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India are the T20 World Champions

India has etched its name in golden letters in the annals of world cricket. Rohit Sharma and his team lifted the glittering T20 World Cup, half laughing, half crying, and hugging each other at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown in Barbados. Rohit enthralled the audience as he danced to receive the prestigious cup.

Moments after India completed their hour-long celebrations at the Kensington Oval last Saturday, a video of captain Rohit Sharma went viral on social media. It showed him walking before taking the T20 World Cup trophy from BCCI secretary Jay Shah. While the general claim was that Rohit recreated Lionel Messi’s iconic moment from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, WWE legend Ric Flair claimed that the Indian captain replicated his steps. The entire Indian team was on cloud nine. The whole nation was ecstatic.

Rohit exclaimed, "Mission accomplished... World Champions." The T20 World Cup was coming home after a gap of seventeen years. In 2007, India defeated Pakistan in the inaugural T20 World Cup by a narrow margin of five runs. Rohit was twenty at that time and had the honor of lifting the World Cup as a member of the Indian team.

Spectators at the stadium saw an emotional side of India's captain as teary-eyed Rohit was seen hugging his wife, Ritika. Kohli also had tears in his eyes as he video-called Anushka and his kids to share his emotions with them. Jaspreet Bumrah, who played a vital part in India’s victory, could not help hugging his wife, a TV presenter with the ICC. Rahul Dravid played his last T20 game as coach and thanked the Indian team for winning the trophy for him. He revealed that he was about to announce his retirement after India lost to Australia in the 2022 World Cup. It was Rohit Sharma who persuaded him to stay on. Another Indian player, whose contribution to this format cannot be ignored, Ravindra Jadeja, also announced his retirement. One of the finest fielders and all-rounders, he said he will continue to play in other formats for the country.

Overall, India have won six ICC trophies including the Cricket World Cup in 1983 and 2011, the T20 World Cup in 2007 and 2024, the ICC Champions Trophy in 2002 (shared with Sri Lanka) and 2013. Since then, it has been a long wait of eleven years with many heartbreaks in between. And now, relief and jubilation at last. Thank God, India’s seemingly never-ending drought has finally come to an end. India is now T20 world champions.

It has been a tremendous tournament for India. India became the first team to win the men's T20 World Cup without losing a game throughout the tournament. India won all eight matches they played in the tournament and had one washout: the first-round game against Canada.

India's eight consecutive wins in completed games are the joint-longest winning streak for any team in the men's T20 World Cup. Australia won eight successive games across the 2022 and 2024 editions, while South Africa was on an eight-match winning streak before Saturday's defeat to India in the final by just seven runs.

It is only the third instance of a team winning a men's T20 World Cup final while defending a total. India against Pakistan in 2007 and West Indies against Sri Lanka in 2012 won the final while batting first.

India is now the third team to win the men's T20 World Cup for the second time, having won the inaugural 2007 edition. West Indies were the first team with two titles, having won in 2012 and 2016, while England won in 2010 and 2022.

Amidst tears, hugs, and dancing celebrating the win came the news that both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are saying goodbye to the T20 format. Rohit said, “I was very desperate for this title… No better time to say goodbye to this format… This is what I wanted. I wanted to win the cup.” Kohli, on the other hand, described the announcement as an open secret. He said it is time for the next generation to take over. Win or lose, I was going to announce it.

The final between India and South Africa was a cliffhanger. India literally snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. At one stage, the match was poised in favour of South Africa. Chasing a victory target of 176, South Africa needed just 30 runs in thirty balls with big hitters like Clausen and David Miller at the crease. At this stage, Hardik Pandya bowled the best spell of his life. First, he removed Clausen, who was cruising South Africa towards victory. Clausen was batting at 52 off 27 balls when Pandya lured him into slashing at an off-cutter outside off stump, offering a simple catch to wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant. India was back in the game. Hardik Pandya then deceived Miller with a slower one on the off stump, as Miller went for a big hit. It looked like a certain six, but Suryakumar Yadav rose to the occasion and brought off a sensational catch. As he caught the ball on the boundary line, the momentum forced him to cross the boundary, but he kept his cool, threw the ball in the air, crossed the boundary line, and then jumped back in to hold the catch. India smelled victory. Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep, and Pandya bowled tightly in the last three overs, and India won a cliffhanger by seven runs.

Earlier in the innings, Bumrah had cleaned up Reeza Hendricks in the second over, while Arshdeep snapped up Aiden Markram in the third, as South Africa were rattled early in the chase, losing two quick wickets. Virat Kohli scored 76 as India posted 176/7, the highest team total in the history of the T20 World Cup final against South Africa. Shivam Dube supported him in the death overs, scoring 27 runs.

Earlier, Keshav Maharaj struck twice with the wickets of Rohit and Pant, while Rabada snapped up Suryakumar Yadav, as India lost three wickets inside the powerplay. Axar Patel looked to be in good touch, scoring 47, but he also fell to a brilliant throw from Quinton de Kock.

The sensational Jasprit Bumrah finished with the best bowling economy rate of 4.17 and was a unanimous choice for the Player of the Tournament award. Virat Kohli, playing his last T20 match, left on a high and was adjudged Player of the Match in the final.

The South African captain, Markram, described the loss as gut-wrenching. But for now, he said he feels a sting which he hopes will ensure “fire in the belly for next time.” South Africa are known as chokers in international cricket. They usually falter when it comes to the final stage of a tournament. The tag of choker stays with them.

India had sweet revenge against Australia, who could not qualify even for the semi-finals. In the ICC World Cup 2023, Australia had inflicted a humiliating defeat on India in the final to lift the cup. Even then, India had won all its matches to reach the final. The surprise of the tournament was America, a new entrant in the World Cup, who made it to the last eight stage. Afghanistan, the underdogs, surprised everyone by beating Australia and then Bangladesh to make it to the semifinal stage.

India is the number one team in ICC rankings in the T20 format. They are world champions now. The BCCI, the highest cricketing body in India, has announced a reward of 125 crore rupees for the team and supporting staff. They deserve it, and the entire nation is proud of them. The Prime Minister and prominent citizens in all walks of life have congratulated the team.

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