Bangladesh let slip another golden opportunity: In this tournament we ticked all boxes - Rohit Sharma | Sunday Observer

Bangladesh let slip another golden opportunity: In this tournament we ticked all boxes - Rohit Sharma

DUBAI, Friday – The fans could not have asked for a better Asia Cup final than what was dished out to them on Friday at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium here – a last ball finish and defending champions India being stretched to the limit by a gutsy Bangladesh team who gave everything they had but were beaten to the post once again when a trophy which they have been yearning for, for quite some time was within their grasp.

India eventually ran out winners by three wickets scoring the winning runs off the last ball but all credit to Bangladesh for nearly defending their moderate total of 222.

This is not the first time that Bangladesh has been deprived of a title. They were pipped to the post by two runs in the 2012 Asia Cup final by Pakistan and lost to India by eight wickets in the 2016 final and in the Nidahas trophy final played at the R Premadasa Stadium in March this year they were again beaten by India going down by four wickets.

“The boys should feel proud, but at the same time I feel we have to learn so many things. I think every time we play this kind of tournament we are struggling somewhere,” said Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza at the post-match press conference.

“Like today we had a good start but could not go through. If we look at the last three four matches we played we lost so many wickets early but we still managed to score 240-250. I think the bowlers have done a really good job in this tournament.

Every time our batters scored more than 240, we were able to win the matches. The team can be proud, but we have to move forward from here,” he said.

Both teams were without match winners – India were minus captain Virat Kohli (rested) and Hardik Pandya (injured) and Bangladesh was sans Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan (both injured).

India’s winning captain Rohit Sharma was also full of praise for Bangladesh.“I can’t take any credit away from them (Bangladesh). They have played superb cricket in the tournament. I don’t believe they’re a walkover team.

In the last two-three years their performances have been superb,” said Sharma. “For us this final, the opposition didn’t matter. We just wanted to play well. Whoever the opposition - Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Hong Kong or Sri Lanka - our job was to just do our work and see how we could win.

“If you focus too much on the opponents, your preparation is hampered. That’s what I said at the pre-series press conference that more than looking at the opposition we’ve to see what we can do and how we can improve,” he said.

Sharma India’s stand-in skipper also praised his players for handling pressure well beside playing quality cricket throughout the tournament.“We played some good cricket throughout the tournament and this is the reward of all the hard work. If you have a team like that, the captain will always look good.

“I have been part of games like this before and credit to the guys in the middle to handle the pressure and to cross the finishing line was a fantastic effort,” Sharma said. “I think in this tournament I can clearly say that we ticked all boxes here, that is the challenge for us wherever we play to continue to tick those boxes and get better as a team.”

Sharma said that he learnt a lot about captaincy from MS Dhoni, India’s most successful captain across all formats.“Look, we always learn from (MS) Dhoni because he has been such a good captain.

Whenever we encountered a problem or a question on the field, he was always there with an answer.

“What I have observed, him captaining the team over the years, is that he never panics, takes a few seconds before taking a decision, thinks about it then decides. So there is that similarity. I think I also have that. I also try to think and then react,”said Sharma.