When Mirpur lost its voice
It was a virtual final. The stadium was nearly packed. Around 20,000 supporters tirelessly screamed out their lungs in support of the home side. Bangladesh might have been playing against an Associate Member nation, but it was a match that they had to win to spare their blushes.
The intensity was as high as when Bangladesh had played some of the bigger nations last year -- the South Africans, the Indians and the Pakistanis.
However, on two occasions during the third ODI between Bangladesh and Afghanistan yesterday, the result of the match seemed to take a back seat. That at least seemed to be the case amongst the Bangladeshi supporters in the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
The first incident took place when skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was running in to bowl the second ball of his second over. He had just removed Mohammad Shahzad with a brilliant inswinger and the crowd was behind him.
However, all of a sudden, the roars from the crowds were replaced by sounds of despair. Mashrafe slipped just as he was about to deliver his second ball. His right leg slipped and then came to a jarring halt, causing him to twist his ankle at the crease and he fell in a heap.
Almost all the players on the field converged towards him, one of the players immediately removed his sock, the physio came charging in and insisted that he have a look despite Mashrafe brushing him away.
The physio eventually did get his way and managed to make a quick inspection, after which he allowed him to continue.
"He should just complete this over and get off the field," moaned one journalist. "Why does he need to continue? We have a big series coming up," lamented another.
A player who has overcome so many injuries in his career managed a wry smile during the post-match press conference when asked about his health.
"Actually, right after that fall, I started bowling with a short run up. I can't say exactly as to how the injury is at the moment, but there is a bit of a swelling. Hopefully the pain will go and it will be okay," he said.
"Actually, ever since the morning, I don't know why but I was feeling a little odd. I was a little scared and feared an injury for some reason. That was going through my mind all of a sudden," he added with a smile.
Mashrafe then spoke about the second incident that stunned the crowd.
Around the 30th over, a pitch-invader ran into the field from the VIP gallery end and charged towards Mashrafe, who was fielding at mid-on. As soon as the young man entered the field, six to seven other security personnel started running behind him.
When Mashrafe observed that scene for the first time, he was slightly taken aback and took a little backward jump. Seconds later though, he was seen hugging the pitch-invader and he even tried to protect him from the security personnel and asked them to calm down.
"Actually these kinds of things happen all over the world. Maybe this is the first time that it happened in Bangladesh. He first came to me and said that he was my fan. I took it very simply. I hope that nothing bad happens to him," said the skipper.