India captain MS Dhoni was thrilled by the performance of his young side after they snatched a six-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.
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. The hosts were restricted to 124 for eight.
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.
“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.”
When asked what he told his team when they took the field in defence of a modest total, Dhoni said, “I said let’s look for a good start, that’s something that’s very critical, don’t look at the result.
“The first and foremost thing was don’t look up, God is not coming to save you, you have to fight it out. We’re the number one ranked team, let’s play like that.”
Dhawan cherishes tournament title
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. The final was 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 Dhawan 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 said destiny had been on his side.
“I dreamt before this tournament that I would be the man of the tournament,” said Dhawan. “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.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2013.
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