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Friday, June 07, 2013

Champions Trophy 2013 - terrific start by India

Helped by their share of luck, the Indian team put it past a similar inexperienced South African squad at Cardiff in the first match of the 2013 Champions Trophy.

In the first match since 1987 where Sachin Tendulkar did not figure in an ICC tournament, the Indian line-up was quite a different one with the absence of Sehwag, Gambhir, Yuvraj and Harbhajan altogether. Similarly, the opposition were missing big names like Jacques Kallis and Greame Smith (as well as Dale Steyn who was injured).

Rohit Sharma was given another chance by his skipper, this time at the top of the order, to prove himself. And he finally delivered in the company of Shikhar Dhawan. Dhawan's confidence after his debut century has been sky-high and after this century he will grow further. Just like how Ravindra Jadeja's batting has flourished in recent times. The allrounder settled down in the company of his captain and then blasted the bowling to all corners in the slog overs. His innings ensured that Dhoni's untimely dismissal was not felt much by the team.

Umesh Yadav took the price wickets of Hashim Amla and AB De Viliers but was costly otherwise. His dismissal of AB was well thought when he changed the ball on seeing the batsman advance. The spinners brought India back into the reckoning with the support of the brilliant fielding unit. It is a refreshing change to see this unit guard their turf with the spirit of tigers. The bowlers have once again given away 300+ runs and it must be a concern to Dhoni - might be a good idea to drop Ashwin and bring back Irfan Pathan for cover. The current strategy for the captain now is to score more than what his bowlers leak and that is working for the last three games in England so far (including the warm-up matches).

All in all, a good win for India to start the tournament. If they can get one past West Indies, it looks like they will move to the next stage mostly. But, it will do them no harm to remain guarded throughout. 
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