This is Pakistani national cricket team is on a mission. In past months it would have seemed that the mission was merely self-destruction. But this team, the team in the 2011 ICC World Cup, has its eyes on a much higher prize. They stormed out of the gates of this tournament winning their first three matches. But a humbling loss to New Zealand followed. And that loss could have sent this frequently-fractured squad into a tailspin. Dropped balls could have led to dropped matches. But instead, it just strengthened their collective resolve. The team came together in a way that has not been seen in at least a couple of years. And it led to the unthinkable occurring: a defeat of the vaunted Australian team at the end of the group stages.
That would have been enough to celebrate right there, but it brings us back to their mission. They continued it this week with a dominating victory over the West Indies in the tournamentâ€™s first quarterfinal match. The West Indies batsmen were limited to a measly 112 runs by the Pakistani bowlers. Pakistani team captain Shahid Afridi has really risen to the occasion in this tournament, taking four wickets in the match, to bring his total in the 2011 World Cup to 21. And it seemed mere minutes before the Pakistani batsmen had topped the West Indies total, without a single wicket falling. Now they await the determination of their semifinal opponent, which will be either India or Australia. But does it really matter who they play next? This team will not stop until its mission has been accomplished. And it is clear that the goal of this Pakistani cricket team is to win the whole darn thing, to win the world cup.