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By Dhananjay Devasper
If one has to pick a single star in India’s ICC Champions Trophy 2013 campaign, the popular choice could well be the flamboyant Shikhar Dhawan. His purple patch was key to India’s successful campaign. In the entire tournament he had only one score below 50 (48 at that), not counting the curtailed 20-over final.
Without a doubt he was the most prolific batsman in this series with the talent, strokeplay and confidence to match. While there’s no denying his talent, what is interesting is, in almost every match he enjoyed huge slices of luck.
In the first match against South Africa, he was lucky to see his hook shot sail over Morne Morkel at fine-leg, who was too far in. Shikhar was on 27 at that time. There was another stumping chance which went abegging off the bowling of JP Duminy, but that was after he had reached his century. Shikhar finally fell for 114.
The second match was crucial as the winning team would be guaranteed a semi-final spot. West Indies having scored 233, needed some quick wickets to have a semblance of a chance.
But West Indies had to contend with Team India mascot, Shikhar Dhawan! The opener slashed at a ball outside the off-stump, which went wide off Kieron Pollard, who spilled it after getting his hands to it. Dhawan was on 23 at that juncture. A couple of overs later, Kemar Roach completely misjudged a sitter, to give Dhawan another lease of life when he was batting on 41. Dhawan went on to get his second consecutive century of the tournament.
The semi-final saw Dhawan getting as many as three lives. Sri Lanka had plodded their way to 181. Early Indian wickets were once again the need of the hour for Sri Lanka. In the eighth over, with the Indian score on 38, Dhawan edged Nuwan Kulasekara to again get a reprieve. Angelo Matthews, probably unsighted by Kumar Sangakarra, put down a regulation slip catch. Dhawan was batting on 18. Kulasekara was persisted with for another over to trouble Dhawan. He induced another edge, only for Sangakkara, standing upto the stumps, to put it down. Dhawan was still on 18. Dhawan gave one more chance, when he was on 62, yet again off Kulasekara, when he slammed a ball to point, and Sachithra Senanayake parried it away like a volleyball player. Dhawan finally got out for 68.
All the costly misses gave Dhawan an additional 216 runs and an average of over 90, instead of an average of 29.4. Dhawan has been a player who has been on the sidelines for a while and finally sees Lady Luck smiling on him. This tournament has underlined the fact that Dhawan makes his opportunities count. Dhawan’s final tally of 363 runs was 134 more than the man following him [Jonathan Trott] in the list of top run-getters in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013. Dhawan emerged as the unquestionably winner of the “Golden Bat” at the end of the championship.
(Dhananjay Devasper is an “IT guy” by profession and a sports fanatic at heart. He has an unbridled passion for sports and Indian achievements in sport. Extremely opinionated, he attempts offering perspectives around sports which are simple to understand and easy to relate with)
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