Finally, its coming home: India win World Cup after 13 years

There are so many reasons why India went on to win this World Cup. At the core of it are a captain and coach who reinvented the way they bat, a pacer who is a bonafide all-time great and a spinner who has stood tall among the rest.
India players celebrate with the World Cup trophy after defeating South Africa in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup final cricket match at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, Saturday, June 29, 2024.
India players celebrate with the World Cup trophy after defeating South Africa in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup final cricket match at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, Saturday, June 29, 2024.Photos | AP

CHENNAI: Wake up, India! You are not dreaming. This is not a drill. Pinch yourself once or twice if you want to confirm.

After 10 years, 11 months, and seven days, the Men in Blue have finally won an ICC title, beating South Africa by seven runs to win the T20 World Cup at Kensington Oval in Barbados.

Hardik Pandya is down on the pitch, in tears. He is almost inconsolable. Just as he gets up, he is embraced by captain Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and others. Head coach Rahul Dravid lets out a roar in the dressing room. Jasprit Bumrah is on his knees. Virat Kohli has covered his face in disbelief. He had just played his last T20I match; he would say so minutes later. In what was a contest filled with ebbs and flows, India held their nerve at the back end to hand South Africa a heartbreak.

When India had posted 176/7, the victory did not seem that certain. They had stuck to a set template through the WC, an all-in aggression with the bat. Just because it was a big final and India were desperate for an ICC title, it was not going to change. But it came with a cost. India lost Rohit, Suryakumar Yadav and Pant early, and it was left to Kohli and Axar Patel. The duo were forced to change guard and take it slow.

With Axar playing the aggressor, Kohli did what he does best. Anchoring. He batted for almost 13 overs without a boundary while Axar first, and Shivam Dube later, took on the South African bowlers. Kohli eventually found his mojo, hitting two fours and as many sixes in a span of ten deliveries. It was a much-needed push for India and Kohli, who scored 76 off 59 before getting out. The rest took the total to 176/7.

India players celebrate with the World Cup trophy after defeating South Africa in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup final cricket match at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, Saturday, June 29, 2024.
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For South Africa to win this final, there was only one way. They had to make the most of the powerplay. After all, India had two of the best bowlers in the tournament—Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav.

There was no catching up in the later stages. The former struck early to send a clear message. Bumrah bowled the perfect outswinger to clean up Reeza Hendricks in the second over. Six balls later, their captain, Aiden Markram, having hit a boundary off Arshdeep Singh, threw his hands at it once again. The result? South Africa two down and India had set the tone.

In came Tristan Stubbs, joining Quinton de Kock in the middle. De Kock and Stubbs took on Axar and Kuldeep in the powerplay as South Africa finished with 42/2. Stubbs, in particular, went after his Delhi Capitals teammates, as he raced to 31 off 20 balls before getting out to Axar. Stubbs was back in the hut, but the contest was far from over.

Heinrich Klaasen walked in and he did not waste any time getting things going. A six off Hardik Pandya and one more of Ravindra Jadeja followed. De Kock picked up boundaries on his way to 39 on 31 but he did not last. Klaasen smashed two sixes and as many fours off Axar. David Miller, meanwhile, did his part against Kuldeep.

Was this the game for South Africa? For a brief while, it looked like it. Klaasen had raced to a 23-ball fifty and the equation had come down to 30 runs in as many balls. Bumrah gave away six runs and took a wicket in 12 balls, and from there, it was only a matter of time.

There are so many reasons why India went on to win this World Cup. At the core of it are a captain and coach who reinvented the way they bat, a pacer who is a bonafide all-time great and a spinner who has stood tall among the rest. And they ensured, India brought back the World Cup with them. 

India players celebrate with the World Cup trophy after defeating South Africa in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup final cricket match at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, Saturday, June 29, 2024.
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Bumrah does Bumrah things

He has been an outlier throughout the tournament, irrespective of the conditions. It is not the wickets column that tells his impact, but the average of 8.26 and an economy of 4.17.

Saturday was no different as the premium pacer cleaned up South Africa opener Reeza Hendriks with a perfect outswinger. He came back to deliver a death-over masterclass as well.

Axar, the trump card

For the longest time, the numbers have suggested that Axar Patel is a better white-ball option than Ravindra Jadeja. But such was the latter’s stature that Axar couldn’t make a mark. This WC, though, was different.

He was used better as a batter while outbowling Jadeja with the ball. In the final, Axar was key, keeping the run rate going after the early breakthrough. His 47 off 31 was perhaps more crucial than Kohli’s fifty.

Rohit leads the way

He might not have made a mark in the summit clash, but without Rohit and his intent up front, India would not be here.

He was the one who set the template to keep going at it no matter what. And he backed others to do so as well. With 257 runs, he was the second-leading run-scorer of the WC, but more than that, his SR of 156.7 was the best among Indian batters (min 40 runs).

Champs Speak

"I’m very very proud of the bunch of boys that I have and the management as well for giving us that liberty to go out there and play. That starts from the management, coach and the players to go out there and do it."

Rohit Sharma

"This was my last T20 World Cup, and this is what we wanted to achieve. One day you feel you can’t get a run, then things happen. Now or never, last T20 for India, wanted to make the most of it."

Virat Kohli

"We play the sport for this. We play sport for the big stages. On the big day, you have to give more, throughout the tournament I felt very clear and calm. At my peak mindset I think of one ball at a time. The emotions can take over, but now the job is done."

Jasprit Bumrah

Numbers that matter

17: No of wickets for pacer Arshdeep this T20 WC, the joint-second-most by a bowler in a single edition

15: Runs India scored in the first over, their second-most runs in an over in T20 World Cups

'1': India became the first men’s team to win the T20 World Cup while remaining unbeaten through the course of the tournament

India players celebrate with the World Cup trophy after defeating South Africa in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup final cricket match at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, Saturday, June 29, 2024.
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