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India are T20 WC champions again: Agonising 11-year wait for ICC trophy comes to an end; WATCH winning moment

India broke their 11-year drought for a global trophy on a day filled with emotion, defeating South Africa by seven runs in the T20 World Cup 2024 final.

India are T20 WC champions again: Agonising 11-year wait for ICC trophy comes to an end; WATCH winning moment snt
First Published Jun 30, 2024, 12:22 AM IST

India's long-awaited global title came to fruition thanks to Virat Kohli's strategic brilliance and Rohit Sharma's inspirational captaincy, as the star-studded team triumphed over perennial contenders South Africa in a thrilling final in Barbados to secure their second T20 World Cup trophy.

Kohli, a key player in the 2011 ODI World Cup victory, announced his retirement from T20 internationals after being named player of the match for his 76-run innings. Although he initially appeared composed, the emotion of the moment eventually overwhelmed him, and he broke down in tears.

"It's time for the next generation to take over. It was an open secret and I would have announced it even if we would have lost," Kohli said.

Hardik Pandya, criticized for his IPL captaincy, was visibly emotional after enduring a challenging six months. The enduring image was Rohit Sharma, widely supported, planting a kiss on Pandya's cheeks.

Captain Sharma, visibly moved, was on his knees, emotionally drained, while his wife Ritika, equally emotional, reflected the sentiments shared by all.

During Heinrich Klaasen's aggressive innings (52 off 27 balls) against India's strong spinners, it seemed Rohit Sharma's team might settle for another runner-up finish in a World Cup final. However, they fought back with crucial contributions from South Africa.

Ultimately, despite criticism from his own fans in recent months, Hardik Pandya successfully defended 16 runs in the final over, securing India's first ICC trophy since 2013 and their inaugural T20 World Cup title in the post-IPL era. South Africa finished at 169 for eight in response to India's 176 for seven.

The sense of relief and jubilation shone on the faces of Indian stars Kohli and Rohit, possibly in their final T20 World Cup appearance. The victory also served as a fitting farewell to head coach Rahul Dravid.

Kohli's 76 off 59 balls and Axar Patel's 47 off 31 were pivotal in India setting the highest total in a T20 World Cup final.

In the tense chase, Indian pacers struck early, claiming two key wickets before Quinton de Kock (39 off 31) and Tristian Stubbs (52 off 27) staged a 58-run partnership to revive South Africa's hopes.

However, Heinrich Klaasen's stunning innings nearly turned the tide. Needing a breakthrough, Rohit Sharma opted for Axar Patel over lead pacer Jasprit Bumrah in the 15th over. Klaasen responded with several sixes and fours, single-handedly tilting the game in South Africa's favor.

South Africa found themselves in a favorable position as the asking rate dropped to just a run per ball, making victory theirs to lose. However, known for faltering under pressure, they made it harder, needing 20 runs from the last 12 balls with David Miller and Keshav Maharaj at the crease.

Jasprit Bumrah, who had earlier dismissed Reeza Hendricks with a brilliant delivery during the powerplay, returned for his final two overs and made a crucial impact, taking a wicket and conceding only six runs from his last 12 balls.

With 16 runs required from the final six deliveries, the game hung in balance. On the first ball of the over, Suryakumar Yadav's incredible relay catch at the long-off boundary off Hardik Pandya put India on the brink of a thrilling victory.

Earlier, India recovered well after a shaky start to post their highest total in a T20 World Cup final, despite being 34 for three at one stage. Axar Patel's unfortunate run-out, against the run of play, ended his partnership of 72 runs off 54 balls with Virat Kohli. Kohli, although slowing down in the middle overs, eventually reached his first half-century of the tournament off 48 balls.

Rohit Sharma, opting confidently to bat first at Kensington Oval where the pitch had proven challenging throughout the tournament, faced an early exit despite recent match-winning performances. He departed after scoring consecutive fours off Keshav Maharaj in the second over, falling victim to a sweep shot caught at square leg.

Following Rohit, Rishabh Pant also succumbed to a sweep, intensifying tension in the Indian camp. Suryakumar Yadav, in good form like Rohit, was caught at fine-leg while attempting a pick-up shot off Rabada, leaving India struggling at three wickets down within the powerplay, their slowest start in the Caribbean leg at 45 for three in six overs.

Virat Kohli, who began aggressively with three boundaries off Marco Jansen in the opening over, adjusted his approach during the middle overs. He accelerated later, hitting a crucial straight six off Rabada in the 18th over, shaping his innings strategically amidst falling wickets.

Meanwhile, Axar Patel played a pivotal innings, possibly his best in T20s, handling South African spinners adeptly and hitting significant sixes off Aiden Markram, Maharaj, and Tabraiz Shamsi. His standout moment was a clean straight six off Rabada.

Shivam Dube, entering before the death overs, contributed timely boundaries, bolstering India's total. Kohli anchored the innings, concluding with a flourish that included a couple of sixes in the final five overs, from which India amassed 58 runs while losing three wickets.

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