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T20 World Cup Final: Golden generation gets champions' tag

The 11-year wait for validation in the form of an ICC trophy ended at the Kensington Oval on Saturday.
Last Updated : 29 June 2024, 18:03 IST

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Barbados: With or without a title, this Indian team was going to go down as one of the greatest teams to have played white-ball cricket. Period. 

But, the lack of silverware was always going to taunt them in conversation and haunt them in their minds. 

Well, they needn’t worry about that anymore. India are world champions. The 11-year wait for validation in the form of an ICC trophy ended at the Kensington Oval on Saturday. 

It came at the cost of a still-bare trophy case in South Africa, and even though they’re used to it by now, this one will hurt because they choked. 

South Africa lost by seven runs after failing to put India away after restricting them to 176 for 7 from 20 overs. Aiden Markram’s men finished on 169 for 8 from 20 overs.  

For anyone who says the South Africans shouldn’t be associated with the ‘chokers’ tag, how do you explain losing a game when you needed 26 runs from 24 balls? How does one ignore that hare-brained shot from Heinrich Klaasen (52) after all the work he had done? 

Also, how do you explain with mere words what this Indian bowling line-up was able to achieve when they were down for the count on a balmy day?

That two-run, and a-wicket, over from Jasprit Bumrah. That four-run over from Arshdeep Singh in the 19th. Hardik Pandya’s excellence under pressure. But none of it would have meant a thing for India had Suryakumar Yadav not pulled off the catch of the tournament. 

Pandya’s final over had David Miller at the crease. It was not the best of deliveries, a hit-me full toss, and it looked like the ball was going over the ropes at long-on. Enter Surya. 

Charging to his left, Surya completed the catch but his momentum was taking him over so he flipped the ball into play and then leapt back in to complete what will go down as the moment which summarises this new brand of cricket the Indian team has played. 

While this was not India’s finest show in the tournament, Rohit’s men did what they have done all tournament long to get the results. They kept it simple, adapted to the situation and allowed the players to execute their roles. 

They did that in the United States of America. They did that on all the Islands in the Caribbean. Yet, none of this would have mattered to most had they not done it one last time in Barbados. 

Still recovering from the pain of slipping up on the final day of the 50-over World Cup in November against Australia, India entered this final just as they did all those months ago: undefeated. But they needed to pull all the stops against another undefeated team.

With both teams pushing to change the way history views them, India put up a good total with Virat Kohli scoring a tidy 76 from 59 balls and Axar Patel chiming in with an exceptional 47 from 31 balls.

South Africa had their foot planted on the Indians when they picked up three wickets for 34 runs, courtesy of some help from the Indians themselves, but they didn’t put them away when they should’ve. 

Instead, their wayward bowling, save for maybe a couple of them, let India off the hook. Their catching did mitigate some of the effects but that was not to be enough. 

Actually, it looked like they might not need to worry about their bowling performance because their batting was on point. They started strong with Quinton de Kock (39), found help from Tristan Stubbs (31) and then came the Klaasen show. 

His cudgel earned 53 runs from 27 balls before he, inexclibaly, chased a wide ball from Hardik and ended up nicking it to the ’keeper Rishabh Pant. 

Still, South Africa needed 26 from 23 balls. Easy enough you’d think. Guess not. Not when the South Africans are involved, and not when this Indian bowling unit is turned up.

What a team. What a day. What a moment. 

India, you beauty!

Brief scores:

India: 176/7 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 76, Axar Patel 47; Keshav Maharaj 2/23) beat South Africa: 169/8 in 20 overs (Henirich Klaasen 52, Jasprit Bumrah 2/18, Arshdeep Singh 2/20) by 7 runs.

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Published 29 June 2024, 18:03 IST

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