For Indian fans, the 2013 Champions Trophy win in England was akin to reminiscing and reliving what they had missed in 1983, up to an extent. It established India as the new dynasty in ODIs as they won back-to-back ICC ODI events but what if the Champions Trophy final was a full 50-overs game?
We all have had moments in our lives when we stood at crossroads with two diverging paths, and we decided to go one way. But as big a nostalgia merchants as we humans are, we keep going back to such times thinking what if we took the other path? And that's what we at SportsCafe do for cricket fans in this segment, so why take the pain. And today, we have come up with the 2013 Champions Trophy final, which was reduced to a 20-overs game owing to showers, which always left us wondering what if it was a 50-overs game? Tie up your seat belts and experience it today.
As we get closer to the big final between England and India in the 2013 Champions Trophy in Edgbaston, there are high chances of showers but rain gods go easy as MS Dhoni wins the toss and elects to field.. Jeez! "Is MSD crazy to bowl first, doesn't he remember that we have won all our ICC trophies batting first," gush Indian fans recalling horrors of the 2003 World Cup final. But MS being MS, a master tactician, he wants Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma to take full advantage of the moisture with cloud cover hovering around.
England doesn't lose a wicket in the first 10 overs but all they make is 30 runs with Captain Cook and Ian Bell battling conditions, with the former continuing his awful struggle that has symbolized his tourney. Amidst the cloud and cheering crowd, MS brings R Ashwin and he sends back Cook. Bell gets run-out by Trott's poor calling and sensing the situation, England sends Eoin Morgan to keep the left-right combo going. England reaches 150 in 40 overs thanks to Morgan's exemplary knock and it looks England will end with 250 but Ishant Sharma ensures that regular wickets keep England in check as all they manage is 230 with Morgan top-scoring with 85.
Chasing 231 on a tricky pitch, it has all the ingredients of a showdown as the score just keeps about both teams interested. But dear O dear, James Anderson, cloud cover, well that nightmarish, unwanted dream turns into a reality as he blows away India's top-order with the ease of an artist at his zenith. Hey, wait what? MS Dhoni is coming out to bat at 5, trying to do the 2011 WC final? Eh! But it's the Dinesh Karthik show in the middle as he is finally putting his god-esque form from practice games in the biggest game of his life. India are 160 for 3 staring at an easy win. But then comes the anti-climax, Dhoni runs out DK, who made a run-a-ball 80.
OMG! It's going bonkers as James Tredwell takes a freaking hat-trick in the grand finale. He gets Dhoni and then preys on Raina and Jadeja. Dhoni's promotion exposed India's two lefties to Tredwell, who feasts on them. Despite the Ashwin-Bhuvi partnership, Steve Finn, with his raw pace finishes the game in style as England win the final by 30 runs as it's a terrible collapse for India.
What happens after 2013 CT?
In India, there is sadness all around, but England are doing a 2005 Ashes post-celebration as it's an open-top-bus parade in London as the country is engulfed with the joy of their first-ever 50-overs ICC event win. Eoin Morgan's popularity soars even though it was Cook, who was the captain and so does Steve Finn's stocks. For India, Suresh Raina is under scrutiny as he averaged 8.50 in the event with his weakness against short deliveries again laid bare and also Umesh Yadav for his consistency.
Mohit Sharma, who had taken 20 wickets in IPL before CT, is picked as Yadav is dropped for the West Indies tri-series. India decides against dropping Raina, giving him one more chance. Karthik, who was India's hero in the CT final continues his great run of form as he and Dhoni help India win the final overcoming Sri Lanka.
On the other hand, England's first major ODI assignment after the Champions Trophy comes against Australia with Cook missing the series and England beating their rivals with the stand-in-skipper, Morgan averaging 47.33 and whispers of him taking over the captaincy starts to make the headlines.
The Big South Africa, New Zealand Test
After winning back-to-back home ODI series against Australia and West Indies, India, high on confidence, head to South Africa, which will be followed by a tour to New Zealand. But Suresh Raina is dropped for his inconsistent performances with Yuvraj Singh making a return. The South Africa ODIs end at 1-1 with a game washed away as Mohit Sharma, with his maiden fifer, helps India win the second game after a loss in the opening encounter.
