Kohli leads India to T20 World Cup triumph over SA

Team India celebrates with the trophy after winning the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup 2024 final cricket match between India and South Africa at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, on June 29, 2024. AFP

India won the T20 World Cup title with Virat Kohli starring in a thrilling seven run victory over South Africa in a classic final at Kensington Oval on Saturday.

Kohli, who later announced his retirmenet from T20 internationals, steadied the India innings with his fine 76 taking them to a strong 176-7.

When Heinrich Klaasen blasted a superb 52 from 27 balls, it looked as though South Africa, appearing in first final, were closing in on victory but they were halted by some outstanding Indian bowling and catching at the end.

South Africa ended on 169-8 with Hardik Pandya taking 3-20 for India to the delight of the huge Indian following at the stadium.

The win is the second T20 World Cup title for India following their triumph in the first edition in 2007 and it also ends their 11-year wait for a major title going back to the 2013 Champions Trophy.

Veteran Kohli had struggled in the tournament, coming into the final with an average of just 10.7, but he delivered his best innings at the perfect moment with his balanced batting ensuring India won the title after an unbeaten tournament.

“I am so proud to get the runs for the team the day it mattered most,” said Kohli.

“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.

“I wasn’t feeling myself before today. I wasn’t confident. So I am very grateful and humble right now. It has been difficult, so there are a lot of emotions,” he added, confirming that the game was his last T20 for India.

“This was an open secret. It’s time for the next generation to take over.”

Yadav catch

Kohli’s asssured display was just what was needed for India who had slipped to 34 for three after their captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and opted to bat.

In what has been a low scoring tournament, the total looked to be a daunting one for South Africa but then Quinton de Kock (39) and Tristan Stubbs (31) set the Proteas on their way before Klaasen turned the game in their direction in the 15th over, smashing Axar Patel for 24 including two fours and two sixes.

When Klaasen was finally removed, caught behind off Hardik Pandya, the Proteas needed just 26 off the last 23 balls.

Knowing they had to take the initiative, Rohit turned early for Jasprit Bumrah’s final over and he answered the skipper’s call perfectly, bowling Marco Jansen and conceding just two runs in the 18th over.

That meant South Africa needed 20 from the final two overs and Arshdeep Singh bowled a superb length to allow just four.

With 16 to win off the last over, Pandya bowled a full-toss at Miller who smashed it high straight down the ground but Suryakumar Yadav produced a breath-taking catch on the boundary, throwing the ball back into play before he crossed the ropes and then returning to complete the catch.

Kagiso Rabada edged a four and Pandya showed some nerves with a wide but the seamer kept his cool to ensure silverware for India after they lost in last year’s 50 Over World Cup on home soil.

For the 35-year-old Kohli it was the perfect way to bow out in the format.

“This was my last T20 World Cup and this is exactly what we wanted to achieve,” he said.

“It was an amazing game. One day you feel like you can’t get a run but one day, things just click. It hasn’t quite sunk in for me yet.”

It was a bitter end for South Africa who had reached their first World Cup final after ending a streak of seven defeats in semi-finals in both World Cup formats.

“Gutted for the time being, it’ll take some time to reflect on a really good campaign, hurts quite a bit but incredibly proud,” said captain Aiden Markram.

“We bowled well, not a lot to work with, it was a chaseable total, batted well, came down to the wire, gutted not to get over the line.

“Things happen quickly at the back end, but got into a great position to prove we were worthy finalists.

“South Africans are competitive, respectful and will go down with a fight. It’s still a proud moment for us.”

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News