WORLD CHAMPIONS! India beat South Africa in thrilling World T20 finale

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Player-of-the-Match Virat Kohli (Photo: ICC via Getty Images)

INDIA 176-7 from 20 overs

Virat Kohli 76 off 59 (6x4s, 2x6s)

Axar Patel 47 off 31 (1×4, 4x6s)

Shivam Dube 27 off 16 (3x4s, 1×6)

Keshav Maharaj 2-23 (3)

Anrich Nortje 2-26 (4)

Kagiso Rabada 1-36 (4)

Marco Jansen 1-49 (4)

Jasprit Bumrah was named Player-of-the-Tournament for his 15 wickets (Photo: ICC via Getty Images)

SOUTH AFRICA 169-8 from 20 overs

Heinrich Klaasen 52 off 27 (2x4s, 5x6s)

Quinton de Kock 39 off 31 (4x4s, 1×6)

Tristan Stubbs 31 off 21 (3x4s, 1×6)

David Miller 21 off 17 (1×4, 1×6)

Hardik Pandya 3-20 (3)

Jasprit Bumrah 2-18 (4)

Arshdeep Singh 2-20 (4)

Axar Patel 1-49 (4)

Hardik Pandya defended 16 off the final (Photo: ICC via Getty Images)

India ended their 13-year wait for a world title by fighting back to beat South Africa in a thrilling T20 World Cup final.

The Proteas needed 26 from 24 balls in pursuit of 177, but the wicket of Heinrich Klaasen for 52 from 27 swung a dramatic game in India’s favour.

Arshdeep Singh conceded only four from the penultimate over, leaving Hardik Pandya to defend 16 from the last.

David Miller was sensationally caught by Suryakumar Yadav at long-off for 21 from the first ball before India closed out a seven-run win.

It sparked jubilant scenes among the India players and fans in Barbados, including superstar Virat Kohli, who dragged his side to 176-7 with 76 off 59.

It is India’s second T20 title, having won the inaugural tournament in 2007, and first World Cup win in either format since the 2011 50-over competition.

For South Africa it was a horrible defeat that brought back all of the pain of World Cups past.

India’s wait is over

In the end Hardik was in tears.

He was part of the India side that lost the 50-over World Cup final to Australia on home soil eight months ago. This was their glorious redemption in the Caribbean.

The game looked done during Klaasen’s onslaught but Hardik removed him by finding a thin edge through to wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant.

Even as Klaasen slumped off, South Africa remained favourites.

They have done so much to banish the one cruel reputation of choking that follows their cricket team around.

In the end, up against some superb bowling from Jasprit Bumrah, who took 2-18 in a high-scoring game, they faltered again at the last.

In the final moments, Kagiso Rabada edged a four and Hardik bowled a wide, leaving eight needed from the last two balls before Radaba was caught at long-off.

India have so much in their favour – a team of superstars chosen from population of 1.4 billion and the largest proportion of the revenue generated in the game.

As they celebrated, none of that mattered. It was an occasion of pure sporting drama and relief.

When Heinrich Klaasen was batting South Africa were in charge (Photo: ICC via Getty Images)

South Africa come so close

The Proteas, like India, had progressed to this point unbeaten. They had come through a series of tight games and their semi-final win against Afghanistan was their first victory in the last four of a World Cup in eight attempts.

They slipped to 12-2 early on, Reeza Hendricks sensationally bowled by Bumrah, but fought back to set up a grand stand finale.

Quinton de Kock and Tristan Stubbs struck 39 and 31 respectively, taking down India’s vaunted spinners. That assault was ramped up further by Klaasen, who struck five sixes.

After Klaasen fell, number seven Marco Jansen struggled and was bowled by Bumrah in the 18th over.

India captain Rohit Sharma gambled by using Bumrah’s final over when there were still two to follow. He will have been grateful to 25-year-old left-armer Arshdeep, whose mix of pace in the 19th was superb.

In the closing moments India were just more clinical, no more so than Suryakumar when he juggled the ball on the long-off boundary while keeping his feet in play to dismiss Miller.

This will hurt South Africa just as much, if not more, than those previous semi-final defeats.

Kohli rises to occasion

Virat Kohli scored a half-century, won the World T20 and announced his retirement from the format (Photo: ICC via Getty Images)

India’s innings was built around Kohli, who had only made two double-figure scores in the tournament.

Here he notched his third within five balls by driving and flicking Jansen for three fours in the first over.

India were flying when Rohit hit the first two balls of the second over for four, but after the captain swept spinner Keshav Maharaj to square leg, the Proteas fought back superbly.

Rishabh Pant chipped up a full toss for a duck and the dangerous Suryakumar Yadav was caught at fine leg, but from 34-3, Kohli was able to play the role he knows best.

He did not hit a boundary between the fourth and 18th overs. Axar Patel, promoted to provide a left-handed option, instead provided the attack with 47, including two fine hits over long-on, in a partnership of 72.

Shivam Dube added impetus with his 16-ball 27 as Kohli’s next support act.

In the 18th over, Kohli cut loose, striking Rabada superbly over long-on, pulling the next ball for four and in the 19th he whipped Jansen onto the roof of the pavilion.

The 50-over World Cup, where Kohli was the tournament’s leading scorer, was supposed to be the white-ball great’s crowning glory.

In the end it came on the other side of the world eight months later, with Kohli confirming this was his final T20 World Cup appearance. (BBC)

 

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