The tigers have arrived in style
Boria Majumdar
12 Mar,2015

Boria Majumdar is an Indian sports journalist and author. He co-authored 'Playing It My Way', the autobiography of former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar along with Sachin.

Rubel Hossain had just flattened James Anderson's stumps and started on his Usain Bolt like sprint that got all of Dhaka on its feet. History had been scripted and all of a sudden Bangladesh had firmly etched itself on the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 roster. They are in Australia to compete, not simply to make up the numbers.

Aminul Islam Bulbul, perhaps the best Bangladeshi batsman of all time and one of the most respected cricketers to come out of the country, could not control his joy. "This is clearly the biggest ever victory in the history of Bangladesh cricket. It is bigger than our victory against India in the inaugural match of the 2007 World Cup. If you take into account the conditions, the context and the significance of this victory, it is right up there."

Indeed he is right. From 8-2 and tottering against the guile of James Anderson, not even the most ardent of Bangladesh fans would have hoped for a total in excess of 250. And yet Bangladesh, thanks to a Mahmudullah classic and a Mushfiqur Rahim special, got to 275. "In fact, the way these two were going even 300 was looking eminently achievable. We failed to make the most of the last five overs and lost 30 runs in the process", said Bulbul.

While it was a competitive total, it wasn't by any means a match winning one. "It was not a match winning score especially with teams scoring 300 in almost every game in this world cup. And that's why I will give a lot of credit for this victory to our bowlers and fielders. They are the ones who made this miracle possible", Bulbul mentioned while getting ready to go out and celebrate with friends.

In fact, when Tamim Iqbal dropped Chris Waokes off Taskin Ahmed in the 48th over and that too after Stuart Broad had clobbered a six a ball earlier, it all seemed to go downhill for Bangladesh. They were feeling the pressure and it seemed that the occasion was getting to them. Clearly, young Taskin was not the best man to go to in the circumstances.

Come Rubel Hossain. Just as Masrafe had thrown the ball to him, one could see a hint of a smile on his face. He was relaxed and in the game. Even if he wasn't he was at least pretending he was. Marking his run up, Rubel sprinted in to bowl a fantastic away going delivery to Stuart Broad. Just a hint of outswing was enough to rattle the middle and off stump and all of a sudden Bangladesh was back in business.

A very nervous James Anderson walked out to face a resurgent Bangladesh team egged on by a raucous Bangladeshi crowd. By the time he was marking his guard, Rubel was already back at the top of his mark. The first ball to Anderson took the edge and was stopped at slips, a fine move by Masrafe to get a close in fielder in place. And then came the moment that caused all of Dhaka to come to a standstill. James Anderson bowled Rubel and Bangladesh in the world cup quarter finals.

In all probability they will play an in-form India in Melbourne. "It will be a very good match I can tell you. Yes India is playing good cricket but Bangladesh had managed to knock India out in the 2007 World Cup and will take a lot of heart from that performance. I am sure every player will want to relive that moment before they take the field against India," suggests Bulbul.

I am not sure I agree. India will surely start runaway favourites and it will be the upset of the World Cup if Bangladesh manage to go past Dhoni and his team on 19 March. In fact, many Indians have already started booking tickets for Sydney to watch a possible semi-final showdown with Australia.

But does the 19 March result really matter? Will it make any difference if Bangladesh manage to give India a run for their money? Frankly, it doesn't. They have already won the World Cup. The party is already very much in full swing in Dhaka. The Tigers have arrived and that too in style.