The long wait is over. Bangladesh won a multi-nation tournament after six abortive attempts when they beat West Indies by five wickets at The Village in Dublin in an extraordinary final where the pendulum swung from one end to the other after rain intervened.
The rasping drive for four through the covers that Mahmudullah hit for the winning runs was icing on a proverbial celebratory cake that the Tigers had been preparing over their six previous attempts since 2009, somehow spoiled each time by their opponents.
The bitter memories of those near misses, marked by famously hysterical sobs, collective brain-freeze moments and emotional breakdowns that led to national catastrophe, transformed into a rainbow after rain for the Tigers in Malahide on Friday.
The success in their seventh attempt across the short formats of the game was more of a statement than just winning a tri-series final. It was a statement of consistency over the course of four years, a statement of evolving as a team under a true leader, where X-factors are not a big issue and a growing statement of youthful exuberance under the tutelage of the Big Five.
The win also served as a perfect build-up going into the World Cup, which starts on May 30. Although the fans are dreaming big after the tri-series win, a reality check is the need of the hour and would auger well for the Tigers to freely play good, hard cricket.
The next objective for the Tigers will be to play well in their two warm-up games against Pakistan and India on May 26 and 28 respectively before their opening World Cup fixture against South Africa at The Oval on June 6.
The best-case scenario would be to take one game at a time in their nine league matches. The batting looks primed to take the challenge of consistently hitting the 300-plus run mark, which promises to be a par score, if not quite safe, this English summer.
Yet, the biggest concern for the Tigers is that their bowling unit still left a lot to be desired. The challenge for the bowlers will be to take wickets in the first ten overs of the Powerplay to stymie the run rate, and also bowl smartly in the last overs when runs are expected to surge.
Bangladesh do not have a leg-spinner in their kitty. The Tigers are also running the risk of carrying one qualified left-arm spinner in Shakib Al Hasan, who missed the tri-series final due to a muscle spasm in his back. This might be a wake-up call for the Tigers thinktank to opt for a back-up left-arm spinner in a long league format.
Bangladesh also do not possess an express quick. Most of them are containers rather than aggressors, save Rubel Hossain. But the biggest headache for Bangladesh in the pace department has so far been the indifferent performances from Mustafizur Rahman.
The left-arm pacer, already famous for his slow cutters, has been struggling to regain his pace since a shoulder operation. He has been designed to take crucial wickets in the middle as well as to stop the avalanche of runs in the death overs.
The Tigers will be desperately looking for Mustafizur to return to his usual self by the time they take on South Africa and ‘The Fizz’ in rhythm will certainly hold the key to the Tigers winning more games than they lose in the league phase.
If they can do that the fans can only dream big. But at the moment the Tigers need to firmly put their feet on the ground before heading off to England to renew their World Cup ambitions, which ended in a quarterfinal defeat four years ago in Australia.