T20 World Cup Final: India Beat South Africa In Thriller

India ended their 13-year wait for an ICC Cricket World Cup trophy when they beat South Africa by seven runs to lift the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 in a thrilling final at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados.

South Africa were left heartbroken after coming close to winning their maiden world title but were eventually unable to get over the line against a strong Indian bowling lineup in a match that swayed from end to end on Saturday.

Chasing 177 to win, the Proteas seemed in control when they needed 71 runs off 45 balls with six wickets in hand and the pair of Quinton de Kock and Heinrich Klaasen leading their chase.

India, however, had not given up on their chance of winning their second T20 World Cup.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya stepped up to remove Klaasen in his first over and followed it up with the crucial wicket of David Miller, courtesy of a stunning catch on the long off boundary by Suryakumar Yadav.

Bumrah, too, lived up to his reputation of answering his captain’s call and breaking partnerships at the most crucial moments in the match.

While Pandya may have removed the dangerous Klaasen, it was Bumrah’s in-swinging delivery to bowl out Marco Jansen that opened the gates for India.

But long before the match reached its thrilling finale, it was India’s limited-overs batting hero who helped his side post a challenging target for South Africa.

When India’s captain and their leading run scorer in the tournament Rohit Sharma was dismissed in the second over, South Africa looked quite pleased with their efforts. And when they sent back the dangerous Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav before five overs were completed, the Proteas were prancing around the Kensington Oval with joy.

What they did not account for, though, was the man who has pulled India out of countless occasions in ICC World Cups over the past 10 years.

After all the talk about Virat Kohli’s lack of runs in the tournament, it was the 35-year-old who stood up when it mattered the most.

He began with two fours, thanks to Jansen’s nervous start to the innings, and never looked back. As wickets fell around him in the first five overs, Kohli kept the scoreboard ticking over with singles and doubles.

At the other end, Axar Patel took on the South African bowlers after being promoted in the batting order to introduce a left-hand right-hand batting combination and take on the bowlers.

The tall all-rounder hit four sixes and one four in his 31-ball-47 that brought India’s run rate back on track. But when Patel was dismissed to peg India’s boundary count, Kohli stepped out of the shadows and took on the South African bowlers. He went from 50 in 48 balls to 76 in 59 and helped India post a formidable total for a World Cup final.

Shivam Dube played a quick hand of 27 from 16 balls before being dismissed by Anrich Nortje, who was the pick of the pace bowlers for the Proteas.

Jansen gave away 49 runs in his four overs, while Kagiso Rabada had a below-par day with the ball as well and finished with figures of 36-1 from his four overs.

Maharaj picked up two wickets from his three overs, while his spin-bowling partner Tabraiz Shamsi went wicketless.

Kohli, who was named player of the match for his rescue act with the bat, confirmed his T20 international retirement after the match.

“This is my last T20 World Cup, and this is exactly what I wanted to achieve,” he said after accepting the award.

The former India captain, who won the 50-over Cricket World Cup in 2011, said was “grateful to get the job done for the team on the day it mattered the most.”

“It was now or never. This is my last T20 game for India, so I wanted to make the most of it. It is time for the next generation to take over. They will take the team forward in this format.”

- Al Jazeera 


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