It was becoming frustrating for the both sides, India and England, to see rain disturbing the play on such an important day. It was the ICC Champions Trophy final and both these teams were playing some outstanding cricket.
Indians had come to the CT 2013 without the tag of ‘favorites’. No wonder they surprised their own self more than anybody else. They had suddenly developed the winning habit in the tournament, routeing big sides like South Africa, West Indies, arch-rivals Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the previous games. It appeared as if India will run away with the trophy.
It was not as easy as it appeared for them though in the final. England knew how to stop this Indian side. Yet, they could not stop them completely.
England had won the toss and put India to bat first in what was a rain-affected match, reduced to 20 overs a side. It was the best, chasing in such a scenario when the clouds hovered above the heads.
India were not off to a great start as Rohit Sharma walked back to the pavilion in just the 4th over of the match. Shikhar Dhawan, who was on a run-making spree, continued his good form in this match as well. He, along with Virat Kohli took India to 50 in 8 overs. After Dhawan’s departure, India began to crumble down. In no time, they found themselves at 66 for 5. Thanks to Kohli who was still there at the crease, India finished with 129 in 20 overs.
This was not what India had expected. England would have taken the target of 130 before the match. They needed to bat as well as they has bowled in the game.
Despite early losses in the form of Cook, Bell, Trott and Root, England had the game in control as Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara were guiding them towards the victory. But just then, Ishant Sharma happened.
He was being criticised throughout India’s bowling innings for bowling wrong lengths in the match but the 18th over of the match changed all opinions towards him. The lanky Indian fast bowler took two wickets in two balls to send the in-form Bopara and Morgan back into the hut. India were back in the game as Dhoni started smelling victory again.
‘Captain Cool’ did not make any mistake after that. He brought in his trump card and saviour in tough times to bowl the last over of the match. Who else? Ravichandran Ashwin.
As expected, the off-spinner delivered. India had won the match from nowhere. England who were cruising once crumbled big time. They lost 4 wickets in a matter of 4 runs.
This win could have changed fortunes for Alastair Cook who was being criticised for his dismal ODI career, both as a batsman and a captain. India’s win, on the other hand, reinforced Indian fans’ hope back in Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was slowly losing his sheen as an ODI captain for India. This final could easily be called as the tale of two great captains.