Bangladesh's record chase of 215 against Sri Lanka on Saturday has had a huge impact on the home fans and today's virtual Nidahas Trophy semifinal between the sides has emerged more than just a fight for a spot in Sunday's final against India.
Words of the local fans about today's match were tinged with an air of revenge, which was no doubt fuelled further by Mushfiqur Rahim's 'nagin' celebration -- as his aping of spinner and teammate Nazmul Islam's snake-themed wicket celebration has now come to be called -- after the memorable win.
The rivalry between the two sides has reached new heights and while the players and coaches of both teams wanted to play down the needle between them ahead of the crucial encounter, Sri Lankan fans did not hesitate to show their emotions when asked for predictions for the match to take place at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo today.
“You may have forgotten that we beat you guys not so long ago in your den,” said Bandaranaike Ankura, a salesman of a furniture shop near the Premadasa, who was waiting in line to buy tickets for the game yesterday.
“You know that celebration [Mushfiqur's] will be repeated again but this time it will be our players who will perform it after beating Bangladesh tomorrow [today],” he added.
Emotions remained similarly on the surface when this reporter went to another Sri Lanka supporter, this time adding some more fuel to the fire by asking whether the inclusion of Shakib Al Hasan before the crucial encounter has put any extra pressure on the home side.
“Obviously you guys are worried over your team combination and strength and so you had to include him before this game,” said Dhanapala Jayantha, a student of class 12, with more than a little aggression.
“Yes, his [Shakib's] inclusion will certainly boost Bangladesh but you also have to remember that Sri Lanka are playing at home and you must know that Sri Lanka were never beaten by Bangladesh in consecutive games in the recent past. It's not like our bowlers are going to make the same mistakes they made during the 215-run chase the other day,” he added.
The intensity of the rivalry may not be witnessed on every corner of Colombo but there have been discussions over the defeat to Bangladesh ahead of today's game.
The Sri Lankans will flock in numbers to support their team today and some of the fans even said that they would love to face Bangladesh rather than India in the final.