Standing on the cusp of history, Bangladesh was one winning shot away from making it, as they failed to beat Pakistan's score of 236 in the final of Asia Cup at Dhaka on Thursday.
Bangladesh had reached only their second multi-team one-day tournament final and considering the results in the round robin matches - a win over fancied rivals India and Sri Lanka - looked very capable of lifting the trophy. Having survived the hope, now they had to survive the expectations. Their performance on the field in the final was very much a reflection of that. Having won the toss, Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim put Pakistan in. With some nifty bowling and brilliant fielding, the Bangladesh bowlers were able to restrict Pakistan to only 236. Pakistan would have been bowled for much lesser if it weren't for contributions from the lower middle order. While four batsmen got post the score of 30, none of them scored a fifty for Pakistan.
Chasing a winnable total with a batting line-up in form, Bangladesh definitely gave themselves more than hope. Tamim Iqbal who had scored three fifties in the tournament gave Bangladesh exactly the start needed and in the process scored his fourth fifty. But just when he needed to go on, Tamim fell in what was a part of mini-collapse, with Bangladesh reduced to 81 for 3 after being 68 for no loss. Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain then rebuilt the innings, but Nasir who had got a promotion in the batting order in this match looked unable to rotate the strike consistently as the required run-rate climbed up. When he fell, for 28 off 63 balls, Bangladesh needed 67 off 45 balls. When Shakif and Mushfiqur fell in quick succession, at 190 for 6 requiring 47 off 29, Bangladesh looked down and out. A few quick runs from Mortaza and Mahmudallahh, got Bangladesh into a situation where they needed 9 runs off the last over. When 4 where needed of 2 balls, Cheema cleaned up Abdur Razzaq and off the final ball of the match Shahadat Hossain could manage only a single run.
Bangladesh lost but not before they had won the hearts.