Pakistani cricket fans are disheartened and have lost all hopes on the men in green, as they were defeated by India in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 on Sunday, June 16, and are on the brink of a group-stage exit from the tournament. Pakistan have lost three of their last five matches in the tournament and have their backs against the wall. The whole cricketing world has removed them from the list of probable winners of the World Cup.
But the Pakistani fans can have a ray of hope if they recollect their memories about what happened in the 1992 ICC Cricket World Cup when Pakistan won the tournament for the first time. Pakistan was in the exact same position having lost three matches, won one and one match being washed out due to rains.
They lost their first match against West Indies in that edition of the tournament, which also matches with this year's edition. Ironically, after 1992, this is the only time that the World Cup is happening in a single group format. All these similarities can help Pakistani fans reignite their hopes regarding winning the World Cup for the second time.
Do Pakistan have a chance of winning the World Cup?
The Imran Khan-led Pakistani squad started their campaign in a similar manner but their team was much more balanced and they had a leader like Imran Khan, which made the difference. Imran Khan had handpicked most of the youngsters like Inzamam, Wasim Akram, who played their heart out in the tournament.
Khan never lost hope in the team and regularly used to tell the team that they will win the trophy. Rameez Raja was once quoted saying that they used to think Imran had gone mad as the Pakistan captain always used to say we will win the cup even after being on the brink of a group stage exit. Imran after winning the final went to address the press and said," Today, I asked the team to behave like a cornered tiger. To go out and fight. To snarl. And they responded magnificently."
That was the spirit and the hunger to win that Imran had which ignited the fire inside the players on the right time. Imran used to regularly try out different combinations and his persevering mentality helped Pakistan in lifting the coveted trophy for the first time ever. Luck also was a big factor in Pakistan's road to victory as their match against England in the group stages got abandoned due to rain after they set a target of a meagre 75 runs. That point turned out to be vital in Pakistan's qualification.
On the other hand, the team playing this year's edition do not have a captain like Imran. Sarfaraz is a good captain, he led Pakistan to Champions Trophy victory but he still lacks the perseverance and hunger to win that Imran had. But still, there is time for Pakistan to make a comeback from the situation they are in.
Pakistan will next face South Africa on June 23 and play to keep their hopes alive in their World Cup campaign. Coincidentally, Pakistan played South Africa after losing to India in 1992 also though they lost the match, which the current team cannot afford to do.