Joined: 23 April 2011
It came down to the proverbial wire, but in the end all of England's
melancholic weather and the T20-like drama could not deny India its
share of joy in gloomy Birmingham on Sunday. From the start of the Champions Trophy early this month, they had been the team to beat here. In the end, they remained unbeaten.
The only coveted trophy missing from India's cupboard - MS Dhoni's too - was finally won in dominating style as they signed off from the United Kingdom on the note that they had signed in. The men in blue had once shared this trophy with Sri Lanka in 2002 after being declared joint-winners because of a final marred by rain, but the result wasn't quite appetite whetting.
The win over England by five runs, in a rain-shortened encounter that was unfair to India considering the three breaks in their innings and the sun was out when the hosts batted, once again affirmed their position as World Champions in the 50-over format. If this was indeed the last edition of the Champions Trophy, it will have to be an ode to a team that arrived here in the aftermath of extremely disturbing developments back home, enjoyed unparalleled fan-following here, looked the most dangerous side from Day One and won a final in which the odds were completely against them.
England will be in mourning. They came close to a win in the weather that best suited them only to be defeated for the fifth time in the final of a major ICC tournament.
Sunday's final was a farcical one indeed and nothing can be taken away from the organisers of the event - the ICC - in the manner in which they messed up with the schedule of the tournament. Since 2004, the Champions Trophy has been void of reserve days for the final and not even the preposterous English weather could help convince them otherwise.
It was a match that looked like it was played simply to get a result and compensate the sponsors and advertisers who may have paid handsomely for the tournament. The ICC technical committee in fact went ahead and extended the deadline to finish the game by three hours, instead of having a reserve day in place.
Chasing 129 for victory in 20 overs - reduced from 50 because of constant showers - England started on a shaky note, losing captain Alastair Cook to Umesh Yadav at the start of the innings. However, middle-order batsmen Eoin Morgan and Ian Bell resurrected the innings, bringing their side almost to the brink of a win. But once they left, the remaining batsmen caved in.
It was Dhoni's admirable captaincy - the way he rotated his bowlers, spread the field and kept the faith - that did the opponents in. R Ashwin's spell put England under severe pressure while Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma kept plucking wickets.
Earlier, India lost the toss and were put in to bat first. After losing an early wicket in opener Rohit Sharma, the team rode on Virat Kohli's 33-ball 43 and Jadeja's 21-ball 23 to post 129-7 in 20 overs. It was a mockery of the game as players walked in and out of the dressing rooms whenever the drizzle halted play.
Rain thrice stopped play but considering that it was a truncated game, the target set by India wasn't revised because the stipulated number of overs was possible. It was clearly unfair on Dhoni's team to bat in conditions that weren't just terrible but marred by continuous interruptions.
In the end, the deserving team won and firecrackers finally lifted the spirits at Edgbaston.
Cricket fraternity hails young Team India for Champions Trophy triumphNEW DELHI: The cricket fraternity on Monday hailed the Indian team's "tremendous achievement" of winning the ICC Champions Trophy
with some former players raising a toast for captain Mahendra Singh
Dhoni's "ability to rise from the ashes" and instill confidence in his
BIRMINGHAM: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was thrilled by the performance of his youthful side after they snatched a five-run win over England in the Champions Trophy final at Edgbaston.
In a match reduced by rain to 20 overs per side, World Cup holders India were restricted to 129 for seven after losing the toss in overcast conditions on Sunday.
England, after some early stumbles with the bat, needed 20 to win off the last 16 balls with six wickets in hand, only to 'choke' in a manner more usually associated with South Africa.
Ravindra Jadeja, the most successful bowler in the tournament with 12 wickets, was named man-of-the-match.
Jadeja first made a rapid 33 not out, which saw him share a partnership of 47 with Virat Kohli (43), before taking two for 24 with his left-arm spin in front of an overwhelmingly pro-Indian capacity crowd.
The 24-year-old was nicknamed "rockstar" by Australia great Shane Warne, his Indian Premier League captain at the Rajasthan Royals, because of his confidence in his own ability.
And that confidence was there for all to see after India were reduced to 66 for five batting first after losing the toss.
"Jadeja is someone who keeps it very simple," said Dhoni.
"He just looks for the right area and the ball does the talking. The good part was he contributed with the bat, which I feel is very important because he's someone who will have to bat at number seven.
"Now what we have seen is you can't play with six batsmen and five bowlers. You know, the seven number slot is very crucial," wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni added.
Meanwhile Jadeja said: "The (Edgbaston) wicket was slow and it was difficult to rotate the strike so myself and Virat Kohli built up a good partnership.
"I enjoyed bowling on this wicket, the ball was gripping and I was bowling to my strength."
India opener Shikhar Dhawan was named player of the tournament after scoring 363 runs in five matches, including two hundreds, at an average of 90.75 and an impressive strike-rate of 101.39.
His 31 in the final was his most meagre effort of the tournament but, in the context of a low-scoring match, the 27-year-old left-hander's runs were valuable all the same.
Sunday's match was only Dhawan's 10th one-day international and he was due a relative failure after a spectacular streak of success that started when he made the fastest century by a Test debutant during the course of a stunning 187 against Australia in Mohali in March -- his lone five-day outing to date.
"I think Shikhar, he has just carried forward his confidence from the Test innings that he played," said Dhoni.
"He's a slightly different character, but a fun-loving guy. At the same time, he backs himself to play those big strokes that he plays."
Dhawan, effectively kept out of the India team by Virender Sehwag, one of the most dynamic openers cricket has known, said destiny had been on his side.
"I am loving this moment, I dreamt before this tournament that I would be the man of the tournament. I feel blessed.
"It makes it more special for me that I was out of the team for two or three years. I knew I had that talent in me so I sorted out myself and I am scoring runs now."
Only the late decision by the International Cricket Council, who nearly paid for taking the gamble of scheduling a final without a reserve day, to tear up their own rulebook and find two extra hours in which to complete the match Sunday gave India a shot at victory.
Dhoni, who two years ago led India to a World Cup final win over Sri Lanka in Mumbai, was unimpressed.
"I think it's a bit unfair that in the ICC Champions Trophy 50-over format we had to play a 20-over game to find a winner.
"But still, I think they needed the result."
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