England, 27 June : No doubt you’ve come across the memes and WhatsApp forwards, or had discussions with friends. The inescapable conclusion is that for Pakistan, the 2019 World Cup is going the exact same way as the 1992 tournament. Which means, of course, that Pakistan will do exactly what they did in 1992 and win the World Cup.
The similarities begin with the format.
In 1992, the tournament had nine teams, with everyone playing against everyone else and the top four progressing to the semi-finals.
In 2019, the tournament has 10 teams, and everyone plays everyone else and the top four progress to the semi-finals.
The playing conditions
In 1992, the administrators decided to use two new white balls per innings, one at each end.
In 2019, the teams are also playing with two new white balls per innings, one at each end.
Then, the most credible and compelling similarities – Pakistan’s sequence of results:
In 1992, Pakistan’s sequence for the first 7 games read: Lost, won, washout, lost, lost, won, won. In 2019, Pakistan’s sequence for the first 7 games read: Lost, won, washout, lost, lost, won,won.
In 1992, Pakistan lost their opening game to West Indies. In 2019, Pakistan lost their opening game to West Indies.
In 1992, when Pakistan took on Martin Crowe’s side, the co-hosts were unbeaten. Pakistan eased home by seven wickets in Christchurch and sealed their entry into the semi-finals.
In 2019, Pakistan took on an unbeaten New Zealand again. Also, a worrying sign for Pakistan fans: the 1992 game was the tournament’s 34th match. Edgbaston was tournament’s 33rd. This time though, New Zealand batted first and had a horrendous start with 5 batsman already returned to pavilion under 15 overs, all thanks to the magical spell of Shaheen shah Afridi. All rounders came into rescue, and steered them to a decent total of 237. Pakistan had a decent start and Babar Azam’s scintillating hundred and Haris Sohail’s quickfire 60, took Pakistan home comfortably in the end. This win doesn’t guarantee them a place in the last four, though considerably increases their chances.
With Babar Azam scoring a century, broke the jinx too. Since 1987 W.C none of the Pakistani middle order batsmen had scored a century in world cups. The last one being that of Rameez Raja
Pakistan won the 7th Match in 1992 W.C by 7 wickets with 5 balls remaining.
In 2019 they won by 6 wickets , with 5 balls remaining. This adds to the long list of similarities
Around now, the theory starts stretching
In 1992, Pakistan had Inzamam-ul-Haq, one of their breakout stars.
In 2019, Pakistan have his nephew Imam-ul-Haq.
In 1992, a Pakistani left-hand batsman named Sohail (Aamir) was the Man of the Match in their sixth game.
In 2019, a Pakistani left-hand batsman named Sohail (Haris) was Man of the Match in their sixth game.
In 1992, India and then Australia had won the previous two World Cups.
In 2019, India and then Australia have won the previous two World Cups.
And finally, the theory goes bonkers
In 1992, Asif Ali Zardari, a former president of Pakistan and husband of the late Benazir Bhutto, was in jail.
In 2019, Asif Ali Zardari again is in jail.
In 1992, Aladdin was released as an animated musical film.
In 2019, an Aladdin reboot was released.
Before you get too carried away though, the 2019 Pakistan team is not going there. Not 1992 in any case, as Azhar Mahmood pointed out:
“If you see the 1992 World Cup and this one, there are a few similarities. But we’re not thinking like that. If you look at the 1999 World Cup, the situation that we are in, Australia was in that situation. If they lost any games, they would’ve been out. We are in that situation. But for us, every match is a final, that is how we are looking at it. We know that if we perform poorly anywhere, we could be out.”
So remember: it’s Australia 1999, not Pakistan 1992, that Pakistan 2019 must emulate to win this.
(Inputs from ESPN )