Jubilant cricket fans pour onto the streets across Pakistan and in parts of India-administered Kashmir to hail Pakistan's rout of India at T20 World Cup – their first-ever World Cup win over arch-rivals India.

Pakistanis celebrate win of ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup cricket match between Pakistan and India, at their home street in Peshawar, on October 24, 2021.
Pakistanis celebrate win of ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup cricket match between Pakistan and India, at their home street in Peshawar, on October 24, 2021. (AFP)

Firecrackers, blaring car horns, and bursts of gunfire have rung out across Pakistani cities as cricket fans celebrated their first World Cup victory over arch-rivals India.

Shortly after captain Babar Azam and his partner Mohammad Rizwan sealed a crushing win in their Twenty20 World Cup group match in Dubai on Sunday, cheers echoed from houses and apartment buildings.

"Congratulations to the Pakistan Team & especially to Babar Azam who led from the front, as well as to the brilliant performances of Rizwan & Shaheen Afridi," said Prime Minister Imran Khan, who led Pakistan to triumph in the one-day World Cup in 1992.

"The nation is proud of you all," he tweeted.

His congratulations were echoed by the chief of the army staff, underlining the political symbolism of the win.

India went into the match with a 12-0 record in World Cups against their neighbours but Pakistan snapped that streak with a 10-wicket romp at the Dubai International Stadium.

Azam scored a 52-ball 68 not out while fellow opener Rizwan hit an undefeated 55-ball 79 as Pakistan achieved their first 10-wicket win in all Twenty20 internationals by comfortably chasing down their target of 152.

The loss was also India's first 10-wicket defeat in Twenty20 cricket.

Left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi set up victory with figures of 3-31 that restricted India to 151-7 despite a valiant 57 from captain Virat Kohli.

"This is just the start, we have confidence to build on it now," said Babar after the opening win in the round-robin Super 12 stage.

"That will remain with us. The pressure on us wasn't that much -- we weren't thinking of the record against India at all."

Indian skipper Kohli reacted with incredulity when asked if their unblemished track record made them complacent against the arch-rivals ahead of the Group Two blockbuster.

"You don't go out there to take anything lightly, especially a team like Pakistan who on their day can beat anyone in the world," Kohli, who will relinquish India's Twenty20 captaincy after the tournament told reporters.

'We're bringing the power back'

In Pakistan's largest city Karachi, fans poured onto the streets immediately after the final ball was bowled, waving Pakistani flags from motorcycles and car windows.

They danced and sang, shouting slogans of "Pakistan zindabad", or "Long Live Pakistan".

Celebratory gunfire erupted from the rooftops of houses in the capital Islamabad and Peshawar while fireworks also lit up the sky.

Minhaj Ghauri, a Pakistan fan in Karachi said: "Today Pakistan have won against India. Now it doesn't matter whether we win the final or not. It's the biggest win that we have had against India in a long time. Pakistan zindabad (Long live Pakistan)!"

Cricket fan Shahid Ahmad, 22, a student in Peshawar told AFP news agency: "It was a great victory. Pakistan have proved that we can win in any situation. It was even more important because this victory was against India."

Another Pakistani cricket fan, Muhammad Basit who came from the UK for the match, told AFP in Karachi: "It's a great feeling. Pakistan beat India in a very big match."

"We're bringing the power back. I think we are going to win the competition, Pakistan zindabad, all the way."

Fans in Kashmir erupt in joy

The two neighbours have clashed repeatedly over the years, most recently in 2019 when Indian jets launched a raid into Pakistan over a rebel attack in India-administered Kashmir that killed 40 police.

On the field, however, players from both sides embraced and chatted warmly after the match.

The South Asian nuclear rivals have only played in multi-national events like World Cups and the Champions Trophy as strained relations have stalled bilateral cricket since 2007.

Pakistan did tour India in 2012 for five limited-over matches but ties were not fully resumed as the two nations continued to be at loggerheads over multiple issues, with the disputed region of Kashmir heading the list.

During the week, there were protests in India with calls to boycott the match in the wake of the recent killings of 11 outside workers and minority Hindus and Sikhs in India-administered Kashmir.

On Sunday evening, loud celebrations were held in parts of India-controlled Kashmir, a Muslim majority region that has been at the heart of much of the tension between the two countries.

Fans in main Srinagar city burst crackers and shouted pro-Pakistan and pro-independence slogans. 

New Delhi has struggled for decades to dampen pro-freedom sentiments in the region where most of the Kashmiris favour complete independence or a merger with Pakistan.

'Full of intensity'

Tickets for Sunday's contest –– the first between the two sides since the 2019 50-over World Cup –– were sold out hours after they went online and entry passes were being offered at inflated prices by resale websites with some advertised for $250 with $6,000 for corporate boxes.

Expatriate fans of both Pakistan and India gathered at the Dubai stadium desperate to witness what has become a rare sporting clash.

"We should play with each other more often. It is such a treat to see these two teams on the cricket field," Mohammad Ashraf, a Pakistan national working in the United Arab Emirates, told AFP news agency.

Pankhuri Raj Mehta, an Indian who has worked in Abu Dhabi since 2017, added: "I brought a ticket for the game as soon as it went online. I mean you look forward to these contests, especially when you are far away from home."

India and 2009 champions Pakistan are placed in Group 2 of the Super 12 stage of the tournament along with New Zealand, Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia.

The top two in each of the two pools progress to the semi-finals.

Former Test cricketer and fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said in a video message on Twitter: "Our team has broken the myth of the Indian cricket team.

"We are a civilised nation and we will not say anything bad. Well done India.. you have done wonderfully well but not enough to beat the mightiest Babar and Rizwan."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies