Thousands of fans have given Champions Trophy 2017 winning Pakistan team a heroic welcome as they arrived home carrying the Champions Trophy early on Tuesday. Men, women and children thronged the Karachi airport as Srafraz Ahmed reached home from England winning the Champions Trophy final, where they defeated India by 180 runs.
Sarfraz lifted the trophy amidist the loud cheers and chants ‘Long live Sarfraz!’ as a police band played patriotic songs nearby. “(We won) thanks to Allah and the prayers of the whole nation,” Ahmed said in brief comments as he jostled his way through the crowd of well-wishers.
Pakistan’s victory on Sunday sparked widespread celebrations in the country, where cricket is the number one sport. Skipper Sarfraz was ushered with bouquets and given a traditional skull cap and an ‘ajrak’ shawl, which is usually presented as a mark of honour.
Sarfraz’s home in central Karachi was decorated with colourful lights and Pakistan flags, while fans climbed on rooftops and balconies to watch him return home.
It was difficult to decide who was fan and who was journalist as they were extremely happy and overwhelmed with national team victory in a 50-over cricket tournament after 25 years.
Pakistan won the tournament as a No. 8 team in ICC ODI rankings. So, it was not expected that they will win the tournament, however beating all odds they achieve the feat.
The victory was how important reflected on newspapers, with the leading English daily Dawn proclaiming: “Pakistan breaks jinx, trounce India in dream final”.
While the country’s largest vernacular newspaper, the Urdu-daily Jang, announced: “Pakistan Champions trounced Indian team.”
Banks, government and other organisations ran full-page advertisements congratulating the team for their historic win.
In an editorial titled “Victory is sweet”, the Express Tribune said: “When you are an underdog in a high-octane tournament final and your highly-regarded opponent is the defending champion, hardly anyone has any expectations of you — except of course your cricket-mad 200 million plus compatriots.”
The News, in a piece headlined “Champions”, said: “When Pakistan was thrashed by India in its opening match of the Champions Trophy, the obituaries were already being written. But if there is one thing you can say about the Pakistan cricket team, it is that it exists to confound everyone.”