Champions Trophy: England’s pain goes on after nasty loss of nerve leads to final defeat to India

India 129-7 England 124-8: India win by 5 runs

Edgbaston

The wait goes on. For 38 years and 16 competitions England had gone without winning a global one-day trophy and now that will rise to 40 and 17 after their befuddling defeat to India in the Champions Trophy final.

In the 18th over of a tense contest which looked as though it would never take place on Sunday night, it seemed England were home and hosed.

Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara, having paced it all perfectly, were in their swashbuckling pomp. Morgan had struck a searing six already in the over and poor Ishant Sharma was bowling like a drain.

Two wides of extremely wide proportions betrayed a man staring defeat in the face. England needed 20 from 16 balls with six wickets in hand. Suddenly, Morgan made an error by pulling a slower ball to mid-wicket. Next ball, the batsmen having crossed, Bopara pulled hard but straight to square leg.

From nowhere man, Sharma was on a hat-trick. From having the game in the bag, the cat was out of it for England. Two more wickets fell as their nerve went. They lost by five runs when they might have won by five wickets.

India could hardly believe what was happening, though for MS Dhoni, their pragmatic, ineffably calm captain it was probably a normal day at the office. He had put the squeeze on England at the start and he has been round long enough to know that anything can happen in short-form cricket and often does.

Short-form cricket is precisely what it was after heavy rain swept across Birmingham soon after the toss and the playing of the national anthems in the morning. In the nick of time, minutes before the final cut-off point it ceased for long enough to make a start possible.

It was artificial, it could be nothing else. A match that was intended to be 50 overs a side, and for which both teams had planned elaborate strategies, was reduced to a Twenty20 contest in Fifty50 clothing. But that did not diminish the eventual drama a bit.

India must have felt as though they were at home in many respects. Their supporters outnumbered those of the host nation by what seemed like two to one and made the new Edgbaston seem like the old Eden Gardens. They will not remember how wretched the day was or that the game was a distorted version of what was meant to be, they will recall only that their heroes prevailed gloriously.

There was an urgency throughout the day to ensure there was some cricket, which for long enough the weather seemed certain to deny. It relented in the nick of time. Another five minutes and the regulations would not have permitted the match to start.

Yet from somewhere, the ICC unearthed some common sense. Once it had begun, they decided the play could be extended from 7.30pm to 8.30pm. Only departing aeroplanes were going to prevent them from awarding the cup.

The weather gods toyed with them for as long as possible. Once play started there were two breaks, one after 5.4 overs for barely a minute, another after 6.2 overs when the squall was less brief.

India would have liked more, many more than their 129 for 7. Their innings was fitful but never as spectacular as they would have wanted or their multitude of supporters have come to expect in the past fortnight. They were undermined from an improbable quarter. The key spell of the innings was delivered by Bopara whose changes of pace bordered on the cunning.

The most important period was that spanning the 12th, 13th and 14th overs when only three runs were added while three wickets fell. But there was admirable support from James Tredwell who has proved his worth as an international limited-overs cricketer in the past fortnight.

Together in eight overs this pair of unlikely heroes, neither of whom was earmarked for a place in the starting XI a month ago, conceded just 45 runs at a touch over 5.6 runs per over. Bopara removed Shikhar Dhawan, the man of the tournament, and bowled a double-wicket maiden besides. When he removed Dhoni for a duck, upper-cutting to Tredwell at third man, India were in deep trouble at 66 for 5. Three batsmen made significant contributions at three different stages:  Dhawan, who remained in the form of his life at the start; Virat Kohli, who fashioned some primitively effective shots which must have offended his aesthetic sensibilities but needs must in 20-over bashes; and finally Ravinda Jadeja, whose gallop at the end made a huge difference.

Needing 130 to win, England must have felt as though they were ahead. But within minutes it was clear that nothing was going to be easy.

