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Pakistan takes cricket World Cup

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ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – A nation that has become accustomed to mourning welcomed a rich respite Sunday when its cricketing team, defying all odds, won the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup in London.

"Finally, we’ll be known for something other than terrorism,” says Muneezay Jaffery, a cricket fan here.

The Pakistanis overcame the favored undefeated team of Sri Lanka on Sunday night to secure their first major championship in cricket since 1992.

It was the culmination of a three-week effort in which the team, dubbed by the press as underdogs – for their lack of match practice following years of virtual international isolation due to the worsening domestic security situation – rallied from a series of early losses to make a stunning comeback.

“We’re over the moon, this is one of the happiest days of my life” says Saad Khattak, a property management officer who, along with hundreds of others, had gone to see the game on a big screen at Jinnah Super, one of Islamabad’s main market places.

In the streets of Lahore and Karachi families erupted into dance while chanting “Pakistan Zindabad” (Long live Pakistan), as traffic was brought to a standstill. Fireworks could be heard late into the night.

Earlier in the tournament, Pakistani team captain Younis Khan, a Pashtun, said the team victory would be dedicated to the people of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, where the Pakistani military is currently engaged in an offensive against the Taliban.


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