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Anger, disappointment reign in Pakistan after World Cup loss

Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 9:03pm IST | Place: ISLAMABAD | Agency: PTI
Angry fans broke TV sets, a student took poison and the Lahore high court was approached with a complaint that the government had "gifted" the World Cup semifinal to India in a bid to improve bilateral ties.

Angry fans broke TV sets, a student took poison and the Lahore high court was approached with a complaint that the government had "gifted" the World Cup semifinal to India in a bid to improve bilateral ties.

These were among the bizarre reactions in Pakistan to its team's defeat at Mohali that shocked this cricket-mad country united in the love for the game, but violently divided over many issues.

Investigate the recordings of telephone conversations between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, cricket captain Shahid Afridi and interior minister Rahman Malik, urged an upset citizen in his petition to the high court.

The recordings should be produced in court to verify his allegations, the petitioner pleaded, a day after India had humbled Pakistan by 29 runs at Mohali.

Such is the cricket mania that a person lost his life and 50 others were injured in 'celebratory fire' in Karachi when Pakistan appeared doing well in the match.

(The craze is matched by across the border in India where a shopkeeper in Ghaziabad is reported to have been shot dead by some people angered by his wrong prediction that Pakistan would win the match).

How would the Pakistani team be received by the unforgiving public on its return home was a hotly debated topic with people recalling that irate fans have attacked the houses and families of vanquished players in the past.

Afridi himself apologised to the nation immediately after the match and many sane voices shared his view that the team had done much better than was expected of it.

Leading the supportive voices was Punjab chief minister Shabaz Sharif who announced a cash reward of Rs five lakhs to each player.

Afridi's young daughter broke into tears on national television, saying she was hurt at the loss.

Shocked by the defeat, a man died of heart attack in Faisalabad.

Meanwhile, the media screamed "massacre at Mohali" attacking the team for poor fielding and batting.

"Cricket mania evaporates after anti-climax", read the headline of Dawn.




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