Tuesday, April 16, 2024

All eyes on Mirpur

Bangladesh face Pakistan in Asia Cup cricket final today
Most of Bangladesh will be glued to TV screens, while a lucky few will find their way to Mirpur, today when Bangladesh take on Pakistan in the final of the Asia Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
It will be a watershed moment for cricket in Bangladesh which will be telecast live from the venue from 2pm by Neo Cricket and BTV. The Tigers have found themselves on the crest of a wave, following on from their spectacular twin victories over World Cup champions India and finalists Sri Lanka in respective games. The wins propelled the Tigers, ahead of their neighbours, into the final of a tournament that has long been considered the most prestigious for Bangladesh.
But while the Asia Cup might have lost some of that lustre, there is no doubt that Bangladesh, till now, have never performed as well in a tournament of this repute containing such top class opposition.
The closest the Tigers came to replicating such was in 2009 when they qualified for the finals of a three-team tournament at home which included both Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. Following on from that, they also blanked a hapless New Zealand 4-0 in 2010 but until Tuesday the watching world had not stood up to take notice.
The crucial difference has been the approach of the Tigers which has seen them move into winning positions against all three teams in the tournament. But while they failed in their first game against Pakistan to close out what should have been a regulation win, it seems that crucially (and finally) the Tigers have started learning from their mistakes.
The evidence was there for all to see when the Tigers first upset the Sachin Tendulkar applecart on the day of his hundredth hundred. And if there was any doubts about that being a flash in the pan, the Tigers dismissed that comprehensively by dispatching a spirited Sri Lanka despite a difficult Duckworth & Lewis equation.
The qualification for the final sparked joyous celebrations across the country as people thronged to the streets to celebrate a historic moment. But to borrow from Australian coach Stuart Law’s mantra, the Sri Lanka win will fade into the memory if Bangladesh fail to beat Pakistan in today’s final.
The saying goes that history is written by the winners. The Tigers, Mushfiqur Rahim and 160 million Bangladesh will hope that they end the day in that position.

-With The Daily Star input

 

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