Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Mirpur March 21, 2012

Bangladesh proves they are growing up

Bangladesh have chased down India and Sri Lanka in the space of a few days, proving that they are an evolving team
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There is a lot of love in Bangladesh right now. From the Shere Bangla National Stadium, the scene of Tuesday's historic victory over Sri Lanka, to the smaller towns spread across the country, people are smiling, shaking hands, hugging complete strangers and jumping in joy. The whole country has come together to share happiness. It doesn't happen all the time, as many of us know; this unity comes and goes. When it comes to cricket, however, Bangladesh sits together in front of a television set and watches its favourite sons.

As Bangladesh crept towards the revised target of 212 runs on Tuesday, neighbourhood boys were found huddling over their televisions; girls at home made sure no one changed the channel as they watched the "boys" play. From every Dhaka by-lane one could sense the final preparations of a rally, also known as micchil, as Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah Riyad closed in on Sri Lanka's total. It has happened a few times in the past: after they beat New Zealand 4-0, during the 2011 World Cup; it will happen again when they beat a top side on a big day, maybe on Thursday.

The celebrations haven't changed, the expression of pure ecstasy felt by the people of the country remains as it was in those heady days of April 1997 when Akram Khan and Gordon Greenidge led Bangladesh into the big, bad world of international cricket. They were given a rousing reception in Manik Mia Avenue, the widest boulevard in Dhaka, with almost half-a-million people showering flower-petals on what was also the first day of the Bengali year.

The fans haven't changed since then. Everyone loves the Bangladesh cricket team, despite the constant heartache it provides in Test cricket and the occasional flutter in the limited-overs game. Almost the entire country is still in thrall with the country's cricketing fortunes.

But the cricketers of Bangladesh have been an evolving breed, rapidly so in the case of the past week. They came close against Pakistan, then chased down India and Sri Lanka. In the space of five days, Bangladesh have finally put together a string of performances where the entire team has had its say, not just one player.

Over the last three years, Bangladesh have improved from having one match-winner to two regular big-match players, but this Asia Cup has thrown up something entirely different. As it was evident in the game against Sri Lanka, there is life after Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal.

Shakib and Tamim still set the tone though, with their performances and attitude. During a passage of play when Shakib hit three consecutive boundaries off Suranga Lakmal, he showed how much he has learned. After hammering the fourth ball of the over through the covers, Shakib saw Lakmal putting a sweeper-cover in place. So the next delivery he closed the face of the bat to take the ball away from the deep fielder while still playing it wide of the fielder inside the circle. Lakmal was out of ideas and when he bowled it short and wide, Shakib's whiplash cut had the ball speeding to the third-man boundary.

After Shakib's departure, Nasir and Riyad batted like they were not leaving Mirpur without a win. As Shakib said later, Riyad was due for runs and this small but vital contribution will make him more comfortable in the dressing-room. Nasir on the other hand has bettered himself in every game of this tournament and is now a reliable cog.

As the hours tick by towards the biggest day in Bangladesh cricket, the scale of this moment is evident by comparing it to how Bangladesh have done in Asia Cups over the past 26 years. Their best contribution before this year's tournament was the Bangladesh Cricket Board's ability to fit in the 2000 Asia Cup during the early monsoon season.

Bangladesh are going to play Pakistan in the Asia Cup final on Thursday. The statement itself gives one goosebumps.

Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Fast_Track_Bully on March 22, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    Do not be over hyped. Some BD supporters got a time to bash on India (than celebrating their win!) once in the 5 year time and 3rd in their life time! They forgot the other 25 instances! LOL @ them.

  • Major_Hammad on March 21, 2012, 19:38 GMT

    Congratulation to Bangladesh on reaching in Final by kicking out India and Srilanka (WC and Last Asia Cup Finalist Teams) from Asia Cup 2012, a huge huge improvement in Bangladesh team. I'm from Pakistan but very much fan of Shakib Al Hassan & Bangladesh team. Best of Luck to Bangladesh team in future also.

  • Dhumper on March 21, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    All the best to my Bangladeshi friends. I'd offcourse like Pakistan to win but losing to a team which has thrown out world cup finalists even before the final wouldn't be so much disappointing :) Great job Bangla. No more minnows in ODIs.

  • braindead_rocker on March 21, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    For an Indian fan, this si good news...India thrashed Pakistan is that run chase. That should satisfy us...Let a new team win the Asia cup...So good luck to Bangladesh on behalf on all Indians...I am sure most of India will be rooting for a Bangladesh victory. But Pakistan cannot be written off...They are very dangerous...

  • on March 21, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    Congrats Bangladesh. Not only did you win the key games, what is most important is that you played as a team with the heart and passion that reminds me of how Sri Lanka used to play in the early days in the 90's with similar passion and heart. As a Pakistani fan, this is one of those rare moments when I won't be sad if Pak lost in this final, because above all I love cricket. Good luck to all my Bengali brothers and may the best team win. I'm very happy for you guys and the way Bangladesh performed , it is great for the game of cricket.

  • on March 21, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    go ahead bangladesh. win the Asia Cup

  • Tokai69 on March 21, 2012, 14:52 GMT

    Tigers, enjoy the game of cricket and convert the wining spree to a habit from now on. Play the game the way you played so far in the tournament. Play your best in the final, and fans are ready to savour the outcome!

  • Vijay_P_S on March 21, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    Good for cricket. But the question is can they do it consistently?

  • Hanz018 on March 21, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    it's nice to see no comments in here, i believe everyone is surprised and speechless by the performance. many congratulations to Bangladeshi cricketers, it's our belief soon Bangladesh will dominate Asian cricket. Just a matter of time, inshallah.......Thanks

  • on March 21, 2012, 14:06 GMT

    Amazing performence tigers.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on March 22, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    Do not be over hyped. Some BD supporters got a time to bash on India (than celebrating their win!) once in the 5 year time and 3rd in their life time! They forgot the other 25 instances! LOL @ them.

  • Major_Hammad on March 21, 2012, 19:38 GMT

    Congratulation to Bangladesh on reaching in Final by kicking out India and Srilanka (WC and Last Asia Cup Finalist Teams) from Asia Cup 2012, a huge huge improvement in Bangladesh team. I'm from Pakistan but very much fan of Shakib Al Hassan & Bangladesh team. Best of Luck to Bangladesh team in future also.

  • Dhumper on March 21, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    All the best to my Bangladeshi friends. I'd offcourse like Pakistan to win but losing to a team which has thrown out world cup finalists even before the final wouldn't be so much disappointing :) Great job Bangla. No more minnows in ODIs.

  • braindead_rocker on March 21, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    For an Indian fan, this si good news...India thrashed Pakistan is that run chase. That should satisfy us...Let a new team win the Asia cup...So good luck to Bangladesh on behalf on all Indians...I am sure most of India will be rooting for a Bangladesh victory. But Pakistan cannot be written off...They are very dangerous...

  • on March 21, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    Congrats Bangladesh. Not only did you win the key games, what is most important is that you played as a team with the heart and passion that reminds me of how Sri Lanka used to play in the early days in the 90's with similar passion and heart. As a Pakistani fan, this is one of those rare moments when I won't be sad if Pak lost in this final, because above all I love cricket. Good luck to all my Bengali brothers and may the best team win. I'm very happy for you guys and the way Bangladesh performed , it is great for the game of cricket.

  • on March 21, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    go ahead bangladesh. win the Asia Cup

  • Tokai69 on March 21, 2012, 14:52 GMT

    Tigers, enjoy the game of cricket and convert the wining spree to a habit from now on. Play the game the way you played so far in the tournament. Play your best in the final, and fans are ready to savour the outcome!

  • Vijay_P_S on March 21, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    Good for cricket. But the question is can they do it consistently?

  • Hanz018 on March 21, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    it's nice to see no comments in here, i believe everyone is surprised and speechless by the performance. many congratulations to Bangladeshi cricketers, it's our belief soon Bangladesh will dominate Asian cricket. Just a matter of time, inshallah.......Thanks

  • on March 21, 2012, 14:06 GMT

    Amazing performence tigers.

  • Baundele on March 21, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    Actually it's the Bangladesh 'team' that has evolved, not (much) the players. Jamie Siddons persisted with a set of 15 players, although guys like Ashraful, Aftab, Rokibul, Junaed, Naeem, Imrul, Shuvo doing the same mistakes over and over again. It seems, Law has a more practical approach and he looked for a 'team' with capable players that can contribute to the team's cause than individual - often meaningless - achievements. In the current team, we still have the flavor or irresponsible personal milestone seekers in Nazimuddin, Shadat and in some extent Omi, Mash and Raz. I am so impressed by the Nasir-Riyadh partnership! They played it according to the situation and 100% for the team.

  • on March 21, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    it seems that banga tigers have learned how to win big matches while chasing ......!!

  • BDabuNayeemAisDU on March 21, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    We have some WORLD CLASS cricketer and they are building our team as an WORLD CLASS team. We are proud of SAKIB AL HASAN who is now NO.1 TEST ALL-ROUNDER and NO. 2 ODI ALL-ROUNDER. He is the match winner for us. We have TAMIM who is consistent. MASRAFEE is ECONOMICAL to any team in the WORLD. We have a CLEAVER captain MUSFIQUE. We have some batsman like NASIR, RIAD. So any team u be, plz don't take us lightly. WE ARE ON OUR WAY from this ASIA CUP 2012....

  • dsig3 on March 21, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    As a neutral observer I think its great for BD...... However, I also feel like we have heard about BD finally turning a corner more than a few times only for them to crash down. Maybe you should keep a lid on it this time.

  • on March 21, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    go Bangladesh go!!!.......

  • on March 21, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    Great article by Mohammad Isam. I had chills when I was reading it. So proud of BD. But it aint over til the fat lady sings. Go LOUD go PROUD into the FINAL. Play with the right intention, intelligence and bravery >>>>>success will follow. Inshallah we will win.

  • on March 21, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    Bangladesh Cricket team is now more matured than ever. It goes into the final of Asia Cup 2012, and this is the best in the history of its cricket beating World Champions and World Cup Runners Up team in a row. Now Pakistan in line in the final stage.Who knows Bangladesh clinches the title of Asia Cup Champions.....

    Now every strong team will surely count Bangladesh before the match starts.....

  • nipun027 on March 21, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    Nice post...... Really the tigers are growing up.........

  • on March 21, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    Waiting for the finals.. Can't wait!

  • Avidcricketlover on March 21, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    Hearty congrats Bangladesh from an Indian !! The world cricket has been waiting for you guys a long time now. End it !! Cheers to the cup !

  • nipun027 on March 21, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    Nice post...... Really the tigers are growing up.........

  • on March 21, 2012, 6:21 GMT

    InshaAllah we'll win the Asia cup this time!!! It will be a tremendous achievement for a country like Bangladesh.

  • on March 21, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    Let's not forget the impact of the coach as well. Stuart Law surely seems to be imparting the never say die attitude of the Australians to Bangladesh team. Good luck to the team for the finals!

  • bhaloniaz on March 21, 2012, 5:26 GMT

    It does look like Bangladesh having a few batsmen to back up the toothless but tight bowling and good fielding. They must be doing meditation or something to calm the usually nervous, oe restless players down. Their bowling is still a tad weaker than the next weakest test bowling(india?) and batting getting close to WI or NZ. Batsmen are talented but nervous. Bangladesh have a long tail. Shahadat, Nazmul or Rubel cannot bat.

  • Nadeem1976 on March 21, 2012, 5:22 GMT

    If Pakistan play with full potential and intelligence then Bangladesh has to put the effort of their lives to win the final. We don't need to forget that Bangladesh showed the best team work in the tournament but Pakistan has best bowling in the tournament. Playing Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi at their best is not easy at all. Bangladesh is playing at home and with this advantage they need to focus on certain players to attack and give respect to certain players so that they can completely use their home advantage. I am feeling it's going to be very tough final this time around. Who ever wins will be deserving team.

  • on March 21, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    BD, needed these big wins(India,& Srilanka) to prove their aility to beat world top teams on a given day but they needs to perform on a regular basis.Consistancy is the bigest problem our Cricket

  • BanglaBandhu on March 21, 2012, 5:10 GMT

    Bangladesh are growing up and what a time to do it. PAK v BAN in the ASia CUP 2012 final ... who knew? Lets hope there is one more win in the bag, one more display of courage. I would dearly like to see a century by Tamim, Shakib or even Nasir hossain - now that would be something special. It would also confirm BAN emergence

  • Zeb1978 on March 21, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    Congrats to all the Bangladeshi brothers for putting up such a good show with the bat and ball. Wish them good luck for the final too. I am always happy whenever Bangladesh team performs as it is good for the game of cricket. I would like a strong Bangladesh team as it would add much spice in the cricketing world.

  • WickyRoy.paklover on March 21, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    Bangla's recent n present form z good but its still a long long way to go to come at par with their neghibouring giants(sl,pak,ind).They need a lot of learning 4rm these.Its been 14 yrs or so that they r in most competitive format bt they were extremly non.competitive in past,bt there r good signs 4rm them now in d form of shakib,nasir,tamim,mushfiq etc.They must keep one thing in mind tht they r plying at home so in order to b recognised by elite teams,they wil have to bring the best frm these good signs (i mentioned earlier) on regular basis.

  • abhi026 on March 21, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    Bangladesh have played outstanding cricket in this tournament they are not just beating these teans but beating them hard.Match agaist india they had won it in last over but it was clear couple of overs before ,they hava beaten SL very early.So now it is the time to rise.Bangladesh should not be satisfied with what they have achieved till now .They need to play even better so that they can put there performance in the eyes of opponent so that they take bangladesh seriosly.Some peolple may say they played well because they did'nt have pressure,it may be true to some extent but now there real test will begin.common bangla you could be 4th asian power in world cricket.

  • on March 21, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    This bangladeshi team deserves to be finalist.. They have played awesome cricket.. I wish they win the asia cup.. it will surely be a step towards becoming a giant..

  • Cric_Tic on March 21, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    though an Indian supporter..Iam so happy that Bangladesh is making impact on bigger events.. these performances will make them more confident and bring more consistancy..all the best.. wishing Bangladesh to Lift the Asia Cup..

  • on March 21, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    India seems to be the best team in the tournament and still out of the finals for that unfortunate loss against Bangladesh. Like to see how Bangladesh perform from hereon.

  • on March 21, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    proud to be a Bangladeshi...yahoo!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • on March 21, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    proud to be a Bangladeshi...yahoo!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • on March 21, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    India seems to be the best team in the tournament and still out of the finals for that unfortunate loss against Bangladesh. Like to see how Bangladesh perform from hereon.

  • Cric_Tic on March 21, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    though an Indian supporter..Iam so happy that Bangladesh is making impact on bigger events.. these performances will make them more confident and bring more consistancy..all the best.. wishing Bangladesh to Lift the Asia Cup..

  • on March 21, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    This bangladeshi team deserves to be finalist.. They have played awesome cricket.. I wish they win the asia cup.. it will surely be a step towards becoming a giant..

  • abhi026 on March 21, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    Bangladesh have played outstanding cricket in this tournament they are not just beating these teans but beating them hard.Match agaist india they had won it in last over but it was clear couple of overs before ,they hava beaten SL very early.So now it is the time to rise.Bangladesh should not be satisfied with what they have achieved till now .They need to play even better so that they can put there performance in the eyes of opponent so that they take bangladesh seriosly.Some peolple may say they played well because they did'nt have pressure,it may be true to some extent but now there real test will begin.common bangla you could be 4th asian power in world cricket.

  • WickyRoy.paklover on March 21, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    Bangla's recent n present form z good but its still a long long way to go to come at par with their neghibouring giants(sl,pak,ind).They need a lot of learning 4rm these.Its been 14 yrs or so that they r in most competitive format bt they were extremly non.competitive in past,bt there r good signs 4rm them now in d form of shakib,nasir,tamim,mushfiq etc.They must keep one thing in mind tht they r plying at home so in order to b recognised by elite teams,they wil have to bring the best frm these good signs (i mentioned earlier) on regular basis.

  • Zeb1978 on March 21, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    Congrats to all the Bangladeshi brothers for putting up such a good show with the bat and ball. Wish them good luck for the final too. I am always happy whenever Bangladesh team performs as it is good for the game of cricket. I would like a strong Bangladesh team as it would add much spice in the cricketing world.

  • BanglaBandhu on March 21, 2012, 5:10 GMT

    Bangladesh are growing up and what a time to do it. PAK v BAN in the ASia CUP 2012 final ... who knew? Lets hope there is one more win in the bag, one more display of courage. I would dearly like to see a century by Tamim, Shakib or even Nasir hossain - now that would be something special. It would also confirm BAN emergence

  • on March 21, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    BD, needed these big wins(India,& Srilanka) to prove their aility to beat world top teams on a given day but they needs to perform on a regular basis.Consistancy is the bigest problem our Cricket

  • Nadeem1976 on March 21, 2012, 5:22 GMT

    If Pakistan play with full potential and intelligence then Bangladesh has to put the effort of their lives to win the final. We don't need to forget that Bangladesh showed the best team work in the tournament but Pakistan has best bowling in the tournament. Playing Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi at their best is not easy at all. Bangladesh is playing at home and with this advantage they need to focus on certain players to attack and give respect to certain players so that they can completely use their home advantage. I am feeling it's going to be very tough final this time around. Who ever wins will be deserving team.