In New Zealand, the Men in Blue replicate their 2008 ODI run as they triumph over the hosts 3-2 with the magical duo of Kohli and Dhoni getting full support from their new no.4 Dinesh Karthik as top-order fails miserably. On the bowling front, Mohammed Shami, who ends with 11 wickets in five games, is aided by India's new rising pace sensation Mohit Sharma.
Morgan pips Cook, fights for KP
While in Australia, it's all going all down for England as they lose the 2013/14 Ashes followed by an embarrassing ODI series defeat. Cook is getting bashed from all quarters. On other hand, his deputy Eoin Morgan again shines with 282 runs in five ODIs at 56.40 while all that Cook manages is a meager 144 at 28.80.
It's meltdown time in England and sees Alastair Cook getting dropped from the ODI side with Eoin Morgan appointed as the new limited-overs skipper just after last year Cook led England to their maiden Champions Trophy title.
Just ahead of the WT20, the newly appointed Eoin Morgan demands the return of Kevin Pietersen for the mega event, who was dropped for being 'disengaged' from team activities during the Ashes drubbing. This has turned into a hot potato with lengthy TV debates going on, some in favour of Morgan's demand, some against it. But Morgan is ready to stick his neck out given KP's experience in Asia and his role in England's only T20 World Cup win as he is meeting ECB's top brass in several high profile meetings.
And finally, the captain gets his team. Not only KP, but Morgan also makes sure that Ben Stokes makes it to the team as he is left impressed with his century in Perth in the 2013 Ashes, and how good a T20 package he can be. Senior bowler Stuart Broad is dropped owing to his dry run in white-ball cricket since 2013 CT. England are looking a dangerous side with the likes of KP, Morgan, Stokes, Buttler, Hales, Tredwell, Finn, Jordan, and Moeen in their ranks going into the big event.
For the World T20, India overlook Rahane and Raina. They pick Sanju Samson as the back-up opener, who won the Emerging Player's Award in the IPL and also made 530 runs at 58.88 in the 2013/14 Ranji season to stamp his authority. Dinesh Karthik continues in the team ahead of Suresh Raina.
The 2007 World T20 champions - India, start with back-to-back wins but Dhawan's poor form sees him getting dropped with Sanju Samson drafted to open against Bangladesh and he starts with a bang, scoring a fifty as India wins by eight wickets. Kohli and DK are turning into masters of middle-overs batting. India reaches the finals without even breaking a sweat, undefeated, looking indomitable.
On the other hand, Morgan's prophecy about KP is coming true with youngsters Stokes, Buttler and captain himself scripting memorable wins as they bounce back strongly to reach the finals after losing the opening game against New Zealand. As fate would have it, it's a deja-vu as England will take on India in the finals at Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka.
But this time, in the grand finale, Dhoni has no hesitations in batting first after he calls the coin right in familiar conditions. Virat Kohli makes a masterful 77 while Karthik's 45 power India to a total of 175 runs. The highest total chased in a T20 World Cup final is 148 by the Three Lions themselves but this seems far more challenging.
England are off to a flyer with 40 in four overs. But R.Ashwin and Amit Mishra, who have emerged as spin kings in the tourney are licking their lips at the prospect of bowling on a pitch that is slowing down. And jeez, Dhoni plays around with the duo masterfully. Ravi Ashwin runs a riot as he bamboozles lefties Lumb, Morgan, Moeen, and Stokes. Mishra, on the other hand, gets rid of Kevin Pietersen, who was threatening to win the game with a fifty. Revenge is best served cold and India does it as England fell short by 40 runs.
Dhoni lifts yet another ICC trophy while Virat Kohli, who's adjudged Player-of-the-Series decides to share the honors with Dinesh Karthik, who went strength-to-strength throughout the tournament with him for India as they become the first team to win two T20 World Cups.