Comment Pakistan rediscover the magic of 1992 - for real.

SOMETIMES the heavens align. Sometimes it snows in April. Sometimes the magic takes hold of Pakistan cricket, rescues it from the jaws of despair, and clears its path to the pinnacle. At times like this it is best to go with the mood, to trip the light fantastic, to savour Pakistan's version of magical realism. The Netherlands created the mood, and Pakistan's bowlers, led by the star-shaped celebrations of Shaheen Shah Afridi, propelled Pakistan into the T20 World Cup semifinals.

New Zealand await Pakistan under the Sydney lights in an echo of 1992. The romantics among us see shades of the cornered tigers in almost every tournament, but for once those comparisons may be genuine.

A miserable start followed by a do or die resurgence. Inspirational bowlers carrying a batting order rediscovering its mojo. Qualification against the odds, delivered by rain, luck, and other results. A left-arm fast bowler perfecting his art; lethal round the wicket. A young leg spinner seizing the world stage. A new international batsman, fearless and audacious. A low-key final group game to see Pakistan safely into the semi-finals. These are the welcome shadows of the past.

And the Adelaide Oval, a historic ground that has seen almost 150 years of cricket, where higher powers intervene to keep Pakistan's hopes alive. Now, by inspiring the Netherlands to a shock victory over as lacklustre a South African team as you will find. Then, in 1992, by conjuring a rainstorm that saved Pakistan from certain defeat to England and allowed Imran Khan's team to progress.

The Green Shirts will clash with New Zealand in the semifinals on Nov 9

The similarities are everywhere, and by Wednesday they may well mean nothing, but for now, in this sweet moment, they are powerful and beg the question of whether the miracle can be reworked? History, some say, is circular, always returning to the same point. Well, Pakistan are here again, defying all expectations, with New Zealand standing between them and a World Cup Final at Australia's Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Perhaps, most importantly, Pakistan have momentum, which is often decisive in the final stages of a world tournament. England have it too - another echo. But it isn't fate or circumstance that creates momentum, it is the players, the energy they bring, and the manner of their victories.

Pakistan's momentum resides predominantly in their exquisite bowling attack. This is no statement blinkered by jingoism but a verdict supported...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT