Pakistan may have failed to make it to the semifinals of the coveted ICC Cricket World Cup, but the country's lawmakers fared better than their counterparts from six other countries to win the first Inter-Parliamentary Cricket World Cup in London on Friday.
The four-day tournament had begun on Tuesday with lawmakers from Pakistan, England, Australia, New Zealand, India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan taking to the field.
As many as 25 members of parliament, led by Makhdoom Zain Hussain Qureshi, son of Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, represented Pakistan in the event.
After legislators from the other participating nations failed to advance with their sporting prowess, it was down to Pakistan and Bangladesh to vie for the title.
The Bangladesh parliamentary team managed to score 104 runs at the loss of eight wickets in their overs.
Pakistan began their chase on a strong note, reaching 41-1 at the end of seven overs.
A 20-run knock from an over put the Green Shirts firmly in charge as the match proceeded. And thanks to a splendid display by Federal Minister for Kashmir affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Khan Gandapur, who put 52 runs not out on the scoreboard, Pakistan proceeded to win the final by nine wickets with eight overs to spare.
Chris Heaton-Harris, a British Member of Parliament who organised the tournament, had termed Pakistan as the favourites to lift the trophy, saying they had been in training camps for quite some time with their national coach.
The announcement of the 25-member Pakistan cricket team had drawn criticism on social media with people saying that despite austerity measures taken by the PTI government and imposition of heavy taxes on the citizens, the government was sending the parliamentarians’ cricket team to London.
The led the National Assembly Secretariat to issue a statement and say that the expenses on account of transportation to the UK, accommodation and other costs would be borne by the team members and the managerial staff.
“This decision has been taken keeping in view the ongoing austerity measures adopted by parliament and other government departments in order to lessen burden on public exchequer,” the statement had said.
Taking to Twitter, former finance minister Asad Umar congratulated the parliamentary team on their victory and reminded the nation that the lawmakers had travelled to participate in the tournament "not at taxpayers cost".
The team was selected by the Pakistan Cricket Board after an assessment on the field while playing friendly matches with cricket clubs and departmental teams in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.