Dhaka: Mushfiqur Rahim is confident he can lead Bangladesh to a historic victory in their first Asia Cup final against Pakistan at Mirpur's Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Thursday.
Bangladesh have never won a major title, and the expectations of home fans have ballooned in the past week as the team beat World Cup finalists India and Sri Lanka, batting second. India have been the most successful Asia Cup team with five titles, while Sri Lanka have never missed the final.
"It's not that we upset the big guns, rather it was a well-planned strategy and we executed that well," Rahim said on Wednesday.
\"It\'s not that we upset the big guns, rather it was a well-planned strategy,\" said the Bangladesh skipper.
"So far, we have gained everything we wanted. We are now so close and do not want to lose the chance."
The captain said his team was keen to prove Bangladesh could maintain its high standards.
"We played such a way that every match was a do-or-die match for us," Rahim said. "We'll take this final match the same way. As a team, we've been improving. So the victory in the final would be crucial to show our improvement towards the rest of the world."
Pakistan won their round-robin match by 21 runs, and Rahim acknowledged Pakistan were the favorite in the final. But he was reluctant to concede anything else.
"We believe no side is unbeatable. It is all about to put up good cricket and execute the plan well," he said.
Senior Pakistan batsman Younis Khan paid respect to Bangladesh for their gutsy performances and expected a hard-fought final.
"You see the match against us, then against India, it was wonderful to chase a big score," Khan said. "Their teamwork is tremendous; it is certainly a great strength that they are chasing well. So I think it will be a tough match."
He also praised Bangladesh's consistency.
"They came close to a victory against us by chasing a respectable total, then chased down India's mammoth total. Even in a rain-affected match, they eased past Sri Lanka as if they like to chase any total," Khan said.
"It will be very tough to beat Bangladesh; the way they have been playing is amazing."
Khan said if Pakistan wins the toss, they will likely send Bangladesh in to bat first in the final. Pakistan won their only Asia Cup the last time it reached the final, in 2000.