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India Beat South Africa in Thriller to Win T20 World Cup Title

India beat South Africa in a last-over thriller to clinch the 2024 T20 World Cup title with a seven-run win in the final.

Led by the brilliant Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya, Indian bowlers defended 177 in Bridgetown after Virat Kohli’s fighting 76 off 59 balls.

Chasing 177, South Africa were in the drivers seat at 151 for four in 16 overs with Heinrich Klaasen (52 off 27 balls) and David Miller (21 off 17 balls) in the middle as the Proteas needed just 26 runs off 24 balls.

But Pandya (3-0-20-3) brought India back into the contest by removing Klaasen in the first ball of the next over.

Then Bumrah (4-0-18-2), who was named player-of-the-tournament, bowled a superb over which was followed by a terrific penultimate over of the innings from Arshdeep Singh (4-0-20-2).

With South Africa needing 16 off the final over, Pandya took the ball and got the important wicket of Miller in the first ball when Suryakumar Yadav took a stunning catch in the long-on boundary.

Hardik Pandya celebrates with Virat Kohli after South Africa's David Miller was caught in the deep by Suryakumar Yadav off his bowling. — Reuters

Pandya then held his nerve in the dramatic final over to restrict South Africa to 169 for eight as India finally ended their 11-year wait for an ICC trophy.

This was India’s second T20 World Cup title, having won the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2007.

India’s previous win in an ICC event came in 2013 when they won the Champions Trophy in England.

The victory also gave a fitting farewell to outgoing coach Rahul Dravid, who finally tasted success in an ICC tournament final, having lost the World Test Championship and the ODI World Cup title deciders to Australia last year.

It was heartbreak for South Africa whose wait for a first World Cup trophy continues.

Klaasen was magnificent against pace and spin on Saturday, but his efforts went in vain as Indian bowlers pulled off victory from the jaws of defeat.

South Africa's Heinrich Klaasen looks dejected as he walks off the pitch after losing his wicket. — Reuters

Earlier, Kohli scored a fighting half-century (76 off 59 balls, 6 fours, 2 sixes) as India overcame early setbacks to post 176 for seven.

Virat Kohli plays a knock during his crucial knock. — Reuters

India, after winning the toss and electing to bat, were reduced to 34 for three in the fifth over as skipper Rohit Sharma (9), Rishabh Pant (0) and Suryakumar (3) fell early.

But Kohli and Axar Patel (47 off 31 balls) revived India’s hopes with their fine partnership as Shivam Dube (27 off 16 balls) also produced a crucial cameo.

For South Africa, Keshav Maharaj (3-0-23-2) and Anrich Nortje (4-0-26-2) took two wickets each.

The 35-year-old Kohli, who was struggling for big scores in the tournament heading into the final, delivered when it mattered the most with a superbly paced knock.

The batting superstar said Saturday’s final was his last T20 match for India.

India's captain Rohit Sharma hugs Virat Kohli as they celebrate the win. — AFP

“God is great, and I got the job done for the team on the day it mattered. Now or never, last T20 for India, wanted to make the most of it, wanted to lift the cup,” an emotional Kohli said.

“This was an open secret, it’s time for the next generation to take over, some amazing players will take the team forward and keep the flag waving high.”

Kohli was overjoyed after finally helping India end their 13-year wait for an ICC trophy with his first big score in the tournament.

“It was an amazing game. One day you feel like you can’t get a run but one day, things just click,” he said.

Kohli and members of the Indian team celebrate. — X

“I am so proud to get the runs for the team the day it mattered most. The occasion prompted that change for me, I felt like it was now-or-never.

“We have wanted to lift a trophy for a long time. The occasion made me put my head down, respect the situation and play the innings that the team needed from me.”

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Khaleej Times

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