Hopeful or hope-fool: Which side of Pakistan fandom divide are you on?

On match day one set of fans would openly dream of Pakistan win and say so, while the other would take a pessimistic view of the team's chances.
Published November 9, 2022

It’s the day of the match. Not just any match but the mother of all matches. And that is all the hype this piece is going to attempt to create. Because if a World Cup semi-final that nearly got the Supreme Court of Pakistan to shut up shop does not wake up the weary soul in you, we don’t know if anything ever will.

The script got even better when a public holiday was announced — a decision we’re sure was welcomed wholeheartedly by the public, which is something that cannot be said by the government’s most other decisions these days.

So the equation as it stands is that on a Sunday-like Wednesday, our beloved Pakistan cricket team faces a side it often beats (4-2 edge) in world cups, with the potential reward being a winner-takes-all final opposite India.

Wipe that drool off.

But before we jump the gun, let’s reassess the matter at hand. While the cricketers will do what cricketers usually do, there also is a choice for the fans to make. You either dream, back and brag, or you stay conservative, modest and expect the worst so as to cushion the blow if it comes. Both the schools of thoughts are explained below:

Hopeful because YOLO

A popular but somewhat inaccurate opinion is that Pakistan cricket team often disappoints, especially in big tournaments. We say that’s inaccurate because on average, Pakistan win one big tournament every decade. They won a 50-over World Cup in 1992, a T20 World Cup in 2009 and a Champions Trophy in 2017.

If past is an accurate barometer, then Pakistan would win something big in this decade too. They missed their chance last year, and get another chance this week. A big trophy of the 2020s is due and what better place for it to be delivered than Australia, the same place where the first-ever big trophy was captured.

Then there is the angle of history repeating itself.

A World Cup Down Under, a tall world class left-arm pacer leading the attack, a painful defeat to start the tournament, a defeat to India, when all seemed lost a massive stroke of luck at the expense of South Africa, a clash with New Zealand in the semis and final opposite England … at the MCG.

The last time this happened, the year was 1992 and Pakistan ended up being crowned first-time world champions. The storyline of 2022 has been following the pattern. It hasn’t failed yet and now stands just a couple steps away from replicating it in entirety.

Besides, as explained above, Pakistan have an excellent record in T20 World Cups against New Zealand. They’ve won four and lost just two. Even in their most recent World Cup clash, which was in the 50-over tournament back in 2019, the Green Shirts beat the Kiwis in style. What says then that they can’t win again?

Staying grounded because it’s Pakistan

Granted that there is no better feeling in sports than calling a win and then seeing the result play out exactly like that, it should be kept in mind that this is the Pakistan cricket team we are talking about.

Conventional wisdom, acceptable rules of the world, laws of physics and every structured form of anything ever fails on them. You expect them to win, they lose, you expect them to go left, they go right, you expect them to go out, they make the semis.

When you’re in a relationship with such an unpredictable lover, it’s best to keep the hopes low. Therefore, the best piece of advice for the fans will be to keep your fingers crossed, expect the worst, secretly hope for the best but don’t ever say it out aloud until the match is over, the bails are off, the players are back in the dressing room and the ball is locked in the briefcase, and the briefcase is locked.

That is so Pakistan, at its worst, can find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, just as they did against India (failing to defend 27 runs off 8 balls), and just as they did against Zimbabwe (failing to chase a mere 130). It’s never over till it’s really over with this bunch.

Knowing that, make your pick wisely: