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Asia Cup: India are clear favourites says Mashrafe Mortaza

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Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza realistic ahead of Asia Cup final at Mirpur today

Mirpur: Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza on Saturday conceded that India are the clear favourites to lift the Asia Cup Twenty20 trophy and only the familiarity with home conditions could tilt the balance in his side's favour in the summit clash here today.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza addresses the media at Mirpur on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza addresses the media at Mirpur on Saturday. Pic/AFP

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 today's final at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium.

"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 tomorrow (Sunday) but that can never ensure our victory in the final," Mashrafe said.

Bangladesh players warm up during a practice session on eve of the Asia Cup final against India at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Bangladesh players warm up during a practice session on eve of the Asia Cup final against India at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Saturday. Pic/AFP

While India Team Director Ravi Shastri termed today's final as "yet another match", Mashrafe said that for his team which rarely make final appearances, it's a "big
occasion".

'Shastri is right'
"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 play as normally as possible," said Bangladesh's 'Captain Cool'.

Mashrafe said Bangladesh have improved since they lost by two runs to Pakistan in the 50-over Asia Cup final in 2012.

Asked if he feels that this time there would be a turnaround unlike 2012, the skipper was cautious. "I guess if we are in a situation like that (2012), we will be able to perform better.

But I can never guarantee that since we lost the 2012 final from close situation, we will automatically win this time round. At the end, T20 is all about that particular day," said Mashrafe.

For the Bangladesh skipper, a loss today may be disappointing but it would be a start of something special.

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