Fans celebrate Lahore win

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The whole of India is celebrating the team's victory over arch rivals Pakistan.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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New Delhi:

The whole of India is celebrating the team's victory over arch rivals Pakistan. The boys in blue played like men possessed, to beat the hosts by forty runs in the deciding fifth match at Lahore on Wednesday. And India's first ever series win in Pakistani soil has left fans ecstatic, as the revelry continued well into the wee hours today. All night long… Mumbai's Marine Drive came alive with cricket fans celebrating well past midnight, giving a tough time to the cops trying to manage the crowds. For many others watching the match in the Little Master's own restaurant, the Tendulkar's was the perfect recipe. "We'll celebrate through the night, roaming on the streets. We won't let people sleep," said a fan. The scenes were no different in Mohammed Kaif's hometown Allahabad, VVS Laxman's playground Hyderabad or places like Chennai, Bangalore and Pune. The thrill of India's victory could not have been bigger than this. And while fans in Kolkata were ecstatic at India's win, there was also a tinge of disappointment with the news of the Prince of Calcutta, Sourav Ganguly getting injured. Pathan factor Pre-match analysis had predicted that the team that bowled better would win. And Irfan Pathan's great spell led the way. And as India rose as one to celebrate after the match, nowhere was that displayed more than in the communally divided Gujarat. In a city deeply divided by hate barely two years back, Pathan has emerged as Baroda's hero. And his fans, cutting across community lines, came out to celebrate the team's victory. Bridging divide It was perhaps a reminder that true national heroes do not belong to any community, but to India itself. "He is an example that he is neither Muslim nor a Hindu. He played for the country," said a local. Pathan has not only helped bridge the communal divide in Gujarat, he has also been able to silence all those who often accused the minorities of being unpatriotic. So when Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi called up the Pathan family to congratulate, Mehboob Khan Pathan, Irfan's father, was beaming with pride. "I had prayed for him last night. And I think that we will also win the Test matches," said Mehboob. Clearly fans and well-wishers are now looking forward to an even more exciting Test series.

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