Champions Trophy 2017

India’s easy win showed that Pakistan are neither mercurial nor unpredictable anymore

In Birmingham at the 2017 Champions Trophy, there was a mildly anti-climactic feel to India’s comfortable 124-run win.

Birmingham: It was not so long ago that Indian fans went into a World Cup honestly thinking that the final result was irrelevant. Reaching the final was good, winning would be a bonus, but beating Pakistan on the way there was non-negotiable. In Birmingham at the 2017 Champions Trophy, there was a mildly anti-climactic feel to India’s comfortable 124-run win.

Here was a Pakistan team that neither mercurial nor unpredicatable. Here was an Indian team on top of its game in almost every respect. For once, India even had a fast-bowling attack far superior to the one it was facing. There was no Imran, no Wasim, no Waqar, no Shoaib, and only in Mohammad Amir’s first spell, especially the testing maiden over to Rohit Sharma first up did the match feel like a contest.

Coming into the match, India’s most significant area of concern was the openers. Although Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have been largely unchallenged, it would not be amiss to say that the two had not done enough, individually or in partnership to suggest long-term success.

In that light, the 136-run opening stand, even if it ate up nearly 25 overs, was worth its weight in gold.

Rohit was especially culpable in keeping the scoring rate down, overseeing as many as 63 dot balls in his 119-ball 91. But, if he had lasted a little longer, there was every chance he would have hurt Pakistan and made his own numbers look excellent.

As it turned out, Rohit’s run out came at the perfect time for India. Yuvraj Singh, who was so ill recently that he had to be hospitalised, made the most of a dropped catch to hit the ball to all parts. Deliveries that might have choked other batsmen were dispatched with ease, as Kohli pointed out.

“The way Yuvi batted, it was the game-changing innings, to be honest,” said Kohli. “That gave all of us the confidence to start striking the ball well. The way he batted was the way only he can strike the ball. Hitting low full-tosses for fours and sixes, and even digging out yorkers for fours, was outstanding.”

Yuvraj Singh's knock opened the floodgates (AFP)
Yuvraj Singh's knock opened the floodgates (AFP)

Kohli, who ended with an unbeaten 81 off only 68 balls, explained why Yuvraj’s hand was so influential.

“I think till 40 I was easing into the game, taking my ones and twos like I always do,” said Kohli. “I could not go for the big ones because it was tricky. We went off about four times. When Yuvi came in, he started striking from ball one and that took pressure off me, and maybe I should have given him strike. That really deflated the opposition and that gave me a bit of time to settle in from the other end. When he got out, I took over. But I think his innings was a difference in the game.”

But India were in front of the game long before their openers clicked or their finishers did their bit. Kohli, who had a potentially tricky job picking 11 out of a robust 15, got it just right.

“The combination was something that we spoke about,” said Kohli. “We had named 12 yesterday, and then we decided in the morning that the surface was hard enough for the bowlers to keep hitting good, hard lengths and use the bouncer every over as well to create a bit of pressure. And we decided to play an extra seamer against Pakistan, purely because of the fact that becomes a wicket-taking option.”

Restoring the confidence of a set, yet not always successful, opening batting combination: check. Keeping faith in the lower order to score at pace, taking the team from a decent total to a match-winning one: check. Playing Yuvraj, recovering from illness, ahead of the in-form Dinesh Karthik: check.

Pakistan’s captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed, wanted his team to think out of the box in order to put it past India. Instead, they never quite caught sight of the box as India spent 81.4 overs ticking all the boxes they might have hoped to, setting themselves up perfectly in the tournament.

Forget about the statistics of India’s wins against Pakistan in global events, and don’t even point to the fact that India have won 17 of their last 18 matches in 50-over ICC tournaments. This was not about facts or figures. It was about one team bossing the other. And India’s players will know that neither Sri Lanka nor South Africa pose the same emotional strain as Pakistan.

In that sense, this Indian team has broken the mould. Beating Pakistan was a box to be ticked, but it is no longer the most important game in a tournament. The business of winning can be placed front and centre, the hearts of fans having already been won over.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Watch Ruchir's journey: A story that captures the impact of accessible technology

Accessible technology has the potential to change lives.

“Technology can be a great leveller”, affirms Ruchir Falodia, Social Media Manager, TATA CLiQ. Out of the many qualities that define Ruchir as a person, one that stands out is that he is an autodidact – a self-taught coder and lover of technology.

Ruchir’s story is one that humanises technology - it has always played the role of a supportive friend who would look beyond his visual impairment. A top ranker through school and college, Ruchir would scan course books and convert them to a format which could be read out to him (in the absence of e-books for school). He also developed a lot of his work ethos on the philosophy of Open Source software, having contributed to various open source projects. The access provided by Open Source, where users could take a source code, modify it and distribute their own versions of the program, attracted him because of the even footing it gave everyone.

That is why I like being in programming. Nobody cares if you are in a wheelchair. Whatever be your physical disability, you are equal with every other developer. If your code works, good. If it doesn’t, you’ll be told so.

— Ruchir.

Motivated by the objectivity that technology provided, Ruchir made it his career. Despite having earned degree in computer engineering and an MBA, friends and family feared his visual impairment would prove difficult to overcome in a work setting. But Ruchir, who doesn’t like quotas or the ‘special’ tag he is often labelled with, used technology to prove that differently abled persons can work on an equal footing.

As he delved deeper into the tech space, Ruchir realised that he sought to explore the human side of technology. A fan of Agatha Christie and other crime novels, he wanted to express himself through storytelling and steered his career towards branding and marketing – which he sees as another way to tell stories.

Ruchir, then, migrated to Mumbai for the next phase in his career. It was in the Maximum City that his belief in technology being the great leveller was reinforced. “The city’s infrastructure is a challenging one, Uber helped me navigate the city” says Ruchir. By using the VoiceOver features, Ruchir could call an Uber wherever he was and move around easily. He reached out to Uber to see if together they could spread the message of accessible technology. This partnership resulted in a video that captures the essence of Ruchir’s story: The World in Voices.


It was important for Ruchir to get rid of the sympathetic lens through which others saw him. His story serves as a message of reassurance to other differently abled persons and abolishes some of the fears, doubts and prejudices present in families, friends, employers or colleagues.

To know more about Ruchir’s journey, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Uber and not by the Scroll editorial team.