Dhawan and Jadeja go bang-bang again as India enters the Final

Dhawan and Jadeja

By Kersi Meher-Homji

It seems India’s super star Shikhar Dhawan cannot put a foot wrong. He is the star of the current ICC Champions Trophy. Whatever he touches turns to gold and runs. He was lucky too as he was dropped three times during his breezy innings of 68 (off 92 balls, hitting 6 fours and a six) on Thursday.

But this was on a seamy spinning spiteful pitch on which Sri Lanka, a strong batting side, could make only 8 for 181 in 50 overs.

In four CT 2013 matches, Dhawan has scored 332 runs at a terrific average of 110.66 and a strike-rate of 99.40. No one else has touched 300, Sri Lanka’s master bat Kumar Sangakkara coming next with 222 runs at 74.00.

Now India meets England in the Final.

This is how the Indian moustached “marauder” has gone in this tournament; 114 against South Africa, 102 not out against the West Indies, 48 v. Pakistan and now 68 against Sri Lanka. Not even the crowd invaders could disturb his sublime concentration in the semi-final.

Only two batsmen have scored centuries in CT 2013 and he has hit two. Sangakkara has top scored with an unbeaten 134. Dhawan has smashed 33 fours and 3 sixes in CT 13. No one else has hit 22 fours so far.

It is not just the runs and fours that has put Dhawan so high in my opinion. Remember he had scored a magnificent 187 in the Mohali Test in his famous Test debut against Australia in March. It was a masterly innings.

His foot work is near perfect. So is his temperament. When he is dropped, he just smiles and carries on regardless. He is one for the future.

If India wins tomorrow [Sunday] it would be her second most memorable moment in England in three decades ago. In 1983 the little fancied Indians under Kapil Dev had surprised the reigning champions West Indies in the famous final at Lord’s on 24th June.

Will history repeat itself as India take on Alastair Cook’s Englishmen on 23rd June, 30 years almost to the date?

England has James Anderson as perhaps the best fast bowler in the tournament. But then India has Ravindra Jadeja as the best spinner. He is the only one to take a 5-fer (10-2-36-5 v. the Windies last week). Here are their almost parallel figures in CT 13:

Both have taken 10 wickets, Anderson at an average of 12.70 with an economy rate of 3.84 (best figures 3 for 30), Jadeja averaging 13.00 with an economy rate of 3.51. Both bowled superbly in their semi-finals. Watching Jadeja spinning the ball against Sri Lanka on Thursday was like going back to the Shane Warne days.

Apart from Dhawan, his opening partner Rohit Sharma has been scoring consistently. And there is Virat Kohli as a spectacular middle order batsman and Suresh Raina as an acrobatic fielder in the slips.

In MS Dhoni they have an inspiring leader who can ”˜keep, bat and even bowl.

New India excels in fielding, something quite novel in their cricketing history.

Cricket is a funny game but I predict India to win.

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