ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday encouraged Pakistan cricket team to play their “best game” shortly before they clashed with England in the Twenty20 World Cup final that is currently being played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia.
Rain is widely expected to affect the crucial match today, though it has not dampened the spirit of the cricket fans.
Pakistan’s prime minister and several other prominent personalities have shown excitement about the contest designed to identify the world’s best T20 cricket team.
“Team Pakistan,” the Pakistani PM said in a Twitter post. “You have beaten all odds to reach the World Cup Final. I know you have the passion, motivation and determination to win. Believe in yourself & play your best game. The entire nation stands behind you. Good luck.”
Sharif’s political rival, Imran Khan, also came up with a similar message to support the national cricket team.
Khan, who won the 1992 World Cup against England at the same venue, asked the team to “enjoy the day” and benefit from the “mistakes” of the rival team.
“My [message] to [Pakistan] cricket team today is the same I gave our team in the 1992 World Cup Final,” he wrote on Twitter. “First: enjoy the day as one rarely gets to play in a World Cup final & don’t get overawed by it. Second: you will win if you are willing to take risks & can cash in on mistakes by opponents. That means playing with an attacking mindset. Good luck; the whole nation is praying for your success.”
The British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Christian Turner, said on the social media platform he was “very excited” that two best cricket teams had reached the World Cup final after 30 years.
He shared a brief video clip of himself watching a cricket match before asking in Urdu if “England’s batting or Pakistan’s bowling” would carry the day.
He described the two teams as “unparalleled in the world” while advising them to “play well.”
The United States Ambassador, Donald Blome, also wished Pakistan “best of luck” while telling skipper Babar Azam to bring the World Cup home.
England captain Jos Buttler won the toss and sent Pakistan in to bat.
Pakistani cricket fans arrived at the stadium in sizeable numbers and started encouraging their team as the match began.