India wary of Bangladesh's 'tenacity' - Karthik
While Bangladesh have made great progress over the past few years, the India wicketkeeper-batsman says that a loss to them is still cause for mild embarrassment
Bangladesh may have come a great distance over the past few years. They may have orchestrated two excellent chases in the Nidahas Trophy to dump the hosts out of their own party. But for India, a loss to them is still cause for mild embarrassment.
So said wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik on the eve of the final. The teams have played seven T20Is against each other, India victorious on each occasion. As a result, Rohit Sharma's side are the more fancied team, even though several of their marquee limited-overs players have not made the trip.
"Let's be fair to India as a cricketing nation - whether we play the second string or the first-string team it's always the case [that a win is expected]," he said. "When we play Bangladesh and we win it's like : 'Ok, you've won against Bangladesh'. But if we lose it's like: 'Dude, you've lost to Bangladesh. What are you doing?' I'm sure that's going to be there. With Rohit, the first thing that he said was that although we have a few of our other players missing, we're looking to play exactly the sort of cricket that we've played in the past one year.
"But especially in subcontinent conditions, Bangladesh are a very good team. They are known for their tenacity. They really try hard. They are team that achieved Test status not many years ago, and from there on they have propelled in all formats of the game and done well for themselves."
How the India side has played has been to hold themselves to demanding standards. Although the attack is inexperienced, they remain the best-drilled side on show in Colombo, their top order having performed in every game. Part of what has fueled their limited-overs success has been the ruthless edge to their play, and their ability to quickly address weaknesses. After an indifferent outing in the field in the first match against Bangladesh, India reflected on the factors that had contributed to the performance.
"When you play international cricket you're used to a certain amount of crowd - that's one of the things that spurs you on, and it has a massive effect on fielding," Karthik said. "When the home team is not playing, the crowds are small and sometimes the motivation is not there. The second match that we played I thought we fielded the poorest, against Bangladesh. We dropped about five catches. We weren't the usual Indian team that's known for it's fielding.
"The fielding coach was straightaway in our ears and pointing it out, saying that's not happening irrespective of whether we have a crowd or not, whether the outfield is good or not. We've set a certain benchmark for ourselves and we need to keep hitting that benchmark every time we step on to that field. I think that message was taken loud and clear by the boys. I think we came back all guns blazing the next time we played Sri Lanka and in the next game against Bangladesh."
Across the six games so far, India are the only side to have won batting first, in the second match against Bangladesh.
"Chasing is not necessarily easy. I don't know much about the wicket, but if the dew settles it's much easier for the team that bats second," Karthik said. "If there's no dew then it's going to be a great game. If the wicket is sow and it's going to turn, it will be a challenge. The team that bowls better has a better chance to win the final."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando