- The England side is remarkably different from 30 years ago
Even if one were to discount coincidences, very few can deny that there are stark reminders to the 1992 World Cup, a tournament that Pakistan not only won, but which was to become Imran Khan's swansong and usher in a new era of cricket.
But Pakistan cricket doesn't follow a script. As hard as one tries to draw parallels with what happened 30 years ago in an attempt to draw a pattern and relax, no one can predict what sort of Pakistan are turning up on the day.
A few weeks ago, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a superb performance by India's Virat Kohli took India past the finish line and Pakistan lost by a razor-thin margin. The defeat hurt, but didn't disappoint. Pakistan put up a fight, and there were four games to go.
A few days later, however, all seemed lost. Zimbabwe were to create an upset. Pakistan's management must have been looking at return flights.
These are not performances or results you can predict. They don't follow a script.
But – just like in 1992 – Pakistan have made it to the final. Against all odds, and criticism thrown their way.
The team may still not have peaked, but a victory is now in sight.
A semi-final victory against New Zealand, just like in 1992 as well as 1999, has also made Pakistan a strong contender.
But there is one difference. The England of 1992 is very different to the one playing at the moment. Perhaps, if I dare say, closer to the form Australia reached in 1999.
In probably the most one-sided match of the ICC T20 World Cup 2022, England thrashed India, making them look like a second-string unit in a walkover that sent shivers even down the spine of Pakistan's fans. A target of 169 was completed with 10 wickets, and 24 balls to spare.
The momentum is definitely with England at the moment.
At the same time, Pakistan openers – Mohammad Rizwan and captain Babar Azam – have only begun to come to form. Such is their consistency and talent that a few string of run-scores are completely against expectation. This is how high the bar is with them, and says so much about Pakistan's reliable opening pair.
Another similarity being drawn is the advent of Mohammad Haris deep in the tournament. Comparisons are being drawn with the start of a legend's career – Inzamam-ul-Haq.
Shaheen Shah Afridi is Wasim Akram-equivalent in this World Cup.
One thing's for sure — the players look calm, relaxed. They don't look on edge or too nervous.
This works both ways. A calm Pakistan can take on an in-form England. But make them too relaxed, and Pakistan can misfire. England will not let up, and they too, will have the 1992 revenge in mind.
Perhaps, it is time the similarities are forgotten, and new memories are created. We have lived for too long in the past.
The article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Business Recorder or its owners