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India clinically mutes Bangladesh

Virat Kohli, M S Dhoni, India, Bangladesh, Asia Cup 2016
During seperate post-match interviews, both Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya echoed the Indian sentiment of getting one over their neighbours.

Revenge is a strong word. Payback is less so, but it too doesn’t fit well with the narrative of a cricket match. What India desired and achieved with their triumph in the Asia Cup final against Bangladesh was establishing their superiority over the hosts and other Asian rivals in the Twenty20 format.

Heading into the final, there was a rather unsavoury incident that spiced up a rather placid tournament. A morphed photo of a decapitated MS Dhoni was doing the rounds on social media, yielding strong reactions from Indian supporters. India Team Director Ravi Shastri maintained a public silence but later confirmed that he told the team, “Remember the celebrations of the Bangladeshi’s (when they beat India in an ODI series last year). Go out there and get the bloody job done.” And India did just that.

In a rain-curtailed 15-over-a-side game, India chased 121 with ease, with Shikhar Dhawan playing a match-winning knock and MS Dhoni applying the finishing touches. India would silence the partisan crowd in Mirpur, by winning by eight wickets and claiming their sixth Asia Cup crown.

The theme of silencing the hosts would continue into the post-match presentation as well. The presentation – awfully long, ill-advised and badly managed – was held in front of an empty stadium as the Bangladesh fans seemed to have left, without acknowledging the victors or the vanquished. When Dhawan was collecting his Man of the Match award, a loud chant of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ echoed in the stadium. During seperate post-match interviews, both Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya echoed the Indian sentiment of getting one over their neighbours. Despite proclamations to the contrary, the Asia Cup final and subsequent title does hold emotional value to the Indian team.

The Asia Cup was a lot like the post-final presentation itself – avoidable for the most part but amusing at various points. India finished the tournament just like they started it – with victory over Bangladesh. They have won eight successive T20I’s away from home and now head to back home for the World T20. They’re surely favourites for that.

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