India win T20I World Cup after 17 Years; Kohli Retires

Barbados: India’s 17-year wait for an ICC T20 title ended in a nail-biting contest at the Kensington Oval, where they defeated South Africa by 7 runs to win the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. This historic victory marked India’s second T20 World Cup triumph, the first being in 2007 when they defeated Pakistan by 5 runs in the inaugural edition of the tournament.

India, choosing to bat first on a dry surface, overcame a top-order collapse to post a competitive total of 176-7. Virat Kohli, in his final T20 international, scored a crucial 76 runs, his first half-century of the tournament, while Axar Patel contributed a vital 47. South African bowlers Anrich Nortje and Keshav Maharaj each took two wickets, putting India under pressure early on.

South Africa also faced a top-order collapse, but Quinton de Kock (39) and Tristan Stubbs (31) steadied the innings. Heinrich Klaasen’s explosive 52 off 27 balls gave the Proteas hope, but India’s impeccable death-overs bowling, particularly from Hardik Pandya and Arshdeep Singh, restricted South Africa to 169-8.

Jasprit Bumrah was instrumental in India’s defense, making the ball “dance to his tunes” and dismissing crucial batsmen like Marco Jansen. Hardik Pandya bowled a brilliant 17th over, conceding only four runs, and then defended 15 runs in the final over, showing immense composure under pressure. Arshdeep Singh’s penultimate over was equally critical, giving away only four runs against heavy hitters David Miller and Keshav Maharaj.

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The match saw dramatic swings, especially during the final overs. Suryakumar Yadav’s sensational boundary catch off Hardik Pandya’s bowling and Bumrah’s timely return to the attack were pivotal moments that swung the game in India’s favor.

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Virat Kohli, bidding farewell to T20 internationals, was emotional as he remarked, “It’s time for the next generation to take over. It was an open secret, and I would have announced it even if we had lost.” Kohli’s leadership and batting masterclass, along with Rohit Sharma’s strategic decisions, were instrumental in securing India’s victory.

India’s bowlers, led by Bumrah and supported by contributions from Shivam Dube, maintained relentless pressure on South Africa. Earlier, India had recovered from a precarious start thanks to Kohli’s steady innings and Axar Patel’s crucial partnership, setting a formidable target.

Adding to the celebrations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Indian cricket team after their victory. “CHAMPIONS! Our team brings the T20 World Cup home in STYLE! We are proud of the Indian Cricket Team. This match was HISTORIC,” he said in a post on X, along with a congratulatory video message for the team.

The victory not only ended India’s long wait for an ICC trophy but also provided a fitting farewell to head coach Rahul Dravid, who witnessed a standout performance from his team. The celebrations were a mix of relief and jubilation, marking the end of an era for stalwarts like Kohli and possibly Rohit Sharma in T20 cricket.

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