Hundreds of fans stayed up late to welcome home members of new Champions Trophy winner Pakistan in Lahore at 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Messages such as “Champion of champions. Team Pakistan! Welcome back after such a tremendous victory” were emblazoned on banners erected at Allama Iqbal International Airport, along with a picture of the team carrying the trophy.
Television footage showed supporters chanting “Pakistan Zindabad,” which means long live Pakistan, when four of the players entered the public area.
Player-of-the-tournament Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Babar Azam, and Ahmed Shehzad were presented with bouquets by Punjab provincial ministers.
Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif was due to receive the cricketers, but Geo Television reported that he couldn’t travel to the airport at the last minute because of security reasons.
Pakistan stunned the cricketing world on Sunday when it crushed archrival and hot favorite India by 180 runs in the final.
Ali took three wickets in the final and finished as the tournament’s leading bowler with 13 wickets in five matches.
Fans surrounded Ali’s car and showered it with rose petals, while the fast bowler smiled and waved from inside the vehicle.
In the southern port city of Karachi, fans decorated the entire street and house of captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who was due to arrive later Tuesday with the trophy that Pakistan won for the first time.