Winners of the Champions Trophy, India have never been this dominant in a tournament before. They stumbled at a few places even during the 2011 World Cup win, but this Champions Trophy win was blemish-less. Right from the practice games to the final, they were on top of their game, and deservedly ended up as champions. As India celebrate their latest moment of glory, we look back at the men who made the memorable victory possible for India.
Shikhar Dhawan: Without doubt the player who made the biggest impact of all. Dhawan had come to England with an enhanced reputation following his majestic Test debut against the Aussies back at home, and he will go back having made an even bigger name. There was not a single game in which the left-hander failed. His tons against South Africa and West Indies were top class, and his half-century against Sri Lanka went a long way in taking India to the finals. Even in the game against Pakistan, he ensured that there was no hiccup chasing a small target. Although he made his lowest score of 31 in the final, in a 20-over match it was a crucial contribution. With 363 runs from five games, Dhawan rocked.
Ravindra Jadeja: He might not be an all-rounder in the literal sense, but through his performances in this Champions Trophy, he has proved that he can win games for the side both with bat and ball. Jadeja was particularly effective with the ball, picking up 12 wickets to end up as the leading wicket-taker in the tournament. His two wickets in the final had a big role to play in India’s win. In fact, he contributed with the ball right throughout, including a five-wicket spell against West Indies. As for his batting, he made an impact on both the occasions he stepped out in the middle. Against South Africa, he blasted an unbeaten 47 and in the final his 33 not out was worth its weight in gold.
Virat Kohli: It was a tough choice between Kohli and Rohit Sharma, but our vote goes to India’s number three since he fired under pressure. Kohli got starts in the group games but was guilty of not converting them into big scores. In the semi-final though, his unbeaten half-century made sure there was not hiccup for India. In the final, he rose to the occasion again. With India in all sorts of strife, Kohli’s 43 gave the team something to bowl at.
Ravichandran Ashwin: Up until the semi-final and the final, Ashwin was having a mundane time. But, cometh the man, cometh the hour. Just like Kohli, he raised his game when it mattered the most. His three-for in the semi-final went a long way in putting Sri Lanka out of the contest, and in the final as well it was his probing spell that turned the game.
Ishant Sharma: The lanky medium pacer wasn’t consistent. However, he delivered just when India wanted, and luck favoured him as well. He was the man of the match in the semi-final for his three wickets, and though he was expensive in the final, his wickets off consecutive deliveries allowed India to claw back, and clinch the Champions Trophy.
--By A Cricket Analyst