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India Are T20 World Champions

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by Adriel ‘Woody’ Richard

India survived a rollercoaster of emotions and justified their tag of favourites when they stormed to their second ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup title on Saturday with a seven-run win against South Africa in a tense finish to the final here in Barbados.

Superior “death bowling” from the Indians enabled them to end their 13-year wait for a world title after a resolute 76 from Virat Kohli rescued them from a shaky start, and they set the South Africans the highest total in a T20 World Cup final of 177 under overcast skies at Kensington Oval.

The match came down to the Proteas requiring 30 from the last 30 balls, but the wicket of top scorer Heinrich Klaasen caught behind off pacer Hardik Pandya for 52 in the 17th over swung the match decisively in favour of the World No. 1 in the format.

Ungainly fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah – later named Player-of-the-Tournament – conceded only two runs and bowled Marco Jansen for two in the next over, and South Africa required 20 from the last two overs.

Turban-wearing left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh conceded only four from the penultimate over, and the match came down to Pandya having to defend 16 from the last six balls to take the Indians over the finish line.

Pandya got David Miller caught at long-off for 21 from the first ball when Suryakumar Yadav tiptoed along the boundary rope to hold onto a brilliant catch, and the pacer held his nerve for the remaining five balls to seal the deal and enabled India to play unbeaten throughout the tournament.

Victory sparked jubilant and emotional celebrations for the Indians after the past year brought them the heartbreak of losing the finals of the World Test Championship and One-day International World Cup to Australia, the latter on home soil.

Sadly, the South Africans – unbeaten in their eight matches leading into the final – will have to continue to wear the unwelcomed label of “chokers” for a bit longer after their chance to end an agonising wait for a maiden world title slipped away.

It has been 32 years since the Proteas were readmitted to the sport after two decades of isolation because of the system of apartheid government that previously existed in the country and reaching the final – the first time in eight tries in a global tournament – was a huge step towards shrugging off that tag – but they blew it.

A near capacity crowd that included national hero, Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers, Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Guyana president Irfaan Ali, and the prime ministers of Antigua & Barbuda and St Lucia, Gaston Browne and Philip J. Pierre was treated to a fitting finale to the tournament.

Kohli struck six fours – three of them coming in the first over of the match – and two sixes from 59 balls, and India reached 176 for seven after they chose to bat.

He shared successive half-century stands with left-hander Axar Patel and Shivam Dube to revive the Indian innings after left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj struck twice in the space of three balls in the second over, and they limped to 45 for three at the end of the Power Play.

Patel made 47 off 31 balls that included one four and four sixes and shared 72 for the fourth wicket Kohli, but he was run out in the 14th over just when it appeared the pair were about to impose themselves further.

Dube got 27 from 16 balls that included four fours and one six and put on 57 for the fifth wicket with Kohli, but they were both dismissed inside the final two overs of the innings trying to beef up the total significantly.

Bumrah gave India a bright start to their defence when he bowled Reeza Hendricks for four in the second over, and Singh got South Africa captain Aiden Markram caught behind for four in the next over, and the Proteas reached 42 for two at the end of the Power Play.

South Africa were 81 for three at the halfway stage of the chase after Patel, bowling his left-arm spin, got Tristan Stubbs bowled for 31 in the ninth over.

Singh struck an important blow when he got Quinton De Kock caught at long leg for 39 in the 13th over, but Klaasen came to the crease and made his presence felt when he struck Patel for 4, 6, 6, 4 off the first four balls of the 15th over, and the match hung in the balance.

Klaasen reached his 50 from 23 balls when he clipped Bumrah through mid-wicket for two in the 16th over – but his dismissal spelled doom for South Africa.

SCOREBOARD

INDIA

*Rohit Sharma c Klaasen b Maharaj 9

Virat Kohli c Rabada b Jansen 76

†Rishabh Pant c wk De Kock b Maharaj 0

Suryakumar Yadav c Klaasen b Rabada 3

Axar Patel run out 47

Shivam Dube c Miller b Nortje 27

Hardik Pandya not out 5

Ravindra Jadeja c Maharaj b Nortje 2

Extras (w6, nb1) 7

TOTAL (7 wkts, 20 overs) 176

Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah did not bat.

Fall of wickets: 1-23 (Sharma, 1.4 overs); 2-23 (Pant, 1.6); 3-34 (S. Yadav, 4.3); 4-106 (Patel, 13.3); 5-163 (Kohli, 18.5); 6-174 (Dube, 19.4); 7-176 (Jadeja, 19.6).

Bowling: Jansen 4-0-49-1 (nb1, w1); Maharaj 3-0-23-2; Rabada 4-0-36-1 (w2); Markram 2-0-16-0; Nortje 4-0-26-2 (w2); Shamsi 3-0-26-0 (w1).

SOUTH AFRICA

Reeza Hendricks b Bumrah 4

†Quinton De Kock c Kuldeep Yadav b Arshdeep Singh 39

*Aiden Markram c wk Pant b Arshdeep Singh 4

Tristan Stubbs b Patel 31

Heinrich Klaasen c wk Pant b Pandya 52

David Miller c Suryakumar Yadav b Pandya 21

Marco Jansen b Bumrah 2

Kesahv Maharaj not out 2

Kagiso Rabada c Suryakumar Yadav b Pandya 4

Anrich Nortje not out 1

Extras (b1, lb4, w3, nb1) 9

TOTAL (8 wkts, 20 overs) 169

Tabraiz Shamsi did not bat.

Fall of wickets: 1-7 (Hendricks, 1.3 overs); 2-12 (Markram, 2.3); 3-70 (Tristan Stubbs, 8.5); 4-106 (De Kock, 12.3); 5-151 (Klaasen, 16.1); 6-156 (Jansen, 17.4); 7-161 (Miller, 19.1); 8-168 (Rabada, 19.5).

Bowling: Arshdeep Singh 4-0-20-2; Bumrah 4-0-18-2; Patel 4-0-49-1 (w2); Kuldeep Yadav 4-0-45-0; Pandya 3-0-20-3 (nb1, w1); Jadeja 1-0-12-0.

Result: India won by seven runs.

Series: India win the 2024 ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup.

Toss: India.

Player-of-the-Match: Virat Kohli (India).

Player-of-the-Tournament: Jasprit Bumrah (India).

Umpires: Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand), Richard Illingworth (England).

TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (England).

Match referee: Sir Richie Richardson (Antigua & Barbuda).

Reserve umpire: Rod Tucker (Australia).

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1 COMMENT

  1. Remember the days when India was a lapo team with mostly bowlers and 1 actual batsman? Gone are the days!

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