Bangladesh celebrates cricket win, Independence day
Mar 27, 2007 - 4:19:43 PM

Dhaka, March 27 - The headline, 'Exit the Indians, enter the tigers' in a leading daily here, sums up Bangladesh's mood after its first-time entry into the Super Eight league of the Cricket World Cup.

It was a double celebration in Bangladesh as the World Cup victory over Bermuda in the wee hours Monday coincided with their 36th Independence Day. President Iajuddin Ahmed and Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed led a delirious nation in congratulating the cricketers, fondly called 'tigers'.

The shock defeat delivered to India and then to Bermuda to eliminate any chance of India sneaking into the game gave many, mostly non-sports writers, an occasion to mix the game with a bit of sub-continental politics.

The double victory would give the Bangladeshi cricket team much impetus and experience, and reaching the semi-final could be realistically expected, experts said amid celebrations.

Politicians of all hues, although barred from engaging in political activities, joined in sending congratulatory messages to the team. Former prime minister Khaleda Zia, who did not join the Independence Day functions, also sent a message to the cricketers.

Another former prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, and the country's only Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus sent in messages from the US.

Former national captain Roquibul Hassan said: 'Bangladesh have shown a lot of consistency in the last few months. If they can maintain it in the Super Eight, I don't think it would be unrealistic for them to hope for a place in the semi-finals.'

'Without dreaming, one cannot achieve anything,' he added.

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