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Birmingham: India clinched the ICC Champions Trophy, in its last edition, with a nerve-wracking five-run victory over hosts England in a rain-hit final here today, giving their captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the unique record of being the first captain to win three world titles.
After frustrating showers reduced the contest to a T20 affair, India first scored 129 for seven and then restricted England to 124 for eight in a topsy-turvy game that went down to the wire. Ravindra Jadeja (33 no and 2/24) made another all-round contribution which proved to be telling in the context of the match.
The sizeable Indian crowd erupted in joy when Ravichandran Ashwin (2/15) finished the final over with James Tredwell unable to hit the required six off the last delivery.
Skipper Dhoni jumped in joy as the delirious Indian players hugged each others while the others were busy collecting souvenir stumps to mark another remarkable chapter in Indian cricket history.
This was India’s second Champions Trophy title having won the first one jointly with Sri Lanka back in 2002. That India won the championship two days before the 30th anniversary of maiden World Cup triumph back on June 25, 1983.
India got a big breakthrough when skipper Alastair Cook guided one to Ravichandran Ashwin at first slip off Umesh Yadav’s bowling. England’s form-man Jonathan Trott (20) hit a couple of sweetly timed boundaries but Ashwin got better of him.
Coming from round the wicket, he drew Trott forward with an off-break that pitched on leg-stump and turned as rival skipper Dhoni completed a smart stumping.
From 28 for two, it soon became 40 for three as Ashwin accounted for Joe Root with his ‘leg-theory’. It was another delivery tossed in line of the leg-stump as Root mistimed a pull-shot and was holed in the deep by Ishant Sharma.
Ian Bell (13) could consider himself unlucky as he got a raw deal from third umpire Bruce Oxenford. He was adjudged stumped off Jadeja’s bowling when TV replays showed that Bell had got his foot back before Dhoni was able to whip off the bails.
At 46 for four, England were in dire straits with their best T20 player Eoin Morgan (33) at the crease. Along with Ravi Bopara (30), the duo added 64 runs for the fifth wicket before Ishant dealt a double blow.
First he removed Morgan who fetched a slower to be caught by Ashwin at mid-wicket. Then he bowled a short one which was again gobbled by Ashwin standing at square leg this time.
From 110 for four, England slumped to 113 for eight losing four wickets in the addition of only three runs.
The last few overs turned out to be interesting as man-of-the-match Jadeja gave only four runs of the penultimate over and also got Jos Butler out.
With 15 required of the final over, Ashwin kept his cool to mix it up well and gave only 10 runs in the end.
Earlier, Indian top-order failed to deliver when it mattered the most as they were restricted to a modest 129 for seven by a disciplined England attack.
Couple of stoppages after the match finally started also didn’t help India’s cause. Barring in-form Shikhar Dhawan (31) and Virat Kohli (43, 34 balls, 4×4, 1×6), none of the other top-order batsmen made significant contribution after India were put into bat.
Kohli and Jadeja (33 no)added 47 runs for the sixth wicket after India were reduced to 66 for five.
Ravi Bopara’s (3/20 in 4 overs) brilliant incisive spell in the middle overs proved to be invaluable for England’s cause as the largely untested Indian middle-order couldn’t stand up and be counted on the D-Day.
Rohit Sharma (9) yet again baffled one and all as he played an irresponsible shot off a Broad delivery which came in after pitching. Rohit didn’t have any footwork as he played across the line to get castled.
India had set a target of 130 in 20 overs which the hosts failed to chase down, finishing 124 for eight in the rain-marred match.
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