People don’t realise it, but cricket captains are modern knights leading their merry men dressed in colourful pyjamas to war wielding heavy bats like sharp swords.
|From angry crowds to delighted fans – Bangladesh cricket supporters renew their faith after Friday’s magical win [AFP]|
Coming off a remarkable victory over England at the Cricket World Cup on Friday, Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan is hoping his team can remain in the quarter-final calculations with a win over a winless Dutch side in Monday’s Group B match.
On a high after their fairytale victory against England, Bangladesh return to the same Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium for what is effectively their last realistic winning chance in the group stages.
After experiencing the turmoil of having his home stoned by angry fans following a meek defeat at the hands of the West Indies, Shakib is hoping that the stunning two-wicket win over England has given the passionate Bangladeshi fans some genuine hope that the tournament co-hosts will advance to the knockout stages.
“It means a hell of a lot to the whole country. We all know we’re very emotional about cricket,” Shakib said.
“I always have belief in my team, they worked really hard, day in, day out … it simply paid off. It proved that we can make a comeback from any situation.
“Hopefully we’ll kick on from here. No matter what happens we’ll fight to the end.”
Rowdy Bangladesh fans poured into the streets to celebrate when Mahmudullah hit the winning boundary off English paceman Tim Bresnan. The England and Bangladeshi teams were not able to leave the stadium until 2.30 am, four hours after the end of the game, because celebrating fans were blocking roads.
It took a gutsy 58-run, ninth-wicket partnership from Shafiul Islam and Mahmudullah to usher Bangladesh home in a roller-coaster finish against England. Now, a victory over the winless Netherlands on Monday is a must.
Bangladesh will have to guard against lethargy that often follows such an emotional match and, fortunately for them, in the Netherlands they have adversaries who are yet to taste a victory in the tournament.
The Dutch side began promisingly, giving a scare to England before narrowly going down, and they have lost all their four matches so far.
Bangladesh, in contrast, have done better.
They went down comprehensively against India and West Indies, but beat Ireland, as was expected.
They then did the unexpected on Friday, stunning England just when it seemed all over for them and throwing themselves into contention for a quarter-final berth.
Shakib said the team had learnt their lesson from the match and would not repeat the mistakes in the last two group matches.
“There were some silly mistakes, like the two run-outs that could have cost us the game. My wicket was crucial too. It wasn’t the time to play that shot,” he said.
With four of the seven teams advancing from each group to the quarterfinals, Bangladesh are in a tricky position in Group B. After the Netherlands, who on paper should deliver them a third win, Shakib’s squad will meet South Africa in the last group match.
And they don’t want to be relying on a win there to guarantee a place in the next stage.