DHAKA // India will be motivated by the boisterous support their opposition receive in the Asia Cup final on Sunday, on account of the fact they "are used to noise".
That is the view of Ravi Shastri, India's team director, who believes the atmosphere in Mirpur will be as much of a motivation for his side as it will Bangladesh.
The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium has been teeming for every match the host nation have played in this competition.
For the decisive match against Pakistan, each seat was filled, people were seated in every gangway, and spaces at the front and back of stands were lined with standing supporters.
Once all tickets were sold, the gates were padlocked shut, and thousands who had been locked out swarmed the streets around the ground and supported their side from there.
Given the city’s hotels have seen a spike in bookings this week with more fans flying in for the match, it can be assumed tickets will be even more sought after.
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Despite the support being so fervent for the home team, Shastri believes his side will be buoyed by the experience.
“We are used to noise,” Shastri said. “Who cares? When you play at that level, you are immune to all that. You can use it to your advantage as well.
“You can use it to make sure you are geed up when you get out there. You want to show you can play under pressure.”
Even though Bangladesh have performed superbly in winning their past three matches to qualify for the final, India are rightly confident.
They are the leading side in the world in Twenty20 cricket at present, and they beat their final opponents easy by 45 runs in the opening match.
“Every game is a tough game – that first game was a tough game,” Shastri said.
“We just need to treat it like any other game. Why think it’s a final? You have to approach every game as we have done in this tournament.
“For us, every game has been a knockout and we have approached it in that fashion. We will approach this game in no different manner.”
MS Dhoni, India’s captain, thinks Bangladesh’s greatest advantage will lie less in the noise their supporters make, than their knowledge of the conditions.
This tournament has seen seam bowlers dominate, with both pitch and climatic conditions assisting sideways movement.
However, the weather changed yesterday, with the temperature and humidity increasing markedly.
“To beat a home team is always difficult,” Dhoni said. “Bangladesh are one team who, over the years, have developed a lot. They have improved their strength.
“They know the conditions well. It will be a good final. It will be decided by which team plays the better cricket, and in this format the difference can be one individual having a very good day.”
According to Mashrafe Mortaza, the Bangladesh captain, his side are focused on their performance rather than the significance of the result.
Bangladesh have never won the Asia Cup before, and if they did it would be a significant achievement.
“Obviously, this is a final and the flavour is different, but we want to take it as just another match,” Mortaza said.
“We want to play our best cricket, as we have done in the past three matches, and hopefully we will keep it going.
“Despite how we are playing, I think there are so many things we can improve, especially in T20 cricket. We are looking to do that, not just become the Asian power or that sort of thing.”
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