Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Why India's 2013 Champions Trophy win is better than 2011 World Cup

The No 1-ranked One-Day International (ODI) team in the world, India, remained unbeaten throughout the ICC Champions Trophy 2013, thereby backing up their 2011 World Cup win with another ODI trophy. Jaideep Vaidya reasons as to why this win appears better and more satisfying than the one two years ago.
Like a student hopping mad after topping the class in an examination, the usually constrained India captain MS Dhoni could not resist the urge to bounce up and down in glee when James Tredwell failed to score a six off the final ball of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013. Two years ago in Mumbai, on a humid April evening, Dhoni had himself deposited the ball over wide long-on for half a dozen off what turned out to be the last ball of the match to win India their first ODI World Cup after 28 years. Even then, his emotions were in check and provided no comparison whatsoever to the ones seen recently at Edgbaston on an overcast June evening. The Champions Trophy is far from being the Holy Grail of cricket, even though this was the last edition of the tournament. So, what could have possibly delighted Indian cricket's 'Iceman' so much as to warrant such an extravagant, by his standards, celebration?

Perhaps it was the manner in which India won the final — overturning a sure-shot defeat, after leaving England with a meagre 130 to chase in 20 overs and then watching them coast along to 110 for four, only to spark an inconceivable collapse. India took four wickets in the space of seven balls, even as England fell short by five runs in the end to cap a spectacular choke. Comparatively, the World Cup final was a damp squib where India chased down 275 with 10 deliveries to spare, and were never really out of the game. There, Dhoni had scored an unbeaten 91 and had taken his team home. Here, he had a duck to his name after India batted first and had to rely on his bowlers and his acumen as a captain to mastermind a way through. Given how he reacted, perhaps this was more satisfying.

Perhaps it was also because of the troubles the Indian team had left home prior to the tournament. A vicious spot-fixing saga was usurping Indian cricket like a giant whirlpool just as Dhoni and his men prepared to set sail for England. The captain of the ship chose to keep his crew away from the eye of the storm and single-handedly steered the vessel through all the allegations with a serene look on his face, even as the spiteful, headline-hungry media sharks looked to dent and disfigure it. The clash of the eight best ODI teams in the world had taken a backseat. It seemed no one back home really cared how India would fare in the tournament; it seemed as if everyone was just waiting for the team to crash out at the earliest so that they could all jump on the team like a pack of hungry, ferocious wolves. Continue Reading...


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