Bangladesh's Mehedi Hasan
Bangladesh's Mehedi Hasan, left, celebrates taking the wicket of South Africa's captain Faf du Plessis during the Cricket World Cup match between South Africa and Bangladesh at the Oval in London, Sunday, June 2, 2019. Image Credit: AP

Southampton: Traditionally for Eid, the majority of the Bangladeshis living in England meet and celebrate the occasion. After their team’s stupendous win over South Africa in the World Cup, their meeting will turn out to be one filled with joy discussing the exploits of their team.

British Bangladeshis, as they are called, live mainly in London, the West Midlands, North West England and Yorkshire.

The waiter at the Indian restaurant in Southampton seemed very happy yesterday.

Almost 95 per cent of the Indian restaurants here are run by Bangladeshis. Sundays are busy days for him, yet while he served his guests, his attention was more focused on whether his team would create history in their match at the World Cup.

By dinner time, as Bangladesh had defeated South Africa, one could see the pride and thrill on his face. Bangladeshis proudly address their cricket team as ‘Tigers’.

Ask any Bangladeshi here on their chances in this World Cup and they will right away tell you that this time they will play in the final on July 14.

They had reached the quarter-final in 2015 and qualified for the Super Eights in the 2007 edition. So this time around they are determined to prove that they are not paper Tigers but real ones, and they will realise their dream of winning the World Cup.

Bangladeshis around the world have been showering praise on their team through social media for their flying start, and among the first to congratulate them was their Prime Minister Sheikha Hasina.

The Bangladesh team hate to be called underdogs, right from their captain Mashrafe Mortaza, and they take it badly when one mentions their win over South Africa as an upset. Many newspapers did report the win as the “first big upset of the World Cup”.

In fact, some also mentioned Bangladesh’s win as “the day of the underdog at the Oval”.

Bangladeshi fans are upset over former New Zealand player Brendon McCullum’s statement that their team might only win one match and will not be in running for a semi-final slot.

“Remember that our team’s name starts with a Bang, so better watch out for some Bang-Bang cricket from our team,” I was warned.

“We are not only a determined team but Tigers who are hungry for victory,” remarked another Bangladesh fan.

The ICC’s official magazine introduces the Bangladesh team as “Tigers ready to show their claws.”

In fact, based on this many have mentioned after their win over South Africa that their team will claw their way to the final.

On the other hand, South African fans have further plunged into sorrow and are now hoping for a win over India on June 5 to lift their sagging morale after two consecutive losses.