Champions Trophy 2013 – Review
This Champions Trophy was truly remarkable for one unexpected reason – all teams, bar one, played to their collective potential. That is the primary reason why, according to our preview before the tournament, 6 of the 8 teams played exactly as per the Impact charts (3 of the four semi-finalists we’d given the highest probability to, and the bottom-placed teams as well), suggested they would – and additionally we’d put down England as the dark horses, so for them to reach the final was not a surprise.
It is particularly surprising to see this happen in a short tournament with such a small sample size of matches – this is as rare as a total solar eclipse in a region.
It was disappointing to see the defending champions and in our book, the highest impact team in this format – Australia, falter so badly. But a closer look reveals exceptional bad luck right through the tournament, from all quarters. They lost their captain Clarke (due to injury) and highest impact batsman Warner (due to indiscipline). Their highest impact player (Watson) and bowler (Starc) were both hopelessly out of form. Then, to top it all, their match against New Zealand got rained off in a position from which they were likely to win, and that put them in a very difficult situation against Sri Lanka (only because New Zealand got a huge advantage from a faulty NRR system in another match) – this is a stunning array of ill-luck. Despite that, it is creditable that they came reasonably close to making the semis – while chasing a near-impossible target at a run-rate no one even came close to in the tournament.
Conversely, this is the 50-over tournament victory Dhoni will probably savour the most in his career (thus far) because this was finally the Indian side built in his image. This is why he wanted a side without seniors who were from a different culture of fielding (the most improved aspect for India, in this tournament). Youngsters Dhoni has backed obdurately in the past (Rohit Sharma, Jadeja and Karthik most notably) came good here. Even Ishant Sharma, who many thought should not have been there in the side (with good reason), was picked over the highest impact ODI bowler in the squad – Irfan Pathan, who might have enjoyed these conditions – and yet, Ishant produced the results in key moments. Even though the ease and domination India displayed in this tournament was reminiscent of the 1985 World Championship of Cricket win (with interesting parallels between Ravi Shastri and Ravindra Jadeja), the best parallel of this win perhaps is the 2007 T20 World Cup win where Dhoni led a similarly motivated and hungry bunch of youngsters to pave the way for a new era of cricket (T20 and IPL). Here too, the significance of the win cannot be understated in the backdrop of what they were coming out of – the IPL spot-fixing scandal and the beating the sport was taking amongst cricket fans (not the most emotionally stable people in the country). In many ways, it is perhaps not hyperbolic to say this Indian team was playing for their lives and the short-term future of the sport in India – which is perhaps why the quintessential disease of post-IPL ennui, that has been afflicting Indian teams since 2009, did not manifest at all this time. The team, to a man, was charged right till the end – the compact nature of the tournament keeping the intensity going. It also helped that this Indian team relatively had the highest
England had the strongest bowling attack amongst all squads before the tournament started (highest
Sri Lanka overcame their chasing issues in this ODI team (Low
The current South African ODI side’s most notable Achilles Heel in ODI cricket is their low
West Indies overcame their issues with chasing twice (low
New Zealand were lucky to win a close game against Sri Lanka (and get a highly disproportionate advantage of the net run rate system) and win a point against Australia thanks to a rained-off game, but their inability to make adequate runs (low
Despite some experts rating Pakistan high ostensibly because of their bowling, Pakistan were always likely to struggle as per our impact charts – and they did, as the first team to bow out. As expected, it was primarily their sluggish batting (Low
Even without taking big-match performances into account, Ravindra Jadeja and Shikhar Dhawan are the highest impact players in the tournament. Jadeja, in fact just inches past Dhawan as the highest impact player of the tournament and perhaps was the rightful Man-of-the-Tournament. Out of the three matches that he played in, Misbah-ul-Haq played two quality knocks under pressure and his 98 not out against West Indies was also the highest impact innings of the tournament (purely because of
Within a tournament context, the highest impact players are interestingly all Indian – Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma.
Jadeja and Dhawan were consistent throughout; Kohli was indifferent in the early stages but produced big performances in the two knockout games.
Dhawan was consistent throught, Kohli only in the big matches (which actually gives him a higher
Within a tournament context, the highest impact batsmen are – Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Misbah-ul-Haq, Chris Gayle and Kumar Sangakkara.
Dhawan and Kohli top the list by virtue of their
James Anderson becomes the highest impact bowler of the tournament if we discount tournament-defining bonus. He had the highest Wickets Tally Impact, the highest
Within a tournament context, the highest impact bowlers are – Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, James Anderson and James Tredwell.
Jadeja, Ashwin and Sharma got in a
The fact that two South African batsmen top this list tells the story of instability in their batting order throughout the tournament. Peterson was promoted up the batting order twice in the tournament with South Africa under pressure and he successfully absorbed it both times to give his team the momentum. Miller and Misbah played their part but it was the collective failure of the rest of the batting order in their respective teams which led to their misery.
Sangakkara’s magnificent run-chase against England makes him top the list. His innings was even more commendable given the fact that Sri Lanka were the lowest
Most consistent batsmen (lowest failure rate) – Shikhar Dhawan, Misbah-ul-Haq and Chris Gayle.
The best feature about Dhawan’s performance in this tournament was his
Highest Wickets Tally Impact Bowlers – James Anderson, Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma.
Even though Jadeja took 12 wickets compared to Anderson’s 11, it was the latter who had a higher Wickets Tally Impact in the tournament. Anderson had more top/middle order wickets than Jadeja.
Conventionally, there are 7 bowlers with a better economy rate than that of Anderson’s but he is still the highest
James Tredwell has been England’s highest impact spinner in ODIs in the last one year and he proved it once again with his performances in this tournament. He was a constant threat to the opposition and had the uncanny knack of picking up wickets. He had his highest
Most consistent bowlers (lowest failure rate) – Ravindra Jadeja, James Anderson and Ishant Sharma.
No surprises in any of the names here except for maybe Ishant Sharma. Even though Ishant looked out of sorts in some of the spells that he bowled, he continuously kept on taking wickets and ended up as the third-highest Wickets Tally Impact bowler in the tournament. It is his wicket-taking ability more than anything else that made him a consistent performer in this edition of the Champions Trophy
A final word about the man who has been booed more than any other Indian player in recent times. Everyone with cognitive ability would be convinced about Ravindra Jadeja’s ability by now. That word is “great”. What people would not know by just looking at naked, unprocessed stats is that Ravindra Jadeja is currently the highest impact player in Indian ODI history (MS Dhoni, Kapil Dev and Tendulkar follow Jadeja). Of course, he has just played 70 matches, batted merely 48 times, bowled 67 times, and still has a long career ahead (and these numbers, and this status, will go through considerable modification). But even within this career, he has 3 series/
Finally, for all those who are comparing the 2011 World Cup winning squad with this one – it is interesting to note that there are 5 players from this 2013 squad who feature on a list of India’s 10 highest impact ODI players of all time (minimum 50 matches). The 2011 team had 3. This, in itself, is very revealing. 2015 will be interesting.