India beat South Africa to win T20 World Cup

India win T20 World Cup by beating South Africa. Photo Courtesy: BCCI X page

Millions of Indians across the globe and the blue brigade present in the Kensington Oval in Barbados burst into cheers while a mood of festivity and happiness overwhelmed every corner of India when Rohit Sharma and his spirited men choked first-time finalists South Africa and beat them by seven runs to lift the T20 World Cup for the second time in the history of the marquee tournament on Saturday.

Suryakumar Yadav picked up a sensational catch on the boundary in the first ball of the last over bowled by Hardik Pandya to dismiss David Miller (21), which ensured India won the elite tournament and changed the fate of the side which was losing back-to-back ICC finals. India desperately wanted to alter the scenario since in 2023 even the team was defeated in the final of the 50 over World Cup by mighty Australians.

Far away from West Indies, jubilation erupted in a cricket-crazy nation where crackers started bursting and elated people joined in merrymaking once the last ball was bowled and South Africa struggled to reach the target which once looked easier for them to reach with Heinrich Klaasen butchering the bowlers.

Despite losing quick wickets, India’s star batsman Virat Kohli, who was struggling with his form all through the series, hammered 76 runs which helped his side post a competitive 176 runs for the loss of seven wickets and then the bowlers completed the task by restricting South Africa to 169 runs for the loss of eight wickets.

Jasprit Bumrah remained the pick of the Indian bowlers as he took the crucial wickets of Reeza Hendricks  (4) at the top and Marco Jansen (2) later to put the pressure on an opponent squad that remained unbeaten in the tournament so far.

Bumrah kept things tight and helped India slowly bounce back into the match.

Hardik Pandya took the crucial wicket of Heinrich Klaasen (52) and gave India a chance to return after South Africa was cruising ahead towards the target.

Needing 16 runs off the last six balls, Hardik Pandya was given the task of bowling the final over in the match and he once again executed a miracle with Suryakumar Yadav by dismissing dangerous David Miller (21). He also picked up the wicket of Kagiso Rabada (4) to ensure India finally wins the second T20 World Cup trophy after a gap of 17 years.

Despite losing two quick wickets of Reeza Hendricks (4) and skipper Aiden Markram (4), South Africa tried to stabilise the innings with  Quinton de Kock (39) and Tristan Stubbs  (31).

Patel took the wicket of Stubbs to give some hope to India but Heinrich Klaasen hammered him later in the innings to make things tough for the Men in Blue.

Arshdeep Singh and Bumrah took two wickets each.

Earlier, Virat Kohli, who announced his retirement from T20 cricket, finally returned to form and played the heroic knock of 76 runs to ensure India posted a competitive 176 runs for the loss of seven wickets.

Fans cheered aloud as the match proceeded on time with weather reports previously predicting rains during the final encounter.

South Africa, playing their first World Cup final, began the proceedings with a bang by dismissing Rohit Sharma (9) and then Rishabh Pant for a duck.

Spinner Keshav Maharaj gave India the early blows and reduced the 2007 champions to 2-23.

Suryakumar Yadav (3), who is known for playing hard-hitting shots and contributed with his bat in the semi-finals against England, failed in the main event and Kagiso Rabada showed him the door towards the pavilion.

India was struggling at 3-34 and Virat Kohli, perceived as a cricketing superhero in the country, kept things reserved for the final and played the innings which turned things around for the 2007 champion side. 

Kohli announced after the match that it was his final T20 match for India.

He smashed six boundaries and two sixes in his knock which primarily stabilised the ship after initial jolts.

Axar Patel stitched with him the much-needed partnership by contributing 47 runs and rescued the innings from the initial stage of collapse.

Shivam Dube hammered 16-ball 27 which helped India post a competitive 176 runs on the scorecard.

Anrich Nortje and Keshav Maharaj took two wickets.

In 2007, India defeated Pakistan in the final of the T20 World Cup in South Africa to win the maiden title.

India’s last ICC final victory was in 2013 when India won the Champions Trophy.