After a responsible fifty by captain Rohit Sharma, it was middle-order batsman Dinesh Karthik who displayed explosive batting in the Nidahas Trophy final to lead India's second string team to a four-wicket win against Bangladesh and title at the R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, on Sunday.
Despite having more experience than Vijay Shankar, Karthik was demoted to No 7. However, the 32-year-old made the best out of given situation and slammed an impressive knock of 29 off just 8 balls.
After clinching the Nidahas Trophy, skipper Rohit revealed the reason why he held Karthik back.
"The way we finished off was perfect and very happy to see Dinesh doing what he did. He didn't get much of game time, the way he came out and showed character was very very crucial for us," Rohit said in the post-match ceremony.
"That was the reason I held Dinesh back, I have seen him play over the years and his experience matters a lot. When it doesn't come off, the captain never looks good. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. We always had faith when we went into the dressing room after the first innings," he added.
Rohit, who was given a young team to lead in the absence of regular leader Virat Kohli, thanked the Sri Lankan crown that appeared in a big number to support the Indian cricket team.
"Brilliant for the crowd who came out in numbers, on behalf of my team, would want to thank the Sri Lankan crowd for coming out and supporting the way they did."
18-year-old off-spinner Washington Sundar was bestowed with the man-of-the-series award for his impressive bowling throughout the tri-series. Rohit hailed him along with the rest of the young players in the camp.
"Great tournament for us. Young bunch of lads - lot of learning, we always knew they had lot of talent; it was just about coming here and executing," the Indian opener said.
"This tournament win will give them lot of confidence going forward whenever they play for India and wherever they play. Everybody who came and got opportunities stepped in, they showed lot of character and these are high-pressure games and it isn't easy and we understand that."
"Quite easy to lead them, played with most of them. Lots of work has been done off the field in terms of planning, strategy and things like that. It was about executing them and they did it perfectly. Batters also stepped up whenever needed," Rohit explained.
Needing five off the final delivery, Karthik smashed Soumya Sarkar over extra-cover as a second-string Indian side held its nerve in a tense situation to chase down a target of 167 in 20 overs. Rohit said it wasn't a tough target and he was confident of the victory in Colombo.
"The target I wouldn't say was a very high score or a very low score, it was a par score and with the kind of batting we have, we always had confidence to go and chase the target," he concluded.