against.

They live for days like this.

They blew In­dia away; lit­er­ally whizzed them up in a green frenzy of a hur­ri­cane, and Vi­rat Kohli and his men came out stag­ger­ing.

On Ken­ning­ton Lane, the road that runs next to The Oval, Pak­istan fans had stood out­side the ground beg­ging for spare tick­ets. The sold out signs had gone up weeks ago, but they were still clutch­ing onto the hope that some­one might not fancy a day out in the Lon­don sun.

They stood out­side the gate, watch­ing the big screen, and liv­ing off the roars from within.

It was bizarre, but beau­ti­ful. There are pubs around ev­ery corner in Eng­land, but they main­tained that the oc­ca­sion de­manded them to hear the re­ac­tion live.

It makes sense, in a weird way. And so, ev­ery one of the 338 runs that Pak­istan bat­tered had a roar, and then an echo.

On that same Ken­ning­ton Lane, long be­fore the last rites were read, scores of light blue shirts sulked to buses, taxis, Range Rovers and the odd Rolls Royce.

In­dia have the money, but to­day, Pak­istan had the glory.

And you couldn’t buy it off them, what­ever your price. Pak­istan, home­less – oc­ca­sion­ally hope­less – and al­ways reck­less, live for days like these.

Mickey Arthur didn’t know what to do with him­self. Faced

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