Saturday, June 22, 2024

Tigers win million hearts

The entire Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium that held more than its capacity of 25,000 crowds, along with millions glued to the TV sets and with radios beside their ears held their breath the moment Aizaz Cheema’s last delivery fetched just a leg-bye, leaving the hosts only two short of a historical victory over Pakistan in the final of the Asia Cup on Thursday.
The silence was soon followed by a huge applause from the stands and then a standing ovation by the thousands present in the ground and the reason was simple – to pay respect to the Bangladesh team for what they achieved.
Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim burst in tears while embracing Sakib al Hasan, who also had tears in his eyes.
Anamul Haque, who did not play any matches, stood beside them and wept along with the others. Mashrafee bin Murtaza was seen sitting beside the stumps, staring at the green outfield with disbelief of what had just happened.
Bangladesh team worked hard and proved what they are capable of and the loss in the final, though heartbreaking, will just bring the team members closer.
Mushfiq had said before the start of the competition that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Bangladesh coach Stuart Law said after the final, ‘They have achieved what they wanted to achieve, so why the tears? Why so sad and depressed about the loss?’
It was all because the urge to win was evident among the players. After a long time the Tigers looked hungry for success and that too as a unit.
Many believed that the Bangladesh Premier League helped them immensely. If BPL had an impact on a cricketer it was surely Mashrafee as it helped the veteran to come back to competitive cricket after the long injury lay-off.
It was seen previously that only an individual performance would see the national side win and most of the time the performer was Sakib.
It is not that Sakib is the key to success in the tournament, but the consistency in the team came as the others around him raised their level.
Unlike other times, Tamim Iqbal maintained his scoring spree and proved all his critics wrong while Mushfiq, Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah were able to provide good support in finishing the games with the bat.
Abdur Razzak, who was in a bad patch in the previous couple of series, returned to form with the ball as Mashrafee had been the confidence booster with the new ball.
What wouldn’t Shahadat give to take back the last over of the final bowled by him that went for 19 runs? What wouldn’t Nazimuddin and Nasir give to take back their innings, 16 off 52 balls and 28 off 63 respectively, in the chase?
In a game that came down to four runs needed off the last ball, several passages of play could be thought to have been decisive. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that this was a new face of the Tigers that the world saw during the course of the tournament.
The self-belief, the fighting spirit of the players to break the shackles and come out of a difficult period during a match or the urgency of winning against big opponents was never so palpable.
Bangladesh are the number two cricketing nation in Asia now and they have sent a message to all the top teams as well.
Instead of lying in sadness and disappointments the Tigers should hold their heads high as the whole country witnessed their efforts on the field.
Bangladesh had the tag of underdogs and had been called a dark-horse on several occasions, but no more as they have now put themselves on the radar which is probably the beginning of a new era of Bangladesh cricket.

-With New Age input

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