India deny England in nail-biter

AFP, BIRMINGHAM, England

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 - Page 20

India added the Champions Trophy title to the World Cup they won two years ago after seeing off England by five runs in a dramatic final at Edgbaston in Birmingham, England, on Sunday.

Tournament hosts England, still to win a major one-day international title, appeared to have done the hard work in holding India to 129-7 in a match reduced by rain to 20 overs per side, but, chasing 130, they collapsed to 46-4, before a partnership of 64 between left-hander Eoin Morgan (33) and Ravi Bopara (30), who also took three for 20 with his medium-pacers, swung the match back their way.

However, India seamer Ishant Sharma turned the match on its head by removing Morgan and Bopara off successive deliveries, leaving England needing 19 off the last 12 balls for victory.

The target eventually became six off one ball and that proved too much for tailender James Tredwell as he failed to make contact against fellow off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

Ravindra Jadeja was named man of the match for making 33 not out and taking two for 24 with his left-arm spin.

India’s win left England still searching for their first major one-day international trophy after defeats in three World Cup finals (1979, 1987 and 1992) and a loss to the West Indies at The Oval in the 2004 Champions Trophy final when they last staged this event.

“We handled the pressure really well,” said India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, one of just three survivors, along with Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina, from the side that beat Sri Lanka in the 201l World Cup final in Mumbai, India. “People talk about technique, but the better players are the ones who respond to the pressure.”

England captain Alastair Cook, suffering his first major setback as skipper just a few weeks before he leads the Test team in their defense of the Ashes against Australia, said his side had fallen at the last.

“I’m proud of the way the lads responded to pressure in this tournament and we just fell short today,” Cook said.

England’s reply suffered an early setback when Cook was well caught in the slips for 2 by Ashwin off Umesh Yadav.

Jonathan Trott and Joe Root both came and went, before Ian Bell, like Trott playing on his Warwickshire home ground, was stumped by Dhoni off Jadeja.

It was a close call, but Australian third umpire Bruce Oxenford eventually ruled in India’s favor and England were 46-4.

“I thought it was a poor decision,” an unusually outspoken Cook said.

England needed 48 off 30 balls after Bopara launched Ishant Sharma for six. Morgan then weighed in with a reverse-swept four off part-time spinner Raina.

However, Morgan then holed out and Bopara, off what might have been a wide had he left it alone, was caught hooking by Ashwin at square-leg.

Jos Buttler was bowled for a duck by Jadeja and Tim Bresnan was run out as the match slipped from England’s grasp.

Earlier, the organizers, in what was meant to be a 50 overs per side contest, took the unusual decision to extend play by two hours to ensure a result in front of a packed crowd, after opting against a reserve day.

England, who won the toss in overcast conditions, dismantled India’s top order, with the visitors reduced to 66-5 after play was delayed by nearly six hours.

However, India, who shared the 2002 Champions Trophy after a rain-ruined final against Sri Lanka in Colombo, were revived by Kohli and Jadeja’s quickfire stand of 47.

Kohli smashed 43 off 34 balls that included four fours and a six, before he holed out off James Anderson in the penultimate over.

Jadeja faced 25 balls for his unbeaten 33.

Left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan, who went into the final as the tournament’s leading scorer with 332 runs in four matches, hit 31 off 24 balls — including a six over third-man off Stuart Broad.

However, Dhawan was dismissed off Bopara’s second delivery and the all-rounder then removed Raina and Dhoni, out for a duck after uppercutting to third man, in the space of four balls.