Former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu hailed Indian star Virat Kohli for his match-winning knock in the finals of the T20 World Cup 2024.

After scoring 75 runs in the first seven innings of the T20 World Cup 2024, Virat Kohli played an important knock of 76 runs with 6 fours and 2 sixes in the finals. He played with a strike rate of 128.81. Riding on his knock, India posted 176 runs on board against South Africa.

Later, the Proteas were restricted to 169 in the match.

Speaking on Star Sports, Sidhu said about Virat, “When it mattered the most when 1.5 billion Indians were praying for victory and hoping that we do not choke at the final hurdle, he stood like the rock of Gibraltar in the sea of ruins. He kept one end intact and delivered the World Cup crown by performing when India`s ship was stuck.”

Sidhu noted that during the tournament, Virat did not let the run-rate drop even once and would be remembered as an “icon and greatest inspiration” following his T20I retirement. “In this tournament, even when he scored 38 and 24, he didn`t let the run rate drop. There was a different kind of Virat. Virat Kohli, a man of adversity, a man of masses, a master performer, a genius. For me, he will always be remembered as an icon, as the greatest inspiration, and above all, a cup of joy for billions and billions who watch cricket all over,” he said.

Virat Kohli ended the T20 World Cup 2024 with a total of 151 runs in eight innings with an average of 18.87 and a strike rate of 112.68. He also had one fifty to his name.

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In 35 T20 World Cup matches, Virat Kohli has scored 1,292 runs at an average of 58.72 and a strike rate of 128.81, with 15 half-centuries. His best score is 89*. He is the highest run-scorer in the history of the tournament.

In 125 T20I matches, Virat Kohli scored 4,188 runs at an average of 48.69 and a strike rate of 137.04. He scored a century and 38 fifties and a best score of 122*. He ends the format as the second-highest run-getter of all time.

Coming to the T20 World Cup 2024 match, India won the toss and opted to bat first. After being reduced to 34/3, a counter-attacking partnership between Virat (76) and Axar Patel (47 in 31 balls, with one four and four sixes) of 72 runs restored India`s position in the game. A 57-run stand between Virat and Shivam Dube (27 in 16 balls, with three fours and a six) took India to 176/7 in their 20 overs.

Keshav Maharaj (2/23) and Anrich Nortje (2/26) were the top bowlers for SA. Marco Jansen and Aiden Markram took a wicket each.

In the run chase of 177 runs, Proteas was reduced to 12/2 and then a 58-run partnership between Quinton de Kock (39 in 31 balls, with four boundaries and a six) and Tristan Stubbs (31 in 21 balls, with three fours and a six) brought back SA into the game. A half-century by Heinrich Klaasen (52 in 27 balls, with two fours and five sixes) threatened to take the game away from India. However, Arshdeep Singh (2/18), Jasprit Bumrah (2/20) and Hardik (3/20) made a fine comeback in death overs, keeping SA to 169/8 in their 20 overs.

Virat secured the `Player of the Match` for his performance. Now, by securing their first ICC title since the Champions Trophy in 2013, India has ended their ICC trophy drought.

(With ANI Inputs)