Edgbaston saw a sizeable Indian contingent turn out to cheer for the Men in Blue, as they took on the hosts in the final of the last edition of the Champions Trophy. I sometimes wonder why our beloved expats realise India’s worth (if only in sports) only when they stay away from the country – they could very well have cheered in India too. Nevertheless, it was a fine game of cricket, and the Indian team ran out winners by 5 runs to win their maiden ICC Champions Trophy title. Here are some snapshots of the action from Edgbaston:
Takes a T20 to decide a 50-over Game:
You know, in some ways, Twenty20 is actually good for ODI cricket. Otherwise how would the excitement of witnessing a low-scoring humdinger occur? With rains continuously playing spoilsport for much of the day, it led to a reduced game of 40 overs – 40 of the most thrilling overs in the entire tournament. The kind of thrill a T20 game generates is only seen towards the end of the innings in a 100-over match. Plus, you never know which side would win. I wish the ICC had given more thought towards the weather factor- they could have converted the Champions Trophy into the World T20 championships, given that almost all games were affected by the rains. Everyone wanted a complete final – and they got it too!
No Doughnut for Rohit:
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have had a magnificent run right throughout the tournament, having raised quite a few 50-plus stands for the first wicket. However, things had to change, and most unfortunately, it had to happen in the final. I suspect Rohit added all those runs because he’s a fan of doughnuts, and was extremely hungry owing to the frequent rain breaks. So he did the most obvious thing – he played a casual stroke and was castled. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Dhawan found his opening partner munching happily on the sugary snack instead of coming out to the balcony and watching the proceedings!
The Talented Mr. Bopara:
Ravinder Singh Bopara is England’s Jack of All Trades. His military medium pace proved rather effective today, as he bagged three crucial Indian wickets. He almost won the game for his side with a breezy knock too. His exploits just proved what I’ve been saying for years: It takes an Indian-origin guy to dismiss Indian batsmen. Bopara may not have been able to take his side over the finish line, but he did leave his mark on the match: he managed to put Ishant Sharma off his line with that six of his!
Ishant Sharma- From Zero to Hero:
This guy needs a haircut. I say that in all seriousness. With the conditions being windy and overcast, Ishant’s dreadfully long locks resulted in him spraying the ball all over the wicket during England’s chase. Though he did come back well with two wickets off consecutive deliveries, his shaggy mane proved to be his bane as he steamed in to bowl. One suggestion, Ishant: Lose the locks. They turn you into a declaration bowler – wayward and predictable.
Turning Point – The Trott and Morgan Dismissals
It’s easy to determine where England lost the plot during the chase. A blazing Jonathan Trott had struck fear into the hearts of the Indian camp with his free-flowing strokeplay (he had to do it for the local crowd – after all, he was the home-town hero) that made the young Bhuvneshwar Kumar look ordinary. Ashwin’s guile lured him into giving up his wicket, and he “Trotted” off with his tail between his legs. Eoin Morgan, who fancies himself as a left-handed MS Dhoni in terms of finishing, played a rank poor shot to a rather straight delivery. I guess the tag of chokers is misplaced – SA was handed it, England actually deserve it.
For a considerable period of time, I feared that the last edition of this tournament would meet a watery end (no, not the Karan Johar kind). But the Rain Gods were surprisingly in India’s corner today. The Men in Blue were overwhelming deserving winners of the trophy, overcoming all the sadness created by spot-fixing and betting allegations back home, In what was a clinical performance, they did not even lose a single game to their opponents. They started with a win over Sri Lanka in the warm-up game, and didn’t look back since then. Let’s just hope they keep the momentum going – and ensure a fresh supply of doughnuts for our dear Rohit Sharma!
Congratulations MSD and Team India – Winners, ICC Champions Trophy 2013!