It was fitting that the players shared their joy with the faithful Bangladesh fans at Adelaide Oval
Bangladesh deserves its due for what it achieved at Adelaide Oval.
The sight of Bangladesh’s players flinging themselves into a joyous pile in the middle of Adelaide Oval is a scene that will live long in World Cup history.
The only moment for Bangladesh that could possibly trump it for emotion came just minutes later, when the players made the spontaneous decision to sprint across Adelaide Oval and throw themselves at the large group of supporters who had cheered their every move for the entire match.
It was a historic victory and while much focus will be given to England’s failure to progress, Bangladesh deserves its due for what it achieved at Adelaide Oval.
First, Mohammad Mahmudullah entered the record books as the first Bangladesh batsman to score a World Cup century.
Then, excellent bowling and sharp fielding – and an implosion from England’s batsmen after an optimistic start – defended a total that had been described by commentator Rameez Raja at the break as “30 to 40 runs short”.
How much qualifying for the World Cup finals for the first time meant to Bangladesh players, coaches and fans alike was obvious.
Its tournament debut was in 1999, when Bangladesh finished fifth out of six teams in its pool. In 2003, it finished bottom of its group, below Canada.
Before Monday’s match, its best finish in a World Cup was in 2007, when it qualified for the Super 8s. In the 2011 tournament, which followed the same format as the current one, Bangladesh won three matches and only missed out on advancing to the quarter-finals on net run rate behind West Indies.
It entered the tournament as the ninth-ranked team and while it reaped the benefits of the washed out match against Australia, picking up a point it might not otherwise have scored, the fact remains Bangladesh beat England when it counted.
Monday’s famous victory followed a hard-fought chase against Scotland last week, while Bangladesh’s first match of the tournament was a solid victory over Afghanistan.
Tellingly, its three highest scorers in World Cup matches are Mahmudullah (103), Tamim Iqbal (95) and Mushfiqur (89). The three knocks came in Bangladesh’s last two matches.
After the match, skipper Mashrafe Mortaza said the win would be “significant” for Bangladesh cricket.
“Back home people are expecting that we can go through, but we know how difficult it was in Australia because normally we never played in those kind of pitches, like Melbourne, Brisbane or Adelaide,” Mashrafe said.
“So it was very difficult. But the boys have been very confident. They have been working hard. I think it’s really helpful for us the way they are working hard.
“Obviously the boys are really happy and hope that is one of the best turns for us and the Bangladesh cricket will move from here.”
Mahmudullah described it as a “great win”.
Really happy for the boys, the way they fought in the middle, and thanks to the bowlers, how they bowled, especially Rubel,’ Mahmudullah said.
“Mash did a great job, as well, and Taskin chipped in, as well, so I’m really happy for them, as well.”
Alongside Bangladesh at each game has been its fans and on Monday they chanted, cheered and played instruments for close to 100 overs.
When Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes started scoring crucial boundaries in the final 10 overs to lift England closer to victory, the tone of the Bangladesh cheer squad changed, tension written across their faces.
Then came Buttler’s edge behind.Buttler slammed his bat into the pitch in frustration but the crowd leapt to its feet.
Next was the seemingly endless wait while the third umpire reviewed Chris Jordan’s run out. Replay after reply was shown from every angle, before a close up, and while the decision itself took at least another 20 seconds the Bangladesh fans had already given their own quiet verdict, standing and lifting their index fingers in the air.
The reaction from the stands was overwhelming and while there were less than 12,000 people in Adelaide Oval, it sounded as though there was at least three times as many when standing next to the Bangladesh cheer squad.
While their numbers may not match those of the India and Sri Lanka fans, the Bangladesh fans have been among the most enthusiastic and enjoyable to watch at each of their matches to date.
Even when the Brisbane fixture against Australia was severely delayed and eventually washed out, several thousand turned up to make some noise. It is no wonder the players felt the urge to sprint across Adelaide Oval to thank them.
“I always tell the press conference once we come into Australia, we never thought that much crowd will come and supporting us, but it was amazing to see that people from all over the world, even though they stay in Australia, also from back home they are coming to the ground and keep supporting us,” Mashrafe said after the match.
“It was amazing.”
Now, Bangladesh will get the opportunity to play on the Melbourne Cricket Ground for only the second time in the team’s history, where its likely opponent could well be India.
Bangladesh have shown it will fight to the very end on the pitch and expect its fans to also do their best to drown out India’s own enormous and vocal legion of fans.