Wednesday, July 17, 2024

T20 World Cup: India end 11-year-drought for ICC crown after Barbados thriller

India came back from behind to beat South Africa by seven runs in the final and become the unbeaten champions of the T20 World Cup 2024 at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Saturday.

It was the first time a team won the tournament without losing a single game.

It was South Africa’s game to lose when they required 30 off the final five but Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh and Hardik Pandya scripted a comeback for the ages.

Heinrich Klaasen gave South Africa a genuine chance of lifting the title but the Indian bowlers broke their hearts.

It was India’s first ICC title since the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.

Chasing 177, South Africa were in trouble at 12-2 in the third over as Bumrah and Arshdeep got the better of Reeza Hendricks and Aiden Markram respectively.

Quinton de Kock and Tristan Stubbs added 58 off 38 to give some sort of momentum to South Africa’s innings before the latter was cleaned up by Axar Patel.

Stubbs made a useful 31 off 21.

Klaasen joined de Kock when the Proteas needed 107 off 11.1 overs.

The aggressive right-hander picked up over boundaries off Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav in consecutive overs to help South Africa gain control.

But de Kock (39 off 31) fell victim to Arshdeep’s short-ball ploy in the 13th over against the run of play.

But South Africa again put pressure back on India as David Miller and Klaasen took down the Indian spinners.

Miller smashed Kuldeep for a four and a six and Klaasen unleashed his array to big shots against Axar Patel.

South Africa took 24 off the 15th over bowled by Axar to bring the equation down to 30 off 30.

Klaasen, who reached his half-century in just 23 deliveries, was dismissed by Hardik Pandya on 52.

Bumrah then bowled a magnificent 18th over where he gave away two runs and got the wicket of Marco Jansen.

Arshdeep and Hardik then did the rest, keeping the South Africa batters in check.

Suryakumar Yadav took an absolute blinder at the boundary in the final over to dismiss Miller with South Africa still needing 16 off five.

It was the last nail in the coffin and South Africa fell eight runs short of the target.

Earlier, Virat Kohli and Axar guided India to 176-7 in 20 overs.

India were off to a perfect start as Kohli clobbered three boundaries off Jansen in the first over.

Kohli, short of runs of late, took advantage of Jansen’s slot balls and did not miss out on the scoring opportunities.

Keshav Maharaj, a frequent powerplay operator for the Proteas, got rid of India captain Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant in the second over.

Kagiso Rabada snared the in-form Suryakumar in the penultimate over of the powerplay to reduce India to 34-3 and dent their progress.

Axar was promoted to number five and he joined Kohli when India were in a spot of bother.

While Kohli was happy knocking it around and taking singles and doubles post powerplay, the left-handed Axar decided to take a few chances, especially off the spinners, to keep the scoreboard moving.

The southpaw struck four maximums and a four in his brisk 46 off just 30 before Quinton de Kock’s incredible throw from down the leg side saw him get run out at the non-striker’s end.

Axar was the aggressor in the 72-run stand for the fourth wicket where Kohli played second fiddle.

Kohli reached his first fifty in the tournament in 48 deliveries.

The right-hander put the foot down after reaching the milestone, belting Rabada for a six and a four in the 18th over.

Jansen got Kohli in the penultimate over but the Indian maestro smashed a four and a six before holing out to long on.

Kohli made 76 off 59.

Shivam Dube (27 off 16) flexed his batting muscles too in the partnership of 57 off 33 with Kohli.

India scored 58 off the last five overs and those runs made the difference in the end.

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