By winning the final against Sri Lanka, India not only avenged the defeat in the dead round robin fixture but also broke the jinx of losing in finals.
The beauty of limited-overs cricket between two well-matched teams is that one day one team will win and the other the next day.
Sri Lanka had played quite superbly two days back to beat India by a big margin. This time around, as in the previous match, the toss seemed crucial and having won it Dhoni saw to it that his men did not let the advantage slip.
With two of the most experienced batsmen in the world opening the batting on a good pitch and in near perfect batting conditions, something special was needed to separate them. Sri Lanka did not have that and the bowler expected to do the trick, Lasith Malinga, was Lanka’s most expensive bowler.
Both Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar rotated the strike and ensured there wasn’t a flat over.
Dravid has been underrated in the limited-overs format because of his staying powers and strength of concentration, but he gave Tendulkar the support he needed.
As mentioned previously, a good solid start is essential for it lays a platform, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni showed his leadership skills by promoting himself up the order and kept up the momentum provided by Tendulkar.
Tendulkar had batted well in the previous games too without going on for the big one. He did not miss out this time and his partnerships with Dravid, Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh ensured India got to 300-plus.
India were aware that with Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya opening the batting it was going to be a close thing. That’s how it was. It is in such situations that Harbhajan Singh is at his best for he loves to be in the thick of action.
He wasn’t afraid to toss the ball up and mixed his deliveries cleverly, so much so that even an accomplished player of spin like Mahela Jayawardene was made to look ordinary. Every time a partnership threatened to bloom, he broke it. It was first-rate stuff and when he bowled the dangerous Thilina Kandamby, the game was over.
India have begun the season well and will go to the Champions Trophy with loads of confidence. After taking a pounding in Lanka, the new-ball bowlers will be looking forward to bowling on the South African pitches, and with almost all batsmen in good touch, the elusive trophy beckons invitingly.