"It's a special win."
MS Dhoni is not often prone to such grandiose statements, least of all in front of a cadre of journalists searching for big, bold headlines and hashtaggable quotes. He even confessed to changing the speech he had cooked up for a function at the Indian High Comission last Sunday upon hearing the media would also be present. So when a man who measures his words so carefully felt the Asia Cup "was an important one to win", you get curious.
On the surface, it doesn't look particularly startling. An eight-wicket victory in a rain-curtailed game where India were chasing 121 in 15 overs. It was their sixth on the trot, meaning they were in form, and everyone from the opposition captain to umpteen cricket experts had tagged them as the favourites. India were ranked No. 1. Bangladesh were at No. 10. Things merely panned out to establish that, right?
Sure. If Twenty20 cricket cowed down to logic like that.
Dhoni seemed acutely aware of the format's penchant to make anything happen and he worked tirelessly to ensure he wasn't caught off guard. He had assessed this to be the "best batting wicket in the tournament", but keeping the runs down was crucial because "it is a knockout game. If it's an off day for you, you're completely out and you have to start all over again."
Going back to the drawing board with a World T20 waiting for them when they return home was not an option. So Dhoni was adamant to stay ahead of the game. He brought Ashwin on for the first over to perhaps see if the ball turning away from the left-handers could offer India an edge. It didn't so he was quick to bring on Ashish Nehra and Jasprit Bumrah, who have been absolute nuisances to opening batsmen since the start of the year. Soumya Sarkar fell in the fourth over, Tamim Iqbal followed him in the fifth.
Dhoni drew Ashwin out of his sleeve again the minute the Powerplay was done, but that also meant he had only one over left from each of his three lead bowlers for the rest of the innings.
He kept Bumrah for the final over - which yielded only seven runs - knocked Nehra's quota off in the 13th so he needn't feel too much pressure on the one day he didn't seem at his best and sprung Ashwin on Shakib Al Hasan in the 10th after the batsman had crashed Hardik Pandya's pace for a brace of boundaries in the eighth. A lazy sweep resulted in a top-edge and short fine leg was perfectly placed.
"Asia Cup is one tournament that happens every alternate year. So you don't get a lot of opportunity. Once you get an opportunity, it is important to get to the final and once you are there you look to win." MS Dhoni on winning another trophy
Dhoni made India the world champions on his captaincy debut in 2007 and has racked up ICC silverware like they are half off at a clearance sale. Big finals seem to be his forte. He is animated, even a bit OCD, when setting the field. He has a helpful word or two to the bowler when things aren't going well, like after Hardik Pandya was smashed for two sixes in the penultimate over. The two legitimate balls after that conversation - noticeably fuller and straighter - yielded only two runs.
In short, Dhoni became very involved because he was playing a final in a tournament that featured four of the ten Test nations. And he wanted his team to be the best.
"Recently if you see there have not been too many tournaments where three nations have participated," Dhoni said. "Asia Cup is one tournament that happens every alternate year. So you don't get a lot of opportunity. Once you get an opportunity, it is important to get to the final and once you are there you look to win."
There was another player who was as vigilant as Dhoni was. He had come into tonight's game with scores of 2, 1 and 16 not out and was the guiding force behind a superbly calculated chase: Shikhar Dhawan.
His 60 off 44 balls began in familiar fashion - with a four through point - but this one was ever so minimalist. Dhawan hoped to only time the ball and he was careful not to waft the bat out away from his body. The ball, as if thoroughly impressed, sped off to the boundary defying an outfield was still a bit soggy after the storm. Awareness of that fact fed into his running as well. The 94-run match-winning stand he had with Virat Kohli began with a couple, then a single and then a couple again, all rapidly run. And the routine continued. Bangladesh were never allowed to build any pressure.
Dhawan made India comfortable with a couple of fours off inexperienced left-arm seamer Abu Hider, punished the experienced Shakib when his left-arm spin was fired in too quickly or was too short in length. A late cut in the sixth over epitomised Dhawan's ingenuity. Third man was up, the ball was short, his shot selection couldn't have been more perfect.
Then out came Dhoni, who finished the match off in a whirlwind of fours and sixes. The chase didn't even go to the final over. Neither India nor their captain wanted to leave anything to chance tonight.