"Brace for impact," a spectator at the Shahid Jewel Stand quipped as a loud Mirpur crowd cheered for Shakib Al Hasan when the talismanic all-rounder came into the attack to bowl the 10th over. His last over prior to the India game went for 30 runs in the Abu Dhabi T10 League courtesy of Nicholas Pooran's brutal hitting. He was not at his best in the T20 World Cup.
But all these didn't matter. Shakib did what he does so often. He removed Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the same over. The Mirpur crowd braced themselves to see Shakib's impact and here it was. It was the second time Shakib got both Rohit and Kohli out in the same over in ODIs. The first time was way back in the 2010 Asia Cup. They were not as big as they are today then.
But they are now colossal figures and the impact of those two wickets was huge. The Rohit wicket, in particular, was a stroke of genius from Shakib as the ball went through arm and caught the Indian skipper off-guard. Shardul Thakur's dismissal was completely opposite. The right-hander had little clue as the ball turned away just enough to beat him and hit the timber. After a five-for, Shakib looked at home in an innings of 29.
After such a performance, Shakib was not the best player of the night.
There were so many players who could be the hero of the game. Ebadot Hossain, in just his second ODI, created his own pace is pace, yaar moment. Knowing the short-ball weakness of Shreyas Iyer, he targeted him with short stuff and it paid dividends. He "saluted" four Indian batters away and complemented Shakib really well.
Litton Das had a good outing as a skipper. He marshaled his troupe well, took an absolute ripper of a catch to remove Kohli and played an important knock of 41 himself in a tricky chase.
There were performances from the India camp as well. KL Rahul was India's one of the best performers in this match (probably not the best because of a key dropped catch). He was the only Indian batter who looked very comfortable. There was considerable support in the gallery for India and they were chanting Rahul's name when he was going great guns. They could out-voice the Tiger fans who were almost mocking them when India lost their top four quickly.
When Shakib broke the stand between Washington Sundar and Rahul, the noise was deafening, so much so that Mehidy Hasan Miraz had to run from backward point to the boundary to communicate to Mahmudullah as the latter signaled that he was unable to hear anything because of the noise.
India bowled with a lot of heart without much luck in the early part of the innings but the trio of Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Sen combined to trigger a collapse (five or eight) to reduce Bangladesh to 136 for nine, still needing 51 to win with just one wicket in hand.
Entered Mehidy Hasan Miraz. The stage was set for the likes of Shakib, Ebadot, Litton, Rahul, Siraj, Sen but it was the 25-year-old who stole the spotlight. And he stole the spotlight when no one gave Bangladesh a chance and the odds were hugely in India's favour.
Miraz is a capable batter and a good number eight to have. In February, he scored a brilliant 81* against Afghanistan in an ODI to script a memorable win. But he had Afif Hossain with him. And when Afif was dismissed by Sen against India, a lot of people started to leave the stadium disappointed. The general feeling was - another day, another heartbreak against India.
But Miraz had the "belief". He used this very word in the post-match press conference and also in the Facebook post after the match. He, no doubt, played a brilliant knock but the way he shielded the number 11 Mustafizur Rahman was even more tremendous. It was the third-highest last-wicket stand while chasing in a winning cause in ODIs among Full Members and the second-highest in the 21st century.
Miraz struck India's fastest bowler Sen for two sixes and also took down the bowler who posed a huge threat up front - Deepak Chahar. Miraz gave strike to Mustafizur in 11 balls in a 41-ball partnership and the number 11 did a fairly decent job.
India were hoping to get Mustafizur play more deliveries but by the time they got him face the first ball of an over, Bangladesh needed only 14 and Mustafizur had grown in confidence. And the fans who were stunned in silence a few minutes ago got their voice back. And those who left the ground were probably kicking themselves in anger.
But Miraz kept his calm. He waited for the winning moment. And when it came, the joy knew no bounds. The joy of finally closing out a close game. The belief Miraz had in himself did not betray. The crowd, in the topsy-turvy final hour of the game, "braced themselves for impact" but the landing was so off the scale that it had everyone on the ground go mad.
There are a lot of talking points though. But the Bangladesh fans, for now, won't mind those. According to Litton, Miraz gave Bangladesh a match to savour for years and this game will surely go down as one of their greatest comebacks in the history of Bangladesh cricket. As far as the Bangladesh fans are concerned, the hangover will not go away soon.