Karachi: An eerie silence descended on Pakistan's biggest city today after its national cricket team was annihilated in the much-hyped up World Cup game against India in Adelaide.
Dubbed as 'war without the guns' the passionate Pakistani cricket community including former players, pundits, critics and fans were left disappointed and dejected after watching Misbah-ul-Haq and his men fail to stop the Indian juggernaut against them in World Cup.
Since the wee hours there was an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation for the match here as boys and girls dressed in the traditional green shirts went around blaring horns and playing songs before finally getting down to watch the live action.
Big screens were installed at closed and open spaces as fans converged to watch the match. In the distance one could hear horns blaring and at times even celebratory gunfire during the match when Pakistan did well.
But these times were few and at the end of the match it was the same old story for the fans. "Now we have to wait for another four years to try to end this jinx. Yaar what is this team... Didn't they realise the importance of the occasion. Look at how Dhoni and his players remained focused," an irate cricket fan Sabrina said in the upmarket Clifton area.
There was a grudging admiration for Virat Kohli in the cricket discussions taking place at pan shops, coffee outlets and tea stalls as the roads which were supposed to be filled with fans celebrating remained deserted even after the match.
"It is really disappointing at how the team let us down today. You wait for a long time for this match and I just feel so bad for the fans who prayed for success," Pakistan's former opener Mohsin Khan said.
Not surprisingly angry cricket fans vented their anger on social networking sites with Ahmed Shehzad, Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal the target of most digs.
Fans wasted no time in highlighting the mistakes committed by Pakistan in the match including Kohli's dropped catch by Akmal. There was though no violence reported from any part of the city.
The reason for this could be that today's match was the first for both teams in this World Cup. These feelings were echoed by Baba Gulzar who runs a popular video outlet in Clifton. "Chalo abhi World Cup baqi hai and if we play well we can still beat India in the semi-finals or final," an ever optimistic Baba said.
Former captain Rashid Latif said Pakistan had squandered their best opportunity to beat India in a World Cup game. "India was the team under pressure but all praise to Kohli, Dhawan and Raina for sticking it out in the middle. That is something our batsmen should have learnt from them when we batted," Latif said.
He had no doubt that Dhoni's cool captaincy had a major role to play in India's success. "To me the turning point was the dismissal of Haris Sohail who looked in very good nick today and one must give credit to Dhoni for planning his dismissal," Latif added. One or two news channels midway through the match tried to play up the dismissal of Akmal as an Indian conspiracy against Pakistan but the ploy didn't work as the fans and viewers were already too disappointed to accept this argument.
"I think you should know that an umpire has to go by the technology he has been given to take a decision on a referral and in this case umpire Steve Davis I think went by the sound," Test umpire Asad Rauf said. Rauf also scolded the anchor on a television channel who was playing up Akmal's dismissal as a umpiring blunder.
"I think you need to show the whole picture to your views and not misguide them," Rauf said. Professor Abdul Hameed, a professor of sociology and behavorial science, had no doubt that the media in both countries was to blame for the disappointment and dejection that people felt after a Indo-Pak match.
"The media builds these matches as a battle and ignores the fact that it is just a cricket match and they create so much hype that fans of the losing side always end up feeling depressed and sad and... It is hard for them to digest a defeat," he said.