History beckons Bangladesh as they aim to rise above the minnows tag and notch up their biggest title since arriving on the international scene when they take on an unpredictable Pakistan in the final of the Asia Cup in Mirpur on Thursday.
Bangladeshi cricketer Nazmul Hossain celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara during the Asia Cup cricket match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka . AFP Photo/Munir uz Zaman
With former champions India and Sri Lanka
shockingly thrown out of the competition, it is the most surprising summit line-up for the event which is struggling for relevance in a crowded international calender.
Defending champions India paid the price for a stunning loss to Bangladesh in the league stage while four-time winners Sri Lanka failed to register a single triumph this time.
The debacles of the two teams, who have dominated the tournament since its inception way back in 1984, paved the way for an unlikely finalist in Bangladesh, a side which is known to upstage biggies but not for going the whole hog.
The giant-killers thrashed India, chasing down a mammoth 290, but that was seen merely as one of the rare stunners that the Tigers are so well known to throw up in multi-national events.
However, the determined side proved the critics wrong by beating an already demoralised Sri Lanka as well, a result that knocked India out of the final.
"It's a great achievement for the country, so far the biggest. We realise it's still not over, we have another very important game. We'll enjoy, we'll party, but tomorrow we'll be back to business. I hope we will fire on the 22nd," said opener Tamim Iqbal, the hero of the win over Sri Lanka with a half century.
The triumph on Tuesday night triggered wild celebrations through the country and the team itself was in a delirious huddle much after the presentations were done with.