Mahendra Singh Dhoni warned his players not to rely on divine intervention before they closed out a dramatic five-run win over England in the Champions Trophy final.
India were theoretically the away side at Edgbaston but were roared on by a crowd that was weighed heavily in their favour. After the game was reduced to 20 overs a side following almost six hours of rain, Dhoni’s side looked set to send them home disappointed.
From 66 for five, Virat Kohli (43) and Ravindra Jadeja (33no) hauled India to the relative respectability of 129 for seven, but England still appeared favourites.
At that stage a washout and a share of the trophy seemed India’s best prospect.
But Dhoni refused to let his players hope for rain and instead gave them the confidence to secure outright success as England fell short on 124 for eight. “Before going on I said ‘let’s get rid of the feeling that this is a 50-over game’,” he said.
“It was a 20-over game and we have seen at the IPL and in T20s that 130 can be a very difficult target to achieve. Also I said nobody could look to the left side of the pitch where the rain was coming from.
“I said ‘God is not coming to save us, if you want to win the trophy we have to fight it out’. We are the No 1 ranked side. Let’s make them fight for 130 runs and not look for outside help.” Dhoni, as magnanimous a leader as India have had, even found time to query the very format that had brought his side success.