Dhoni praises his young guns as Dharwan is named man of the tournament.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was thrilled by the performance of his youthful side after they snatched a five-run win over England in the Champions Trophy final at Edgbaston.
In a match reduced by rain to 20 overs per side, World Cup holders India were restricted to 129 for seven after losing the toss in overcast conditions on Sunday.
England, after some early stumbles with the bat, needed 20 to win off the last 16 balls with six wickets in hand, only to ‘choke’ in a manner more usually associated with South Africa.
Ravindra Jadeja, the most successful bowler in the tournament with 12 wickets, was named man-of-the-match.
Jadeja first made a rapid 33 not out, which saw him share a partnership of 47 with Virat Kohli (43), before taking two for 24 with his left-arm spin in front of an overwhelmingly pro-Indian capacity crowd.
The 24-year-old was nicknamed “rockstar” by Australia great Shane Warne, his Indian Premier League captain at the Rajasthan Royals, because of his confidence in his own ability.
And that confidence was there for all to see after India were reduced to 66 for five batting first after losing the toss.
“Jadeja is someone who keeps it very simple,” said Dhoni.
“He just looks for the right area and the ball does the talking. The good part was he contributed with the bat, which I feel is very important because he’s someone who will have to bat at number seven.
“Now what we have seen is you can’t play with six batsmen and five bowlers. You know, the seven number slot is very crucial,” wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni added.
Meanwhile Jadeja said: “The (Edgbaston) wicket was slow and it was difficult to rotate the strike so myself and Virat Kohli built up a good partnership.
“I enjoyed bowling on this wicket, the ball was gripping and I was bowling to my strength.”
India opener Shikhar Dhawan was named player of the tournament after scoring 363 runs in five matches, including two hundreds, at an average of 90.75 and an impressive strike-rate of 101.39.
His 31 in the final was his most meagre effort of the tournament but, in the context of a low-scoring match, the 27-year-old left-hander’s runs were valuable all the same.
Sunday’s match was only Dhawan’s 10th one-day international and he was due a relative failure after a spectacular streak of success that started when he made the fatest century by a Test debutant during the course of a stunning 187 against Australia in Mohali in March — his lone five-day outing to date.
“I think Shikhar, he has just carried forward his confidence from the Test innings that he played,” said Dhoni.
“He’s a slightly different character, but a fun-loving guy. At the same time, he backs himself to play those big strokes that he plays.”
Dhawan, effectively kept out of the India team by Virender Sehwag, one of the most dynamic openers cricket has known, said destiny had been on his side.
“I am loving this moment, I dreamt before this tournament that I would be the man of the tournament. I feel blessed.
“It makes it more special for me that I was out of the team for two or three years. I knew I had that talent in me so I sorted out myself and I am scoring runs now.”
Only the late decision by the International Cricket Council, who nearly paid for taking the gamble of scheduling a final without a reserve day, to tear up their own rulebook and find two extra hours in which to complete the match Sunday gave India a shot at victory.
Dhoni, who two years ago led India to a World Cup final win over Sri Lanka in Mumbai, was unimpressed.
“I think it’s a bit unfair that in the ICC Champions Trophy 50-over format we had to play a 20-over game to find a winner.
“But still, I think they needed the result.”