The just-concluded ICC Champions Trophy had loads of thrills and spills, especially for Indian fans as the Men in Blue clinched their second consecutive major ICC title. The rain-curtailed final against England was no cake-walk for India, with the match going down to the wire but the Indians got there in the end.
Cricketnext takes a look at the top five reasons behind India's successful campaign.
Shikhar Dhawan's free-flowing willow
The classy left-hander was a revelation in England and was adjudged the Player of the Series thanks to his consistency at the top of the order. Dhawan's blistering starts allowed the Indian batting to work on the perfect platform in order to either post big scores or chase down totals without too much of fuss. The opener was the top run-getter in the event with an aggregate of 363 runs from five matches at a fantastic average of 90.75 and a strike rate of 101.39, hitting two centuries (114 and 102*) and a half-century (68).
Ravindra Jadeja's all-round show
The allrounder from Saurashtra has improved by leaps and bounds over the last few months, picking up crucial wickets throughout India's campaign. He was adjudged Man of the Match in the final against England, courtesy of his unbeaten 25-ball 33 which helped India post a decent 129 for seven on the board and two wickets. His performances in this edition of the Champions Trophy included a five-for and a 40-plus score, apart from his usual brilliance in the field. With 12 scalps in five matches, Jadeja was the highest wicket-taker in the tournament.
MS Dhoni's astute captaincy
The Indian skipper was up for this tournament and it showed in the way he led his troops. His bowling changes and field placings were on the money almost all the time and helped India get out of jail on quite a few occasions. This was especially evident in the final where India were defending a relatively low total against a strong England batting line-up. Although 'Captain Cool' didn't get much of a chance to exhibit his batting prowess due to the Indian top order's consistency, he was in superb form behind the stumps with nine dismissals (five catches and four stumpings).
India's solid opening stands
Indian openers Dhawan and Rohit Sharma did an excellent job in giving India just the kind of start the team required in order to launch an offensive in the latter stages of an innings. Brought in as replacements for Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, the pair had big boots to fill but did so with great skill and composure. Barring the final, Dhawan and Rohit always got India off to a great start, putting on two century partnerships (127 and 101) and two half-century stands (77 and 58) in five matches. Even though Rohit was always in Dhawan's shadow in this tournament, the elegant right-hander did very well to stick to his task and keep the scoreboard ticking. Rohit scored a total of 177 runs in five matches at an average of 35.40, including two half-centuries (65 and 52).
Swing and seam
Seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma stood out for their consistency in this tournament. Both maintained a good line and length whenever they were called upon to bowl, with swing bowler Bhuvneshwar not allowing the opposition batsmen to score too many runs off him and Ishant getting wickets at regular intervals. Ishant picked up a total of 10 wickets at a strike rate of 22.8 and an economy rate of 5.73, while Bhuvneshwar chipped in with six wickets at a strike rate of 35.0 and a superb economy rate of 3.91.
A mention also needs to be made about the high fielding standards the Indian team set in the tournament. The likes of Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Rohit and Dhawan were electric in the field and played a major part in India's run.
Have your say: What other factors do you think contributed to India's success?