India added another jewel in their crown by defeating Sri Lanka in the tri-series final in West Indies. Incredibly, Team India came back from the verge of being knocked out, having lost the first two matches, to go on and win the tournament. The manner in which they fought back and even ended on top of the league table was amazing, and showed that they weren’t satisfied even after winning the Champions Trophy event. For most part, India were without their skipper MS Dhoni, in the absence of which Virat Kohli handed the task rather ably considering his inexperience. As India celebrate another series triumph, here’s a look at India’s heroes in the tri-series.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: With 10 wickets in four games, Kumar was the most impressive of all bowlers in the tournament. India struggled miserably in the only game that he was not played – in their first clash against Sri Lanka – managing to pick only one wicket in their entire quota of 50 overs. It was thanks to Kumar’s superb spell of 4 for 8 that India managed to defeat Sri Lanka in their do-or die league clash. In the final as well, he gave India a great start, sending back the openers.
Rohit Sharma: Throughout his career, Sharma has been chastised for not converting his starts into big scores. This series was no different. But considering the tough conditions for batsmen on offer, it must be said that he made a significant contribution. Among his starts, his unbeaten 48 in the last league match against Sri Lanka was important since it gave the bowlers a decent score to bowl at in the rain-curtailed game. Under pressure, he also came up with a fighting half-century in the final before the pitch did him in.
Ravindra Jadeja: The left-arm spinner did not get off to the desired start in the tri-series, failing to get a single wicket in the initial two games of the tournament while also being highly expensive. But, he fought back exceedingly well in the last three games. He made crucial contributions that helped India win the last two matches that they won prior to the final. In the summit clash then he was at his very best. His figures of 4 for 23 in the final ensured that Sri Lanka were kept down to a gettable total, which they chased down in the end after much trouble.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: What does one say about the Indian skipper? He played the opening match of the tri-series, during which he hurt himself while batting and was ruled out of the event. In his absence, India looked listless for a while, but recovered well enough. However, it is a fact that India would not have won the title had Dhoni not shocked everyone by turning up in the final in spite of not being completely fit. His nonchalantly calm, unbeaten 45 was the innings of the final, and the manner in which he finished off the game was just another gentle reminder of his genius.
--By A Cricket Analyst