India, South Africa set for historic T20 World Cup final showdown

India aims to break a decade-long global title drought while South Africa seeks to redefine their cricketing legacy.
India will be looking to capture their 2nd T20 World Cup title on Saturday.
India will be looking to capture their 2nd T20 World Cup title on Saturday.File Photo

CHENNAI : A World Cup final in the last week of June? If Indian fans are looking for some signs from up above, this one is right there, staring you in the face, front and centre. June 25, 1983, was when India won it for the first time (in one-dayers), slaying the two-time defending champions, West Indies. Forty-one years and a few days later, they have the opportunity to end a decade-old drought for global gold.

They came close to ending it in the longer formats last year but lost on both occasions to familiar foes, Australia. Standing between them and a second T20 World Cup title (fifth if you want to include the OG version) is South Africa, whose men’s team are in unchartered territory. Man for man, the Indian team come out on top, especially in Caribbean conditions where the strips have been low, slow with some grip.

But the final in Bridgetown, Barbados, promises to be close for a variety of reasons. There are multiple similarities (a top-order with an out of form opener, one batter who will look to break open the powerplay, one left-arm wrist-spinner, one future Hall of Famer seamer, one decent left-arm pacer...) but the biggest factor is that the South African batters match up well to the Indian spinners.

Zooming out, they are both units so driven by the idea of success for different reasons. For India, with multiple generational talents in various points of their career, they want to add a title to further embellish their body of work and to repay the faith their employers have in them. Individual records are great but the primary currency in sport is finishing first in big tournaments. India have let themselves down in this regard.

For the Proteas, it’s to show the cricketing world this is the beginning of a new dawn, free of the baggage most of their teams have had since readmission. Have your dinner nice and early and stock the fridge with a beverage of your choice. For Saturday night could be a very long and a special one.

Live on Star Sports/Hotstar from 8 PM

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The New Indian Express