Lahore/Karachi, June 20: Pakistan players were accorded a hero’s welcome upon returning home as hundreds of supporters stayed up late to welcome the just-crowned ICC Champions Trophy winners.
Pakistan defied all odds to thrash favourites India by 180 runs and lift the Champions Trophy for the first time.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, large crowds gathered at airports in Karachi and Lahore eagerly awaiting the return of the champions, the Dawn reported.
In a video shared on skipper Sarfraz Ahmed’s Twitter page, the captain was seen shouting “Pakistan...Pakistan...” holding the trophy aloft as thousands of locals egged him on and brought the roof down.
Sarfraz, who led from the front including a crucial knock of 61 in a do-or-die Group A match against Sri Lanka, saw the entire street leading to his house decorated as he arrived with pacer Ruman Raees at 4:45 a.m. in Karachi.
According to an article in the Dawn, fans also unfurled a 70-foot long tiol flag and carried it in the street as Sarfaraz drove home in a special convoy provided by the Sindh provincial government.
There were selfies flashing everywhere as the supporters did not miss the opportunity to bathe in the euphoria and keep the piece of memory with them.
Sarfraz and Rumman, according to the report, were presented with traditiol Sindhi shawls and caps.
“We have created a legacy. I believe this victory will not be forgotten, it will always be remembered,” Sarfaraz was quoted as saying.
Nine of the Pakistan squad members were playing in the Champions Trophy for the first time. Sarfraz lauded his young guns and added seniors too did their jobs admirably.
“Our seniors have performed excellently in important matches,” he said.
“It is a good sign for Pakistan that the young players performed well. Winning the trophy was difficult. It was a team effort,” the 30-year-old added.
Player-of-the-tourment Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Babar Azam, and Ahmed Shehzad were presented with bouquets by the Punjab provincial ministers when they arrived at Lahore, the Dawn reported.
Pakistan punched above wight after losing their first game to India by 124 runs. They got lucky as Duckworth-Lewis helped them beat South Africa and then a stunning performance saw the lowly side edge past Sri Lanka into the semi-fils.
Pitted against England, who had not lost a game till then and looked in red hot form, the 1992 World Cup champions shocked one and all by pulverizing the hosts to reach the fil. IANS