What next for India after winning the Champions Trophy?

Championship trophy pic1

By Kersi Meher-Homji

What a Final! What a thriller last Sunday!

Shortened from 50 to 20 overs due to heavy rains, it went down the wire, to the very last ball. England needed a 6 off the final ball to win but failed to get a run and India won the Champions Trophy by five runs.

India was at a disadvantage as they were sent in to bat by England’s captain Alistair Cook on a wet pitch.

It was India’s first Champions Trophy (CT) victory although they had shared it with Sri Lanka in 2002-03.

India thoroughly deserved to win CT this year because they were the only undefeated team, winning all their matches comfortably.

Despite the wet pitch India opened their batting aggressively with Shikhar “Dhan dhama dhum” Dhawan (31) and Rohit Sharma. They batted as if it was an IPL match and when Sharma was dismissed, Virat Kohli (43) took over. With Man of the Match Virender Jadeja contributing an unbeaten 33 India posted 7 for 129 in 20 overs.

Needing 130 for a win, England was on target scoring 4 for 110 with Eoin Morgan (30) and Ravi Bopara (30 with two sixes) in control.

England needed only 20 runs for a victory in 15 balls. But skipper MS Dhoni kept his cool and gave the ball to the tall, long-haired Ishant Sharma. After bowling two wides he dismissed both the in-form batsmen off two balls and the match tilted India’s way.

And India won the Final off the final ball.

Dhawan was the well-deserved Man of the Series scoring 363 runs at 90.75 and at an amazing strike rate of 101.39. The next best batsman was England’s Jonathan Trott with 229 runs, 134 runs behind Dhawan. The dynamic Dhawan was also the only one to hit two centuries.

Of the five batsmen to score over 175 runs in the CT 2013, three were Indians (Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Kohli).

Jadeja took the most number of wickets, 12, at a superb average of 12.83 and an economy rate of 3.75. He was the only one to capture 5 wickets in an innings.

Thus it was a golden grand-slam for Dhoni and his youthful team which includes a balanced attack of pace and spin as well as batsmen who think nothing is beyond them. Also they fielded like acrobats.

So far so good, but is this a flash in the span or the dawn of a new era involving talented and confident new faces? Only time will tell. Starting on Friday India plays a Tri-Nation series in West Indies also involving Sri Lanka.

The Final of this series is on 11th July. One hopes they carry on this marvellous form in West Indies.

Let us salute cool cat captain Dhoni. Under him India has won all ICC Trophies; World Cup in 2011, ICC World T20 earlier on and now the Champions Trophy.

To quote Sourav Ganguly, the former Indian captain and currently TV commentator, “Dhoni has been an outstanding captain. His record as captain is terrific. He still has a lot of cricket left in him and he has done wonders to Indian cricket”.

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