Topsy-turvy in two deliveries...

To India, the win augurs excitingly well for the future. This is a young team, with an average age of 25.7 and the bulk of the squad will likely stay the same till the 2015 World Cup.

Virat Kohli dances after India won the ICC Champions Trophy final against England at Edgbaston cricket ground, Birmingham, on June 23, 2013.   -  Reuters

Virat Kohli went berserk at the end. He ran from the stage to fetch the champagne he’d concealed under the hoarding and sprayed his team-mates with it, soiling their natty white jackets and sending M. S. Dhoni scurrying. He then mimicked his good friend Chris Gayle, doing push-ups before unleashing a little Gangnam Style dance.

Only 15 minutes earlier he’d stood in the covers with a frown on his face, watching in despair as Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan steadily took England towards the line. When Ishant Sharma copped a six and sent down two wides in the 18th over, it looked all over, the decision to give him the ball a grave error. Then, in the space of two deliveries, it went topsy-turvy. Morgan misread a slower one and was caught by R. Ashwin on the offside, before Bopara pulled straight to the same fielder the very next moment.

It then occurred why Ishant had been chosen — Dhoni had been holding Ravindra Jadeja and Ashwin back for the batting Powerplay. The ball bit and jumped, as it had been doing all innings, and England folded.

India won the Champions Trophy before an adoring crowd, cementing its status as the world’s premier ODI team.

It might seem incredible, though, that the outcome of a major one-day tournament is decided by a 20-over game, but the rain at Edgbaston on that Sunday left no other option. The calendar is such that the ICC only had 18 days to complete the tournament in. There could thus be no reserve day. To illustrate the point, England was playing New Zealand in a T20 game at The Oval only a couple of days later.

It had seemed for a long time that there would be no game at all, and that the trophy, like 2002, would bizarrely have to be split again. Eventually, after repeated inspections, continued work from the groundsmen and extension of the playing hours, the minimum requirement of a 20-over contest was fulfilled.

Invited to bat, India lost wickets in a heap after a decent start, Ravi Bopara removing Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and Dhoni in quick succession.

Kohli and Jadeja then smacked the ball about as India ran up 129. It seemed acceptable, and when spin was introduced in the fifth over and the ball gripped and bounced, it only assured India that all was well. England was miserable against the combine of Jadeja and Ashwin (and even Raina), stifled by the dry pitch and the close-in field. Both Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell were out stumped, the latter debatably so.

Trott’s dismissal, off a wide delivery, was pivotal, Dhoni would later say. Morgan and Bopara threatened to tilt it England’s way, but with 20 needed off the last 16, their team panicked.

To India, the win augurs excitingly well for the future. This is a young team, with an average age of 25.7 and the bulk of the squad will likely stay the same till the 2015 World Cup. Dhawan, the Player of the Series and its highest scorer with 363 runs, has been a revelation. His golden run may not last forever and there will be failure but it appears he will not be affected again. Dhawan’s batting was symbolic of India’s rampant run to the final — bold, zestful, and unwilling to take a step back.

Jadeja, who was the Champions Trophy’s leading wicket-taker with 12 scalps, has also firmly occupied the all-rounder’s berth. “Shikhar has just carried forward his confidence from the Test innings that he played. He went into the IPL with an injury. But as soon as he became fit, he was scoring freely. 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,” Dhoni said after the win.

“Jadeja is someone who keeps it very simple. Just looks for the right area and the ball does the talking. The good part was that he contributed with the bat. The seven number slot is very crucial, and he’s the only one out of nine that can really do that job for us.”

The win assumes greater importance for the players left the country under the shadow cast by the IPL spot-fixing affair and the BCCI squabbles thereafter. They could easily have been distracted by it, but they weren’t.

It is tempting to read too much into India’s success in England for pitches were drier than usual and there will be greater tests ahead, particularly in five-day cricket where India has had a terrible recent record overseas. But it has been an encouraging two weeks, the fielding in particular giving plenty of cause for hope.

It has also been a good time for the last Champions Trophy (unless the ICC does a rethink). The tournament, with its duration and the excitement it generated, will be deemed a success.

The end may have been farcical but India, the second team to hold the Champions Trophy and the World Cup at the same time, will not be complaining.

THE SCORES:

India v England, Edgbaston, June 23, 2013.

India: R. Sharma b Broad 9; S. Dhawan c Tredwell b Bopara 31; V. Kohli c Bopara b Anderson 43; D. Karthik c Morgan b Tredwell 6; S. Raina c Cook b Bopara 1; M. Dhoni c Tredwell b Bopara 0; R. Jadeja (not out) 33; R. Ashwin (run out) 1; B. Kumar (not out) 1; Extras (w-4) 4. Total (for seven wkts., in 20 overs) 129.

Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-50, 3-64, 4-66, 5-66, 6-113, 7-119.

England bowling: Anderson 4-0-24-1; Broad 4-0-26-1; Bresnan 4-0-34-0; Tredwell 4-0-25-1; Bopara 4-1-20-3.

England: A. Cook c Ashwin b Yadav 2; I. Bell st. Dhoni b Jadeja 13; J. Trott st. Dhoni b Ashwin 20; J. Root c Ishant b Ashwin 7; E. Morgan c Ashwin b Ishant 33; R. Bopara c Ashwin b Ishant 30; J. Buttler b Jadeja 0; T. Bresnan (run out) 2; S. Broad (not out) 7; J. Tredwell (not out) 5; Extras (lb-1, w-4) 5. Total (for eight wkts., in 20 overs) 124.

Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-28, 3-40, 4-46, 5-110, 6-110, 7-112, 8-113.

India bowling: Kumar 3-0-19-0; Yadav 2-0-10-1; Jadeja 4-0-24-2; Ashwin 4-1-15-2; Ishant 4-0-36-2; Raina 3-0-19-0.

The article was published on Sportstar's print magazine, issue dated July 6, 2013.