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Tuesday, June 1, 1999 Published at 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK

World: South Asia

Wild celebrations after Bangladesh win

Thousands sang and danced on Dhaka streets

Bangladeshis took to the streets in a joyous celebration of their Cricket World Cup victory over Pakistan on Monday.

Shots were fired in the air and fire crackers set off as thousands filled Dhaka streets, beating drums and dancing, reports say.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared a half-day holiday across the nation on Tuesday. She also announced cash awards of 200,000 taka ($4,123) for each member of the victorious cricket team.

[ image: Bangladeshi supporters at Northampton after the win]
Bangladeshi supporters at Northampton after the win
In what is being seen as the biggest upset of the World Cup, minnows Bangladesh beat tournament favourites Pakistan by 62 runs on Monday.

Afterwards, Bangladesh captain Aminul Islam said his country should declare a national holiday on Tuesday.

"I think tomorrow will be a special holiday for our country," he said.

"To beat a team like Pakistan is very emotional...this is a historic day for us. We have beaten Pakistan - one of the best teams in the world."

'The Bengal tigers have won'

Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan until its independence in 1971, had never beaten a full test playing team until Monday's win.

Their achievement mirrored Kenya's triumph in the 1996 subcontinent World Cup, when the East African nation beat West Indies.

Bangladesh's win electrified their supporters and Dhaka revellers stayed up all night dancing in the streets and chanting: "Victory, victory. The Bengal tigers have won."

The Bangladesh media joined the party on Tuesday.

Janakantha, a popular daily, compared the win to Bangladesh's war of independence in 1971, when the country won its freedom from Pakistan.

Another daily, The Independent, called it Bangladesh's "greatest moment of sporting history".

Imran Khan impressed

State run Bangladesh Television said: "It was the biggest upset in the World Cup history and the sweetest memory Bangladesh would ever preserve."

The win, Bangladesh's second of the World Cup following their defeat of Scotland, impressed former Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan.

"The way young Bangladeshi boys batted today against the world's best pace and spin attack of Pakistan, they have won the match irrespective of results," he said.

"The Bangladesh cricketers really impressed me."

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