In a span of two weeks, Bangladesh has travelled far from those days of merely making up the numbers in a tournament.
The team's self-belief manifested itself when Mushfiqur Rahim spoke ahead of the Asia Cup final against Pakistan. Asked about how the victories over India and Sri Lanka bolstered his squad's confidence, Mushfiqur said: “These are not upsets, these are well-planned, well-executed victories.”
Nothing to lose
Looking ahead towards the final, the host skipper said: “We will give our 100 per cent to win the final against Pakistan. We were close to them in our first match and even that will give us confidence.
“Last night we celebrated and that match (against Sri Lanka) is perhaps the biggest of our lives so far but we have this one game against Pakistan and we want to continue our good job. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
Bangladesh's penchant to topple fancied teams, was also emphasised by Younis Khan.
“Right from the day they gave us a good fight in this tournament's opening match, we felt that they had it in them to reach the final. They have defeated India and Sri Lanka and it says a lot about the team.
“In international cricket, you have to expect the unexpected. Yes, it is always special to play against India in a final but Bangladesh has done well and is here and we are well prepared. There is pressure on both sides and for Bangladesh, it is about playing at home and keeping its fans happy,” the Pakistan batsman said.
Younis also side-stepped the query about India's alleged doubts about Saeed Ajmal's action.
“These things are part of international cricket. Even while playing against England, these things were said about Ajmal. In sport, all of us are under varying pressures be it Ajmal, Misbah-ul-Haq or myself.
“Even Sachin (Tendulkar) has his pressure. He scored a hundred but still his team lost and that's a different pressure,” the former Pakistan captain said.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, after the fantastic win, an elated Tamim Iqbal said: “It's the biggest achievement for the country. We realise its still not over. I hope we will fire against Pakistan in the final.”
Belief also shimmered in Tamim's words while he dwelt upon his selection trauma ahead of the tournament. “My job was not to think about what had happened before. I did think of it but still gave my best. I was out of the country and having a holiday, when these things were happening. It gave me some rest and mental freshness. I wanted to prove myself, worked hard and it's going alright,” the opener said and then cut a cake on a truly special birthday for him.
Keywords: Asia Cup