The Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore was a picture of excitement and elation on Tuesday night as thousands of fans trooped in to watch an international match in Pakistan after two years. While Zimbabwe had visited these shores in 2015, even that series had its shares of scares and in many ways, this was the most high-profile match in Pakistan since 2009 when security fears stopped all international cricket in the country.
A delighted crowd of almost 25,000 watched their Champions Trophy heroes defeat the World XI by 20 runs in an exciting encounter. But more than the game itself, the significance of the occasion was not lost on anyone.
To see the joy on the fans who thronged the stadium, watching their heroes in flesh was a reminder of how easily we can sometimes take little pleasures for granted.
The match itself wasn’t uneventful. Pakistan came to town dressed, not in their usual flaming greens, but a deeper shade of teal.
Which got mixed reactions....
There was some needling...
And fittingly, for a match played in Lahore, a lethal yorker which even the batsman applauded.
Pakistan won to get the series off to just the start the fans had wanted. The crowd went back, a satisfied, happy lot, knowing the significance of the occasion.
Do you prefer your favourite sports stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday? We have got you covered. Subscribe to The Field’s newsletter.