India wins the T20 World Cup after holding off South Africa by 7 runs in a gripping final

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (AP) — India pulled off a sensational seven-run win against South Africa in a gripping final of the Twenty20 World Cup on Saturday.

South Africa, playing its first ever final of an ICC tournament, needed a run-a-ball 30 to win on the back of Heinrich Klaasen’s belligerent 52 off 27 balls.

But Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh and Hardik Pandya, who shared seven wickets between them, roared back in the death overs to cut down South Africa at 169-8.

Kohli’s first half-century of the tournament in what he later revealed was his last T20 international, anchored India to 176-7 after captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bat.

“Guys understand when the pressure is on what needs to be done,” Sharma said. “Today was a perfect example, (we) stuck together with backs to the wall. We wanted this really bad … very proud of the bunch of boys and the management.”

India won its second T20 World Cup but its first world title in 13 years. The frustration had been building. Over the last 12 months, India lost the World Test Championship final and, most gruelling, the 50-over World Cup final at home.

But South Africa's heartbreak is on another level. It reached the climax unbeaten — India too — and looked to finally end its World Cup hoodoo.

South Africa sprinted to 147-4 in 15 overs when Klaasen smacked three sixes and a four in left-arm spinner Axar Patel’s over which cost India 24 runs.

But pace ace Bumrah conceded only six runs off his next two overs and, in between, Pandya got the dangerous Klaasen caught behind.

David Miller couldn’t get the strike much despite scoring 21 and left-arm fast bowler Singh conceded just four in the penultimate over. That gave Pandya a cushion of 16 runs to defend off the last over.

Off Pandya’s first ball, Miller was dismissed when Suryakumar Yadav plucked a brilliant juggling catch on the edge of the long-off boundary and sealed the result.

“Gutted,” South Africa captain Aiden Markram said. “Hurts quite a bit, but incredibly proud. We never got comfortable, things happen quickly at the back end, but got into a great position to prove we were worthy finalists.”

Earlier, Kohli, who tallied only 75 runs in seven games, made 76 off 59 balls with six fours and two sixes after India was in early trouble at 34-3 inside the first five overs.

Patel absorbed the pressure well after getting promoted at No. 5, hitting four sixes in his brisk 47 off 31 balls, and put India back on track by sharing a 72-run stand with Kohli.

Kohli completed his half-century off 48 balls in the 17th over, then accelerated by smashing big sixes against Kagiso Rabada (1-36) and Marco Jansen (1-49). Kohli holed out in the deep in the penultimate over.

“This was my last T20 World Cup, and this is what we wanted to achieve,” Kohli said. “I got the job done for the team on the day it mattered. It’s time for the next generation to take over, some amazing players will take the team forward and keep the flag waving high.”

Shivam Dube made 27 off 16 balls and fell in Anrich Nortje’s (2-26) last over as India scored 58 runs in the last five overs.

Kohli got India off to a flier when he hit left-arm fast bowler Jansen for three boundaries in the first over, and captain Sharma struck left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj (2-23) for two fours off his first two balls.

But Maharaj struck twice in his first over when Sharma was brilliantly snapped up by Klaasen low at square leg, and Rishabh Pant hit off the toe-end of the bat while attempting a reverse sweep and ballooned a simple catch behind the wickets.

Klaasen shone again in the outfield when he caught Yadav at deep fine leg off Rabada’s short-pitched ball before Patel and Kohli rebuilt the innings.

Patel was run out off a brilliant direct throw from wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock as he smartly intercepted Kohli’s flick and then hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end.


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