Alastair Cook, England’s captain, guided the ball to slip where Ravichandran Ashwin clung on to a sharp catch to his right. But it was suddenly with the ball that Ashwin was at his most influential.

Despite the heavy rain which had delayed the start, the pitch was bone dry. Astonishingly, shockingly, the ball turned, bounced and spat as though it was the fifth afternoon of a Test match in Mumbai, rather than a rain-sodden, shortened limited-overs final in Birmingham.

Ashwin’s first ball turned down the leg side. It was judged a wide but Dhoni whipped off the bails in a flash and Jonathan Trott, who had begun with uncharacteristic jauntiness, was stumped by a foot.

In Ashwin’s next over, Joe Root top-edged a pull to another vicious spinner and was caught at short fine leg. When Jadeja had Ian Bell stumped in contentious circumstances, India were winning. Bell missed the ball and Dhoni again gathered sharply to take off the bails. Replays seemed not to confirm whether Bell’s foot was in the air but the third umpire, the Australian Bruce Oxenford, decreed that there was sufficient evidence.

It needed Morgan and Bopara to take the game by the scruff. It seemed they had done exactly that in assembling an increasingly dynamic partnership of 64 runs from just 58 deliveries. They had not.

 



Edgbaston scoreboard

(One Day): India beat England by 5 runs

England won toss

INDIA

R G Sharma b Broad...................................................................................................9

14 balls 0 sixes 1 fours

S Dhawan c Tredwell b Bopara........................................................................31

24 balls 1 sixes 2 fours

V Kohli c Bopara b Anderson............................................................................43

34 balls 1 sixes 4 fours

K D Karthik c Morgan b Tredwell.......................................................................6

11 balls 0 sixes 0 fours

S K Raina c Cook b Bopara......................................................................................1

6 balls 0 sixes 0 fours

*†M S Dhoni c Tredwell b Bopara.....................................................................0

4 balls 0 sixes 0 fours

R A Jadeja not out......................................................................................................33

25 balls 2 sixes 2 fours

R Ashwin run out..............................................................................................................1

1 balls 0 sixes 0 fours

B Kumar not out................................................................................................................1

1 balls 0 sixes 0 fours

Extras (w4).......................................................................................................................4

Total (for 7, 20 overs) .........................................................129

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

Did Not Bat: I Sharma, U T Yadav.

Bowling: J M Anderson 4-0-24-1, S C J Broad 4-0-26-1, T

T Bresnan 4-0-34-0, J C Tredwell 4-0-25-1, R S Bopara

4-1-20-3.

ENGLAND

*A N Cook c Ashwin b Yadav..................................................................................2

9 balls 0 sixes 0 fours

I R Bell st Dhoni b Jadeja.........................................................................................13

16 balls 0 sixes 1 fours

I J L Trott st Dhoni b Ashwin...............................................................................20

17 balls 0 sixes 2 fours

J E Root c Sharma b Ashwin..................................................................................7

9 balls 0 sixes 0 fours

E J G Morgan c Ashwin b I Sharma...............................................................33

30 balls 1 sixes 3 fours

R S Bopara c Ashwin b I Sharma...................................................................30

25 balls 2 sixes 0 fours

†J C Buttler b Jadeja..................................................................................................0

1 balls 0 sixes 0 fours

T T Bresnan run out ......................................................................................................2

4 balls 0 sixes 0 fours

S C J Broad not out........................................................................................................7

5 balls 0 sixes 1 fours

J C Tredwell not out.....................................................................................................5

4 balls 0 sixes 0 fours

Extras (1b 1, w4)............................................................................................................5

Total (for 8,20 overs) .........................................................124

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

Did Not Bat: J M Anderson.

Bowling: B Kumar 3-0-19-0, U T Yadav 2-0-10-1, R A Jadeja

4-0-24-2, R Ashwin 4-1-15-2, I Sharma 4-0-36-2, S K Raina

3-0-19-0.

Umpires: H D P K Dharmasena and R J Tucker.

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