‘Shocking’ aftermath of Pakistan’s T20 World Cup demolition

Pakistan made history in the T20 World Cup on Sunday, but the shock triumph over India has heightened tensions between the nations.

Indian pace bowler Mohammed Shami was subjected to “shocking” and “disgusting” online abuse following Sunday evening’s shock loss to Pakistan in the Men’s T20 World Cup.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam and wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan combined for an unbeaten 152-run partnership to chase India’s target with 10 wickets to spare at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

It was Pakistan’s first victory over India at an ICC event.

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Shami, the only Muslim player in India’s side, finished with bowling figures of 0/43 from 3.5 overs, conceding seven boundaries in an expensive spell.

Moments after the historic defeat, several Indian cricket fans took to social media to pass derogatory comments about Shami.

Hundreds of messages were left on Shami’s Instagram account saying he was a “traitor” and should be thrown out of the Indian team.

Former Indian better VVX Laxman posted on Twitter: “Mohammed Shami has been a stellar performer for India for eight years, playing a significant role in many a victory. He can’t be defined by one performance. My best wishes are always with him. I urge fans & followers of the game to support Shami and the Indian team.”

Indian legend Virender Sehwag tweeted: “The online attack on Mohammad Shami is shocking and we stand by him. He is a champion and Anyone who wears the India cap has India in their hearts far more than any online mob. With you Shami.”

Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan posted: “This crap needs to stop.”

Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister in the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir, wrote on Twitter: “Team India your BLM knee-taking counts for nothing if you can’t stand up for your teammate who is being horribly abused and trolled on social media.”

Shami has represented India in 13 T20 internationals, claiming 12 wickets at an economy rate of 9.91.

Cricket clashes between Hindu-majority India and Muslim Pakistan frequently heighten tensions between the neighbours, who have fought three wars since their independence in 1947.

People set off celebratory gunfire in the Pakistani cities of Islamabad and Karachi after the famous win, while hundreds ignited firecrackers in Muslim-majority Indian city Kashmir, where troops are fighting an insurgency.

A student at an engineering and technology institute in Punjab said dozens of men armed with hockey sticks and batons attacked them as they watched the closing stages of the game.

“They entered our room, switched off the lights and beat us. They destroyed our laptops,” the student told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity because of fears of more trouble.

“We are safe now and we have support from our college. But we didn’t expect this at all. We are Indians.”

The match also sparked violence in neighbouring Bangladesh. Two Pakistan supporters were beaten by India fans as they celebrated the win in one southern district, media reports said.

India will next face New Zealand on Monday, November 1 AEDT.

— with AFP

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