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Monday, June 24, 2013

India wins Champions Trophy - smart captaincy by MS Dhoni

They call South Africans chokers and would blame everybody else for poor organizing skills…….

The Champions Trophy fortunately did not turn a damp squib though the final of the 8 Nation tourney was much different than what it was intended to be….. the tournament of 50 overs had a T20 ending……… Ishant Sharma’s 18th over turned the tide in India’s favour and the final over of Ashwin sealed the game.  India could successfully defend the target of 130 and won by 4 runs ~ Dhoni jumped with joy as celebrations followed.  The score card would read : India 129 for 7 (Kohli 43, Jadeja 33*, Bopara 3-20) beat England 124 for 8 (Morgan 30, Ashwin 2-15, Jadeja 2-24) by 4 runs ~ but there was more drama than the details could elucidate.

As one kept watching TV for updates and refreshing Cric webs – there was rain and more of it – weather had already curtailed many of the matches during the tournament and the finals after loss of time due to rain was to be a 20 overs each finals.  England on their home turf won the toss and chose to bowl – the chase is always better – more so if DL were to come to play…

So in the circumstances Dhoni sure deserves praise for his handling of the team – the field placement which had slip, gully and silly point for spinners; the most expensive bowler Ishant turning out to take 2 crucial wickets in his last over and Ashwin dishing out the last over in style…  With three overs left and 28 to get - Umesh Yadav had two to go, Ashwin, Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar one each - Dhoni went to Ishant. Prior to that 40 required of 24; 6 wickets in hand  – Jadeja bowled.  Ishant’s 17.2 disappeared for a six and 3rd was a wide….then he got Morgan and off the next got Ravi Bopara too… 19th again bowled by Jadeja who got Butler out.  Off the last over 15 required Chris Broad and Treadwell playing… 2nd ball went for a 4 bringing it to 11 off 4.  6 required off the last and Tredwell was beaten by the turn allowing Dhoni to jump in joy…

The Man of the Match  was  Ravindra Jadeja; Shikhar Dhawan won the golden bat.  For fans, Mahindra Dhoni is the only captain to win  T20, 50 over world cup and Champions trophy.  [not to speak of IPL and Champions League] ~ a great match when you know that India was 66 for 5 at one stage. For Indians who won all the 5 matches, this was hardly the ideal setting – the toss was for a 50 over aside, Indians had breaks two of them in between, while England had a T20 chase ! ~ the match should have been played today……… but there was no tomorrow and hence played ~ still India won.

The organization was a mess - a final without a reserve day when it rained throughout the tournament.  So much planning go into minute details of sponsors, selling TV rights, tickets and other things inside the stadium but the spectators always get the raw deal. If it rains for a week then you cannot do much about it. But by not planning to have a reserve day and forcing a game, the administrators exhibited their lack of care for the millions of fans who keep the game alive.

The 1979 World Cup was lost after a dreary but huge opening partnership of  Mike Brearley and Geoff Boycott; 1987 was lost with a reverse sweep of Mike Gatting and in 1992 Imran and Injie took the cup away…. In 2004 Champions Trophy – it was almost won but Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw played innings of their lifetime……….and now it was Team India…. Well done Dhoni’s men…

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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