This World Cup saw yet another edge of the seat encounter as Pakistan just managed to pip Afghanistan. The condition in the stands heated up just as the game came to an end. There has been political tension between the two neighbours, and that came out in the stands. Fans started shouting political slogans. Also, the animosity among the officials and ex-players also ended up taking away from the match.
During the first innings, a plane had flown over the stadium, carrying a banner which read, ‘Help end disappearances in Pakistan’. Furthermore, there was a van parked right outside the gates for the players, with a message saying, ‘Freedom for Balochistan’.
At around the same time, fans in the stands had started shouting political slogans to tease their counterparts. What followed was even more unfortunate as the fans had a violent faceoff, asking for an emergency evacuation.
But once they were out of the stadium, there was another violent exchange. Some Afghans came out in army uniforms to fight the Pakistanis. There were bottles hurled at journalists.
Earlier in the week, the interim CEO of the Afghanistan board had made claims of being a better team than Pakistan. He also said that Pakistan could get some tips from Afghanistan.
There was no way that he was going to get away with such comments. Former Pakistani bowler Shoaib Akhtar replied to this comment in his pre-match video. He said, “You will have to bear with me for saying controversial. However, if you ask the Afghan players for their identity cards, all of them would be from Peshawar. This can lead to ICC banning their entire team.”
He also warned the Afghanistan board to think before making any comments. He said that they must remember that Pakistan has helped them a lot.
In the pre-match conference, Afghanistan captain Gulbaden Naib had expressed a wish of cricket helping to reduce the political tension. Furthermore, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, both have started playing in Peshawar, as Shoaib Akhtar had claimed.