On June 18, The Oval, an international cricket ground in South London, sold out its capacity of 24,500 to allow history to be made. It was a battle, it was a reunion, and it was redemption! There were chants, there were tears, and there was jashn! An entire nation of 188 million screamed together, they rejoiced, they cried and they heaved euphoric sighs of relief, together! It was pure. It was love!

Ranked at No 8 in the world, the worst team of the lot, Pakistan entered the ICC Champions Trophy tournament and beat India - the defending champions and the team ranked number 1 in the world.

This is not a dig at India in any way. I respect the team for their talent, hard work and standing. This is just an immensely proud denizen trying to pen her gratitude and her joy that she experienced in the final match for the ICC Champions Trophy.

Pakistan were the underdog; they had all the disadvantages a team could possibly have while entering an international tournament. No one expected Pakistan to reach the finals, not even me along with most of the nation. We lost our first match to India and I did not even watch the second match with Sri Lanka. Every critic had written Pakistan off because you see what everyone factors in their critique and judgment and rankings is stats and figures - a thousand different kind of averages, but what they forgot or where their metric systems failed them was when they left out sheer determination and will!

We are a nation in love with cricket. One of my first memories of cricket dates back to the World Cup of 1999. I was less than a year old when Pakistan won the world cup and God, do I wish I had the capacity to remember that. Maybe I saw it, I want to believe I saw it. I want to believe I saw my family scream and jump around me as Pakistan lifted that trophy. I wish I had it in me to realize then what it was that I was witnessing.

Anyway, let’s get back to 1999. I remember it used to be quite hot in the lounge so my father shifted the TV in the bedroom where there was an air conditioner. For me and my sister it was something entertaining. We used to put mangoes in a big pot with icy water to cool them and eat in front of the TV with our parents while our father's eyes would be stuck on the TV constantly. I did not understand how it worked; I just knew Pakistan was winning. We reached the finals after playing a tremendous innings in the semifinals beating New Zealand with nine wickets in hand at the Old Trafford. We met the mighty Australian team in the finals at the Lord's stadium and lost! Australia went on to win three world cups in a row and Pakistan have still not made it to the finals of a World Cup again.

I remember everyone's disappointment. I remember everyone's surprise as Australia crushed us with eight wickets in hand and 179 balls remaining. It was a great time in cricket for Pakistan. I grew up watching and revering Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar, Abdul Razzaq, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, Moin Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan and Inzama-ul-Haq. These are the people, I still associate cricket with.

Many new cricketers came and went, but no new cricketers in the team were able to match up to what these people constituted. Many great individuals came and went by but there weren’t ever a team quite like all of the aforementioned greats together.

On Sunday, however, newbies like FakharZaman, Shadaab, Hassan, Babar, Azhar and Imdad reminded me of what it feels like to watch a team play! Shadaab is only 18 and I was so proud of his confidence at that lbw to Yuvraj Singh. He faced off with a player like Yuvraj Singh and the confidence with which he asked for a review was unabashedly passionate and it was such joy to witness the umpire reverse his decision. Hassan Ali is a young boy from my hometown and he was awarded the Man of the Tournament title in his first ever international tournament. FakharZaman, played in his first ICC tournament and did what nobody thought he could.

We cannot forget Azhar, Babar and Imdad in the pertinent role they played as well. Boys, take a bow. I am not ignoring Hafeez here but he did what was expected of him and lord, did he do it well but I am just in awe of the new talent. I also want to especially mention the role of Mohammad Amir which I feel is being overtly overlooked. He took three of the most important, if not THE most important wickets, and yet ICC snubbed him when they announced the dream team which I believe was extremely unfair.

Every time Dil Dil Pakistan echoed loud at The Oval, I got a little emotional. After a long time, green flags flew high and proud! I saw the featured snap story on Snap Chat and thought of how I could give anything to be at The Oval in that moment.

I know basic cricket, I might not know all the fielding terminologies but I know what determination looks like and that is what I witnessed. I feel blessed to have witnessed the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final. I will carry this memory with me forever and for that I want to thank the Pakistani team with all of my heart. I cannot express my gratitude in words; it is raw emotion that brings tears to my eyes even as I write this piece.

However, what this pure joy was polluted by likes of trolls, ugly insults, memes and insults over the media and social media from the Pakistani population. I could write an entire piece on this issue. I wanted to but I decided to write about something positive instead, something that could unite the entire nation in happiness after a very long time.

I will, however, urge anyone who reads this post to please be the bigger person here. We are the champions! We need to act like champions. Let's be gracious, let's be humble, and let’s not stoop as low as the instigators. It hurt, yes. It hurt every time Pakistan were insulted, it hurt every time Pakistan were doubted or mocked on international media. We need to be better. I am choosing to not name names here, I can but I won't. We won! Let's act like victors. I choose to be the bigger person and admire Virat Kohli for his speech at the ceremony as I request anyone and everyone who reads this to be the bigger person. Let's take this in our stride and rise. As the commentator (sorry, I forgot which one) said Pakistan is the Phoenix that rose from the ashes and boy, did we rise!