India opener Shikhar Dhawan said that the Men in Blue would not take Bangladesh lightly in the Asia Cup 2018 final, scheduled to take place in Dubai on Friday (September 28).
An under-strength Bangladesh side fought like tigers to beat Pakistan on Wednesday in a Super Four match that was essentially a semi-final.
Chasing 240 to win, Pakistan was restricted to 202-9 by a team lacking two of its best performers. All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan didn’t feature in the game due to a finger injury, while veteran batsman Tamim Iqbal fractured his wrist in the tournament opener against Sri Lanka.
“All the teams in the tournament have been very competitive. Everyone was thinking that India and Pakistan will meet in the final but Bangladesh beat them by playing good cricket,” Dhawan told reporters on the eve of the final.
“We cannot take them lightly because Pakistan is a bigger name but Bangladesh got the better of them. There is a big difference between a team on paper and players playing on the ground. So the team which plays better on the field, they are regarded as the bigger team,” he added.
This will be the second time that the two teams will meet in the summit clash of a tournament in 2018. Earlier this year, India had defeated Bangladesh in a thrilling Nidahas Trophy final.
When asked about Bangladesh’s inability to turn up in the big matches, Dhawan rather praised the ‘Bangla Tigers’ for playing consistent cricket.
“You can see that they have a good support staff and they play good consistent cricket. And now, they will be competing in the Asia Cup final. They have got many experienced players in the side who know their role and play according to the strategy. Their players know how to play under pressure and they no longer have problems playing against the big teams,” Dhawan remarked.
“Bangladesh have been playing cricket only for 18 years and so, it takes time (to win finals). Sometimes, it takes teams so much time to even reach the final. There are two ways of looking at things. Although, I would want India to win the match tomorrow (Friday) but I believe that we will see Bangladesh crossing the line soon, as far as winning titles is concerned,” he explained.
Dhawan also mentioned that Virat Kohli’s absence hasn’t changed the team’s style of play.
“We (Rohit and Dhawan) haven’t been thinking on the lines that Virat Kohli is not there so we have to take more responsibility. We thought that we can give more batsmen an opportunity to showcase their talents, especially in the middle-order,” Dhawan quipped.
“Things doesn’t change for us because of the absence of Virat. We try to give in our best whenever and wherever we are playing. It feels nice to get some runs under the belt and every player wants to be as consistent as possible,” he concluded.