Pak media praises Afridi & Co depite loss to India in WC

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Pakistan media-Shahid Afridi
Islamabad, Apr 1: The Pakistani media today lavished praise on the national cricket team despite its loss to India in Wednesday's World Cup 2011 semi-final at Mohali, saying that the Shahid Afridi-led side could hold their heads high with their performance in the tournament.

India defeated arch-rival Pakistan by 29 runs [scorecard] in the World Cup semi-final at the PCA Stadium in Mohali that was also witnessed by the Prime Ministers of both the countries and a host of other high-profile dignitaries.

The match attracted added attention because Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani met on the game''s sidelines to give the bilateral peace process a boost.

"The Pakistan team will not be carrying a trophy as it arrives back home from its World Cup outing in India but the players should carry their heads high. Regardless of the semi-final loss to hosts India at Mohali, Pakistan has performed remarkably well for a team which has suffered so much hardship in recent times," The Express Tribune newspaper said in its editorial.

"The Pakistan team has done its country proud and deserves to be treated as champions who have excelled both in their demonstration of spirit and of skill, and as ambassadors of peace. They deserve a round of standing applause," the daily said.

"Afridi spoke with maturity and good grace as he praised the Indian effort and apologised to his nation," The Express Tribune said in its editorial ''Stand up for the champions''.

The News, in its editorial, said Pakistan''s "brave cricketing performance at the World Cup should make us all proud".

The Frontier Post''s editorial lauded the Pakistan team for overcoming its reputation as underdogs going into the tournament following the banning of three top players -- Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer -- for spot-fixing charges.

The newspaper also praised the team for defeating reigning champions Australia in the group stages.

The Daily Times, in its editorial, said Afridi, "who rules the hearts of Pakistanis, was able to win millions of hearts across the border".

It added: "The good thing is that this match and the ongoing dialogue process have restarted the process of normalisation of relations between the two neighbours." MORE PTI RHL SSC

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