The entire country is looking forward to Saturday when team India meet South Africa in the final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. India will be looking to end their 13-year trophy drought whereas the Proteas will be hoping to win their first-ever ICC tournament. The South African team is making its first-ever appearance in the final of an ICC tournament whereas India will be hoping to look past the ghosts of the last ten years and hopefully win their first-ever trophy. Many have labelled the South African team as ‘chokers’ for their previous inability to make the finals of the tournament whereas Indian fans have also had experience with the word given their loss against Australia in the 2023 ODI World Cup.

In an exclusive conversation with IANS, 1983 World Cup-winning all-rounder Kirti Azad has stated what India’s game plan needs to be like in the final.

“It is very difficult to talk about South Africa as it is their first time in the final of any ICC tournament. They were even called ‘chokers’ as they used to always choke in the semi-finals which is why it will be difficult to predict, to say how they will perform in the final. But yes they will give it their best to win and India have to be careful to not get too complacent and we don’t end up choking the game. The hope will be that we put up a good score,” he said.

“As we saw the pitches last time out in the semifinals, the ball was not bouncing too much and staying low. We will have to be careful and give them a good target. South Africa ko choke karaana hoga (We will have to get South Africa to choke),” Azad told IANS.

The Indian bowling attack has been brilliant from the very first game with Axar Patel and Jasprit Bumrah having been the stars of the tournament. Their stellar performances were in the spotlight in the semi-finals as they restricted the English batsman from chasing the 171-run target and bundled their opponents out for 103. Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav picked up three wickets each whereas Bumrah added two wickets to his name.

Rohit Sharma is also a very important player for the side as the Indian skipper has scored 248 runs for his team throughout the tournament making him the third-highest run-getter in this edition.

“I had full belief that the way the Indian team is, we will perform well and win the World Cup. The performance by all players have been top-notch, especially the bowlers in the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel have been bowling well. India’s bowling attack is second to none. The biggest plus point for our side is the way Rohit is batting,” added the 1983 World Cup winner.

Rohit Sharma was named the captain of the Indian national team in 2022. Since his appointment, he has lost the 2022 T20 WC semi-finals, the 2023 WTC finals and the 2023 ODI World Cup final. The 34-year-old will be hoping to end his bad luck in the final and hopefully lead India to their second T20 World Cup trophy.

“All captains have performed well. If you look at Virat Kohli’s captaincy, India won a lot of series during his tenure that they had not won before. Every captain has his own style, Rohit is the captain currently and he is doing well so I wish him all the best and hope they win the final,” concluded the former all-rounder.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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