South Africa vs India, Final, Jun 29, ICC Mens T20 World Cup 2024 (2024)

And with that it's time to close the chapter on this riveting T20I World Cup. It was a pleasure bringing all the action to you, this is Saurabh Shankar, signing off on behalf of Anurag Hegde, Sagar Chawla, Ramakrishnan MS, Srivathsa, Siva and Mukesh.

So the Indian tricolor does get unfurled in Barbados. All that cautious optimism of Indian fans can turn into unbridled, berserk celebrations as the Men in Blue conquer the summit that Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and the rest set out to climb since 2013. The downbeat of Dhaka in 2014, the Sydney stumble of 2015, the Wankhede woes of 2016, the Oval obstacle of 2017, the Manchester mess up of 2019, the Adelaide avalanche of 2022 and the Ahmedabad anomaly of 2023, all forgotten in a jiffy as Team India finally break a 11-year jinx to call themselves champions again! A show of stellar dominance with a clear blueprint of intent, sprinkled with a selfless skipper and a talismanic bowling attack who can dig you out of hell or high water. Sometimes, all you can do as opponents is sit back, clap off the champions and say ‘Well deserved!’

Tough luck, South Africa. They were unbeaten till the final and came through in some really tough final over games. They fought hard today too but just crumbled at the wrong moment. Their trophy cabinet might still be bare but this World Cup performance from Aiden Markram and his boys hopefully gives some reverence to a nation as it was just struggling to find its identity in World Cricket.

An ode to Virat Kohli
When a kingdom is under attack, the temperament and calibre of the soldiers and the ministers comes into question, but never the King. A good king, a strong king knows his value, knows when to strike and how to strike, and strikes in a manner to sting a lethal blow on the opponent while taking his kingdom along. For years now, King Kohli has been a cut above the rest for India in limited overs cricket, saving his kingdom plenty of times. He isn’t just the guy who can play the shot of an emperor, he is the walking, talking emperor himself and he deserves all of cricket’s riches and fame as he walks off into the sunset one last time in his T20I career holding onto that one ornament missing from his cherished cabinet…

And a quick little footnote, let's also remember the outgoing coach Rahul Dravid, who just like the most of his playing career, stayed in the shadows, but had a telling impact on this bunch of boys. A key attribute of the Rohit-Rahul tenure has been backing their players, giving them a long rope and not chopping and changing. Arshdeep didn't have the best of IPL seasons but he was the designated new-ball bowler for India throughout. There were plenty of calls for Shivam Dube for his tepid performances in this World Cup, but he shone through with a handy cameo today. They backed their boys throughout the competition, and today it has paid dividends...

Even the harshest of critics would find it difficult to say India don’t deserve this!! An invincible run to the trophy. They picked a team for the conditions, trusted their boys and it has paid off. Rohit Sharma led the way with his fearlessness and intent, Suryakumar showed his class in conditions that weren’t the easiest for his style of batting, Dube and Axar played handy cameos and Virat came to the party in this all important final. And what about the bowlers? It is true when they say batters win you a match, and bowlers win you a tournament. And Jasprit Bumrah alone probably wins you tournament(s). Arshdeep proved his mettle with the new ball, Kuldeep was the coveted wicket-taker throughout the Caribbean and Axar was at his frugal best for most of this tournament. And a moment to acknowledge Hardik Pandya. He was crucified throughout the IPL, villainized to an unsanitary level and today he will be deified as an Indian immortal. They mocked him, and now they fall to him!

So Rohit Sharma is ready to claim his trophy. He does a little jig with big smile as he steps up to receive it from Jay Shah. And then he hoists the silverware high to the sky. The timid youngster of 2007 who was the side stringer back then is ready to take centrestage out here. Leading from the front with a focus on fearlessness and intent, Rohit Sharma is ready to now shake hands with his self-scripted destiny. From 'Mujhe sirf woh trophy dikhta hai' [Only the trophy is visible to my eyes] to holding that beautiful piece of metal aloft, Rohit's life has come full circle… Jay Shah hands over the trophy to the Indian skipper, and his teammates circle around him as they take turns lifting the trophy. Kohli gets his hands on it and gestures towards Rahul Dravid to join the party. The Indian coach hoists up that trophy and shakes it vigorously up and down with gritted teeth mouthing a come on, giving us one of the most animated poses anybody would have seen of him in all those years of his cricketing career. The Indian players pose for team pictures and Kohli breaks out into a beaming smile. All happy faces now, the tears have been left behind, the sorrows have been left behind, it is now time to revel in the moment for the Men in Blue!!

