What a sport!
The Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka was full to the brim. But that's just about 25,000 people. "Kono shomoshya nai," (there is no problem) is what everyone here promptly says whenever there is a problem. On Thursday, this was what Dhaka said to the world.
More than double the number inside the stadium were outside, in the streets, soaking in the atmosphere. As the music and the cheers flowed, they joined in, their voices merging into one big roar befitting the 'Bangladesh Tigers' they have come out to support.
It was this energy that was overwhelming. There were flaws, chaos, overenthusiastic security personnel and everything else that mark opening ceremonies in the subcontinent. But Bangladesh ignored them.
Students in Bangladesh shirts, national flags wrapped around them, danced to the music inside. Senior citizens like Sohidul Islam, who retired as a chief engineer in a private firm, stood watching as the new generation ushered in the cricketing extravaganza.
"I can't keep pace with them," he said, pointing to a group of girls who were wearing identical kurtas that they had bought from the Bangabazar, and were trying to drown the noise inside with their shrill chorus.
Most of those who turned up here had stood in long queues for over two days but were still not lucky to get tickets. "We knew we'd not get a ticket the moment we stood in the queue," Shonali, a third-year engineering student, said. "That day itself we had decided we will come here and enjoy ourselves. Bangladesh getting to host the World Cup and the opening ceremony is a chance of a lifetime. We didn't want to miss it at any cost."
There were around 20 big television screens put up across the city for the show but not one outside the venue. Still, those who stood there didn't miss much. Local electronic goods shops joined the party, and multiple television screens beamed the live broadcast.
In other words, "All is well."