Series/Tournaments: ICC Champions Trophy
The best side always wins
India went into this tournament ranked as the world's best ODI side. Granted this was according to the ICC rankings that usually contain as much truth as your average political party press release, but they were number one none the less. Before the tournament India's bowling looked suspect and the IPL-weary squad was weighed down by the spot-fixing mayhem at home. All of this seemed to suggest that India may struggle. We were wrong. India won every game, the bowlers took wickets and kept it tight, the top three were phenomenal and the fielding was dynamic. There's no doubt now over who the No. 1 side in ODIs is.
Duckworth-Lewis is still a work in progress
Only the British could invent a sport that was dependant on weather that was rarer than an off-side shot from Ross Taylor. As a result Messrs. Duckworth and Lewis got further royalties by setting totals in rain-affected Champions Trophy matches. Despite D/L being the formula of choice for a while now, there are still some issues. The method seems to play into the hands of the chasing side, especially when combined with the new fielding restrictions in ODIs. It may be the best method we have, but it needs tweaking.
People who question Jonathan Trott are wrong
Jonathan Trott has the best ODI record of any England player in a generation. He was the second best batsman in the tournament. His strike-rate is on par with some of the very best players in the world. It's ridiculous that some people still question his place in the side.
People who question Misbah-ul-Haq are wrong too
There are Pakistan fans who don't like Misbah. This is despite him being the most consistent player they have had in years. He has led Pakistan with grace and integrity, and has always given his 100%. In the Champions Trophy he was virtually Pakistan's only batsman. While his team-mates looked about as solid as ice cream in an oven, Misbah scored twice as many runs as any other Pakistani at an average that was two times better.
India are donkeys no more
During India's 2011 tour of England, Nasser Hussain referred to the Indian fielders as donkeys. This caused much outrage, but despite the unfortunate choice of words, Hussain had a point. They were lacklustre and lazy in the field. This time around, the Indian fielding was electric. In the final England's fielding was sloppy as the occasion got to them. They conceded five overthrows, and the margin of India's victory was five runs. Perhaps England are the donkeys now.
Shikhar Dhawan has come of age
Most cricket fans would not have heard of Shikhar Dhawan before this tournament, even fewer would have heard of him before his amazing debut Test ton versus Australia in March. He has no fear, but he isn't reckless. He is an Indian batsman that can play the short ball and can cope with swing. As I write, Shikhar Dhawan is the No. 1 name on ESPNcricinfo's player search. His name could well be there every day for the next ten years.
English conditions are less English these days
Much was made of how two new balls in English conditions could be a deciding factor in this tournament. However the ball didn't swing for 90% of the tournament. Granted when it did it was tough for batsmen. In the semi-finals, both South Africa and Sri Lanka struggled when the ball moved around, but this was the exception rather than the rule. Reverse swing became more of a talking point. England got the ball moving the other way quicker than people had seen before. This led to some ball-tampering allegations - some explicit, some implied. As ever, without evidence allegations remain just that.
MS Dhoni is the first wicketkeeper-bowler
Conditions assisting swing, and two spinners in the attack - for MS Dhoni this did not present a problem. He handed the pads to Dinesh Karthik and bowled his medium-paced seamers. When he had Mahela Jayawardene adjudged lbw this seemed like the greatest piece of leadership since Winston Churchill took to the radio following the Battle of Britain. An inside edge saved Jayawardene on review, much to the disappointment of the massive Indian crowd. Dhoni went on to bowl four impressive overs. The wicketkeeper-bowler could be the future of ODIs.
South Africa didn't choke, England did
The choke is a much-discussed topic at ICC events, and usually comes up when South Africa are playing knockout games. When they failed to set a competitive total batting first at the Oval in the semi-final versus England we were assured they had choked. They didn't. A choke is when you are in a position where winning is all but assured and you still manage to lose. In the final England needed 20 runs from 16 balls with six wickets and two overs of Powerplay left, and they lost. That is a choke.
The ICC always gets away with it
There were no reserve days in this tournament. Despite rain being an ever-present threat during the period that is loosely referred to as summer in the UK, the schedule provided no wriggle room to provide extra time in the event of a rain-affected match. As the final approached the weather Edgbaston forecast veered towards the apocalyptic. The rage from cricket fans reached thermo-nuclear level as it became more and more likely on the final day that the trophy would be shared. A wholly unsatisfactory result for everyone concerned. By fudging the playing conditions at the last minute the ICC got a match in, just. As with holding the World T20 during the Sri Lankan monsoon season the ICC managed to get away with it. As the old saying goes, it is better to be lucky than good.
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