Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza on Saturday conceded that India are the clear favourites to lift the Asia Cup T20 cricket trophy and only the familiarity with home conditions could tilt the balance in his side’s favour in the summit clash in Mirpur on Sunday.
India have been in rampaging form with four convincing wins in the tournament, including the 45-run thumping of Bangladesh in their opening league match, and Mortaza made it clear that “there was no debate” on who are the favourites in Sunday’s final at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium.
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“We all know that Indians are clear favourites in the final. Let there be no debates or discussions on that,” Mashrafe said at a packed match-eve press conference..
“What we have got is a young team which has won matches playing as a unit. We still don’t have a T20 star, who can single-handedly win us a match. Crowd, pitch, conditions, everything will favour us in the Final but that can never ensure that we will win the final,” Mashrafe said.
While India Team Director Ravi Shastri termed Sunday’s final as “yet another match”, Mashrafe said that for his team which rarely make final appearances, it’s a “big occasion”.
“What Ravi Shastri has said is absolutely right. It is another match for them as they are used to hype and big matches. They can take it like 10 other matches. India has played big finals, won trophies. What is easy for them may not be that easy for us. But we are trying to focus on the game, shut ourselves from the hype and remain and play as normally as possible,” said Bangladesh’s ‘Captain Cool’.
Mashrafe said playing the final of Asia Cup T20 adds a “different flavour” but he personally rates playing the quarter-final of the 50-over World Cup against India in Melbourne last year as a “bigger achievement”.
“I believe as a captain, the biggest achievement was leading the team in the quarter-finals of the World Cup against India in MCG last year. This is certainly one of my bigger achievements but that quarterfinal stands out. That was a 50-over format and played in Australia,” the skipper said.