Rohit Sharma | India Captain: Very hard to sum up what we have been through for the last 3-4 years. To be honest, we worked very hard as individuals and as a team a team, lot has gone on behind the scenes for us to be here today and win this game. It is not what we did today, it is what we have been doing for the last 3-4 years. That's the the result that has come for us today. We have played lots of high pressure games in the past as well and have been on the wrong side as well. But the guys understand what needs to be done. Today was the perfect example of when the back is against the wall, what is required. We stuck together as a team and the guys, all of us, even when at one point it was looking South Africa's way. Overall, as a team, as a group on the field, we wanted this really bad. We wanted to win this. To win a tournament like this, a lot goes behind the scenes, a lot of effort, a lot of minds need to come together. I am very proud of this bunch of boys I have and the management as well for giving us that liberty to go and play, to execute, for having that trust in each one of us. That has to start from the management, coach, captain and then the players go out there and do it. Throughout the tournament, I think we were fantastic. Not me and nobody was in doubt with Virat's form. We know the quality he has, he's been on top of his game for 15 years, come the occasion the big players will stand up. Virat was holding that one end which was very crucial for us and the others played around him. For us to get to that total, it was a team effort. We wanted someone to bat as long as possible. These are not wickets where you can come and bat freely and keep the scoreboard ticking straightaway, so we do understand that. We wanted somebody to bat as long as possible and Virat did that perfectly. That's where the experience of Virat comes through. The other guys around played really well, Axar's knock of 47 was very crucial as well. (On Bumrah) I can understand you guys trying to put it into words but I've been someone who has seen him for so many years, even playing alongside him, but even I don't what exactly is with him. I know exactly what he brings to the table but how he does that, it is just a masterclass. He backs his skills which is more than enough and he is a very confident lad. Whatever he wants to do, he executes to perfection which is a very rare sight. Jasprit Bumrah, to put it in one word, he's a class act. Hardik was brilliant as well, bowling that last over, no matter how many runs is required, to bowl that last over, I am very proud of the boys. Absolutely fantastic, all the way from New York to Barbados, I just want to salute them, to come and support us the way they have and even back home in India, millions are sitting and watching, it's late night in India, I'm pretty sure they are up watching this. They have been waiting a long time, just like us. This is for them. Very very proud of what we have achieved today.

Now the Indian players walk up to collect their medals.

Aiden Markram | South Africa Captain: Gutted for the time being. It'll take some time for us to have a really good reflection on a really good campaign the group had. Obviously for the time being, like I mentioned, it hurts quite a bit. Having said that, I'm incredibly proud of this group of players and everyone involved with the team. I feel they bowled well (SA bowlers). Don't think there was a whole lot to work with with regards to the pitch. Thought they did well to restrict them to what we thought was a chaseable total. Thought we batted really well as well, and it came down to the wire. Really good game of cricket. We've seen with a lot of our games in this campaign - it's never over till the last ball is bowled. We never got comfortable, there's always an element of scoreboard pressure. And especially at the back end, things happen quite quickly and can turn quite quickly as well. Having said that, we got into a great position which proves we're worthy finalists. Could've won the game today. Unfortunately we didn't. Still, like I mentioned, incredibly proud of the group. Hopefully in a really good way (how does this set them up for the future?). One thing guaranteed about a South African wherever they are in the world is they're a really competitive person, really respectful person and a person that'll go down with a fight. Hopefully looking forward we can draw a lot from those few things and keep putting the skill side of the sport to good use. It's still a proud moment for us.

The South African players come up to collect their runners-up medal.

What about the reactions in the South African camp? Aiden Markram is trying his best to paint a smiling face. Miller is consoled by his wife who hugs and gives him a kiss on the cheek. A couple of South Africans are still looking shell-shocked. They can't believe how they have let this slip. This will hurt them and scar them mentally for a while - that's for sure. And it won't help them because of their previous history in ICC events. A tough tough pill for every South African to digest.

In the Indian dugout Rohit's wife hugs him tightly. Now Kohli is on the phone to someone with tears in his eyes and then he blows imaginary kisses to the other person/s on the phone. As he said at the player of the match interview, the real emotions are coming out now.

Stats by Shashikant Singh

Player of the tournament in T20 World Cups
Shahid Afridi
Tillakaratne Dilshan
Kevin Pietersen
Shane Watson
Virat Kohli (2)
David Warner
Sam Curran
Jasprit Bumrah

Most POTM awards in T20Is
16 - Virat Kohli (125 mats)*
15 - Suryakumar Yadav (68)
14 - Rohit Sharma (159)
14 - Sikandar Raza (86)
14 - Mohd Nabi (129)
14 - Virandeep Singh (78)

Only defeat in a T20 WC coming in the final
2009 - SL
2010 - AUS
2014 - IND
2024 - SA

Teams to win two T20 WCs
West Indies (2012 & 2016)
England (2010 & 2022)
India (2007 & 2024)

India in T20 World Cup 2024
Bat avg: 25.55 | Bowl avg: 14.94
Bat RR: 7.98 | Bowl ER: 6.67

India’s longest winning streaks in T20Is
12 - Nov 2021 to Feb 2022
12* - Dec 2023 to June 2024
9 - Jan 2020 to Dec 2020

South Africa vs India, Final, Jun 29, ICC Mens T20 World Cup 2024 (2024)
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