Bangladesh jubilant, but not done yet
As soon as Nasir Hossain pushed the ball past mid-on to complete one of the greatest achievements in Bangladesh cricket, the Shere Bangla turned into a frenzy of celebration. The players rushed out to grab stumps as souvenirs, they took off on a joyous lap of honour with Nasir egging the already partying fans to shout some more, the bowling coach Shane Jurgensen was using his iPad to capture the crazy scenes, the watching Prime Minister came down to congratulate the team, and even when the post-match presentation began, the players were jumping up and down in a delirious huddle.
When a beaming Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal walked in for the press conference, they were greeted by boisterous applause from the journalists, and one of the items on the agenda was when to present the birthday boy Tamim his cake. All the rejoicing and backslapping made it seem as though this Bangladesh team had already considered its work done for the Asia Cup, but Tamim corrected that impression with his first answer.
"It's a great achievement for the country, so far the biggest," Tamim said, before adding, "We realise it's still not over, we have another very important game. We'll enjoy tonight, we'll party, but tomorrow we'll be back to business. I hope we will fire on the 22nd."
Tamim, through grinning through most of the press conference, was more composed than Shakib. Normally a man of few words, Shakib couldn't stop talking after the win. "I can't understand what my feelings are," he said. "Of course when I talk to the team-mates I will realise what this is. I am very excited, very happy because we don't usually achieve such things."
Shakib, too, wasn't basking in satisfaction, and was already setting his sights on more glory. "If we win in the final, it will be the best moment of my career," he said. "We know that nothing is impossible and the way we are playing we will do well in the final."
Bangladesh have always been capable of one-off upsets, catching the bigger teams on an off day, but rarely have they been able to string together a series of strong performances. Shakib underlined the importance of their efforts over the past week. "We never played well in the Asia Cup so it is really big," he said. "We beat the current world champions and runners-up, which is a huge achievement for us. It gives us a lot of confidence, teaches us a lot of things. This change will take us a long way."
Shakib highlighted the difference between the current team and the ones in the past, when Bangladesh were involved in lots of so-near-yet-so-far losses. "I think when we talk in the dressing room its like, 100 runs in 20 overs is no problem. This is the sort of confidence that we have now," he said. "Cricket is a mental game so this confidence is very important. If a player goes down the wicket and thinks he'll get stumped, he will. If he thinks he will hit a six, he'll be successful at most times."
As the press conference wound down, the cake was brought out, Shakib handed over his party hat to Tamim and led the cheers for the birthday boy amid much laughter. Amid all the elation, both players had made it clear Bangladesh weren't done yet.
The fans, though, were in no mood to think of tomorrow. Even hours after the game, they were gathered outside the stadium, dancing in the streets, banging their drums, blowing their horns at every passing car, and shouting their victory. There was such pandemonium that a TV journalist decided to get on the roof of a nearby bus, so that he and his cameraman would have an undisturbed spot to telecast from. Friday's win had set off what must surely have been the biggest celebrations for a victory in an Asia Cup match; today's party promises to top that. Imagine Thursday.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo