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Bangladesh fans have been given the best gift ever

The story of a Bangladesh cricket fan is always a tragic one. There is seldom a chance to smile big while the Tigers are in action. Nightmares have to be digested, stadiums have to be left behind with heavy hearts. There are two types of fans – ones who are left with tears in their eyes, and the others who leave cursing their team.

Bangladesh players celebrate their win against England, Group Match, Adelaide, ICC World Cup 2015 

In the third ball of 49th over, James Anderson’s stumps were disturbed by a full almost yorker-length ball from Rubel Hossain, triggering a wild celebration near my house which is at Lalkuthi, Mipur. People came out of their houses to express their joy and the noise they created filled my ear –  the noise didn’t puzzle me, it only made me realize yet again what a piece of willow and leather ball can mean to sixteen crore passionate hearts.

In the subcontinent, cricket is not just a sport taught by the British to natives when they landed here. It’s not just a sport which is played on lazy Sundays on village greens where cucumber sandwiches are washed down with tea or ale.

In the subcontinent, cricket is a vibrant culture, an identity, a way of life; and in Bangladesh, cricket is oxygen.

Tragic story of Bangladesh cricket fans

The story of a Bangladesh cricket fan is always a tragic one. There is seldom a chance to smile big while the Tigers are in action. Nightmares have to be digested, stadiums have to be left behind with heavy hearts. There are two types of fans – ones who are left with tears in their eyes, and the others who leave cursing their team.

The love, however, never dries up in either kind, that is a rule.

Against the big teams, Bangladesh’s performances have never been consistent, for which England were dubbed by analysts as the favourites in the lead-up to the all important World Cup clash. But the passionate cricket fans of Bangladesh always believed that the English emperor can be conquered. At Adelaide, the enormous self-belief of Bangladesh cricket fans was proved right.

Heroes in Bangladesh cricket folklore

But passion alone can’t win a match. It has to be won by the more deserving team and at Adelaide, surely, Bangladesh were just that. They outclassed England in all departments: the middle-order batsmen exhibited ideal temperament and fought well despite having lost two early wickets, the fielders gave their hundred percent and the English batsmen surrendered against Bangladeshi pace bowling – not left-arm spin bowling.

If Mahmudullah’s hundred has entered Bangladesh cricket’s folklore, Mashrafe Mortaza’s nagging-and-incisive length, Taskin Ahmed’s youthful guile and of course, Rubel Hossain’s lively pace have to be given a place in history as well.   

For the last twelve months or so, the story of Bangladesh cricket has been shoddy. Adversity has always motivated Bangladesh and at Adelaide, a motivated Bangladesh team gave its fans the best gift ever. It was an unforgettable moment for each and every Bangladeshi.

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