Tigers put celebration on holdStaff Correspondent
When Bangladesh cricket team returned to their hotel on Tuesday night with a sweet memory of five-wicket win over Sri Lanka that confirmed their historic final in the Asia Cup, there was hardly any time for them to celebrate.
Opener Tamim Iqbal had a surprise birthday cake presented to him on the eve of post-match briefing to celebrate his 23rd birthday and apart from that everything was limited to rendering the traditional song ‘aamra korbo joy’ in the dressing room.
The bleary-eyed cricketers reached the hotel at around 2:00am as they had to move slowly amid thousands cheering fans on the streets and after that they went straight to their bed without wasting a minute.
They woke up with their cell phone outpoured by congratulatory text messages, but they had little time to read most of them. The practice was scheduled at 1:00pm, so they had to be quick to get ready again.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina sent flowers and sweetmeat and they only shared it before the start of training. Any other celebration the cricketers had in their mind, they had put it on hold for the final, arguably the biggest match in their life.
‘The celebration was good as we had a back-to-back win. It was a moment for us to celebrate and we have done that,’ skipper Mushfiqur Rahim later told in a press conference.
‘But everyone knows that there is a big final ahead of us and it’s a big match. Everyone is prepared for that and I hope after winning that we would have a grand celebration,’ he said.
Most of the Bangladeshi cricketers have never went through this kind of situation when every alternate day there is a match against different opposition and every match has some kind of a significance.
The last time it happened was in the ICC trophy in 1997 which Bangladesh won, something which was a big turning point for Bangladesh cricket. The ongoing Asia Cup, where all three other participants are former world champions, is being viewed in a similar way.
Bangladesh had earlier completed clean sweep wins in one-day series over West Indies and New Zealand and reached Super Eights of World Cup 2007, but they had never been as consistent as they have been recently.
The win against West Indies came against an under-strength side; the 4-0 win over New Zealand was a one-man (Sakib al Hasan) show on a favorable home condition and in the World Cup 2007 Bangladesh’s success against India and South Africa was marred by a defeat against Ireland.
For the first time in many days the Tigers have played three consistent matches against three formidable opponents, who are not a callow against spin, Bangladesh’s main strength.
But skipper Mushfiqur Rahim feels their job is yet to be done as they have one more hurdle to cross. Bangladesh can earn true respect from the cricketing world should they win a tournament of this stature, where the World Cup champions of 1992 (Pakistan), 1996 (Sri Lanka), 1983 and 2003 (India) are involved.
‘At the start of the tournament we said that we are not such a team that we will beat India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka consistently. We had a target that we would improve consistently match by match and in every match we would up a fight,’ Mushfiq said in the press conference.
‘If you see closely you will notice that we lost a close match against Pakistan, we played better than that and won the next game and in the last match we played even better.
‘So there is an improvement and that was our goal. When you play like this against a big team then you will see that we can win one two or three matches on regular basis,’ he said.
‘I feel that we deserve to be in the finals. There is only one match left and I hope that we will finish that on a high note,’ said Mushfiq.
‘The boys are eager for the final match and as you said we have nothing to lose and everything to gain and the boys are ready for it. We all want to give hundred per cent and win the final match as well,’ added Mushfiq.
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