Mohammad Hafeez urges fans for peace after clashes in Afghanistan-Pakistan game

Mohammad Hafeez urges fans for peace after clashes in Afghanistan-Pakistan game

Pakistan locked horns with Afghanistan in their first-ever match in a World Cup, supporters of both sides rammed into each other, leading to ugly brawls.

Mohammad Hafeez
Mohammad Hafeez. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Politically, they are not known to be friends. But the bitter rivalry got reflected on the cricket ground on Saturday as well. As former world champions Pakistan locked horns with Afghanistan in their first-ever match in a World Cup, supporters of both sides rammed into each other, leading to ugly brawls both during and after the game. Pakistan won the thriller by three wickets with two balls to spare to keep their chances of making semi-finals alive.

Afghanistan, despite having their opponents on the mat, made some errors towards the end to gift the game away and slump to their eighth consecutive loss in the tournament. The match witnessed clashes while it is on and even after it got ever, temperaments refused to cool down. Tensions ran high as supporters of both sides continued to bump into each other, forcing the authorities to evict the fans from the venue, marking it to be a first such instance in this World Cup.

Fans who were without tickets and cheering their respective teams from outside the stadium clashed and vandalised stadium property. The instigators were later booked by the Yorkshire Police and banned by the ICC for the remaining games. It was reported that the fight had started after an Afghanistan fan accidentally brushed past an elderly Pakistani supporter. Other Pakistani fans started beating up their Afghan counterparts in retaliation and it soon snowballed into a major law and order issue.

Winning, losing part of game

Veteran Pakistan batting all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, the oldest member of their World Cup squad, appealed for peace in the wake of the incident. In a tweet, the 38-year-old urged the fans to not indulge in “bad incidents, violations and disrespectful behaviours” and enjoy the game. He also said that winning and losing are part of the game.

Afghanistan scored 227 for 9 in their 50 overs and then made Pakistan toil for those runs. The Men in Green were under a lot of pressure towards the end but one loose over from Afghan captain Gulbadin Naib titled the game against his team. Imad Wasim scored 49 not out while Wahab Riaz made 15 not out off nine balls to ensure their team a much-needed victory. Hafeez scored 19 off 35 balls in the match.