The trance still hasn’t settled, as the match finished I scampered to create this thread and I knew I would not be coherent if I did write what I felt at that time. I had been awake for more than 24 hours not just due to the excitement of the match but I had appointments in the early hours of the match day and was looking for an excuse to doze off. Bangladesh at 15-3 with the out of Soumya Sarkar gave me the perfect opportunity to do just that. I was an active poster in the match thread at this point of time. I even remember telling Akelemp bro that “this isn’t over” and “NZ is going to come hard at us and the top order can fall like a deck of cards”. The reason or excuse I gave was that I didn’t think Bangladesh had the mettle to counter New Zealand’s aggression but more importantly I didn’t think Bangladesh could withstand the huge pressure of a must win run chase I would find out through the course of night. This prediction of mine was about to come true and devastate me and millions others, but this was not over still.
At this point of time I had settled back to my room and to my cozy bed, the time was getting late and I was forcing my brain to switch off and go to sleep. But the mind did not listen. I would open one of my eyes and check that we are 16-3, then 20-3 and then Mushfiqur got out too. I said to myself: then surely, this is over and there is absolutely no chance. I started wondering why I am still up, cursing myself I was still following cricinfo. I was trying to convince myself that there is no coming back from this. I don’t know what kept me up. Just a few days ago I made a prediction with my friend, I told him my 6th sense is telling (following Bangladesh cricket for as long as I have and quite religiously you would too if you were in my place) that we would beat the Kiwis and Pakistanis would defeat Saffers (he is a Pakistani). The first one came true, but maybe this prediction was in the back of my mind as well. At this point of time though, I was chuckling to myself thinking guess who is coming in after Mushfique: the out of form Shakib and there is no way with the form he is in with the bat he can even contribute to narrow the gap. I had given up on the win to be honest, I was looking for a late fight but knew Mosaddek was the only recognized batsman left and the tail as good as nothing.
Then we reached 50-4 around 16 overs. They kept hitting boundaries. Mahmudullah hit a six and I was thinking I missed that shot live and wish I could see it. In one of the coldest winter nights here, my hands were sweating, my body temperature rising and my throat started drying up. Even following the match on Cricinfo was nerve wrecking. I said to myself: ok if we reach 100 runs without another wicket fall, I will get up and go to the TV room and watch the match. Crazy! But I have developed a discipline when it comes to managing heartaches and losses over the years have given me enough coping mechanisms. I remember I could not last till 100. I started watching live again. Before that my sleep had completely vanished at this point of time and I was in the game once again. There was no looking back after that.
I remember thinking yesterday that this is exceptional batting. The way these two (Shakib and Mahmudullah) were moving and scoring runs and the positivity, coupled with the world of concentration and determination, there was no way they could lose this match without a truck running them over on the pitch. The sheer determination on both their faces and the fact that they knew they were doing a job and the job was not even done on half-centuries or even centuries was truly one of the best moments for me as a Bangladeshi fan.
Every moment of this partnership screamed to the world we have the skills and the tenacity to play cricket at the top level. We are going to hear a lot about this partnership from different sources but one thing should resonate from every quarters that this was the partnership and the match that is going to take Bangladesh’s development in world cricket years ahead. Shakib and Mahmudullah did not just win a single match in an ICC tournament. They left a blueprint for success in the future. Anytime we are about to be done and dusted, they will teach us it is not over till it is over; do not ever give up. We need to do everything to remember this match, this is the match that will lift many more in the years to come and I can say that with 100% confidence. We had lost the close match against India in the T20 World Cup. This is a redemption from our choke. This is one of the best chases and one of the best comebacks I have ever seen. It was almost like a scripted movie, this stuff doesn’t happen in normal lives. That’s why I said I am speechless. I could not think more than the fact that this looks like a movie and guess what that’s exactly the expression I saw in Kane Williamson and every Kiwi face yesterday as well. They could not believe their own eyes.
With the redemption completed, it doesn’t really matter to me what happens today and whether we go through or not to the Semi finals. I will still pray and I can say confidently that 160 million people from Bangladesh and all over the world will be praying for an English victory and cheering every run and wicket in the England vs Australia match like Bangladesh is playing. But we have done the hardest work this Champions Trophy. We have left a blueprint for our success to our next generation and Cardiff will propel us to heights we have never thought of before.