Kohli-powered India lift T20 World Cup against S Africa

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India’s players celebrate their T20 World Cup triumph over South Africa in Bridgetown.
India’s players celebrate their T20 World Cup triumph over South Africa in Bridgetown.

India have been crowned Twenty20 World Cup champions after a seven-run victory over South Africa in a heart-stopping final at the Bridgetown’s Kensington Oval.

Virat Kohli was once again India’s hero, scoring a match-winning 76 before announcing after the match that he had played his last T20 international.

“This was my last T20 game playing for India,” an emotional Kohli, 35, said after collecting the player-of-the-match award.

“Time for the next generation to take the T20 game forward.”

Kohli and Rohit
The great Virat Kohli (L) and captain Rohit Sharma pose with India’s World Cup. (AP PHOTO)

Kohli retires from the format with 4188 runs from 125 T20 Internationals with a strike rate of 137.

Electing to bat on a dry surface, 2007 champions India overcame a top-order meltdown on Saturday to post a competitive 7-176, the highest total in a T20 World Cup final.

Kohli made his first half-century of this World Cup and Axar Patel smashed 47 to power India to a healthy score.

The Proteas also suffered an early collapse but Quinton de Kock (39) and Tristan Stubbs (31) put their chase back on track.

Narrow defeat for South Africa
South Africa’s players were left dejected after their narrow defeat. (AP PHOTO)

Heinrich Klaasen (52) counter-attacked in spectacular fashion but India’s impeccable death-overs bowling restricted South Africa to 8-169.

“We play the sport for this, I am really over the moon,” said India’s pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, adjudged the player-of-the-tournament.

“We’ve been working really hard towards this, no better feeling than that.

“We play sport for the big stages. On the big day, you have to give more.”

The trophy ended India’s 11-year wait for a global title and most of the players were in tears after the victory, while their South African counterparts looked desolate.

After Klaasen plundered 24 runs from Axar’s final over, South Africa looked to be cruising to victory, needing 30 runs from 30 balls with six wickets in hand.

Bumrah returned to stop the run flow, however, and Hardik Pandya dismissed Klaasen to change the momentum.

With David Miller in the middle South Africa still looked well capable of scoring 20 runs from the last 12 balls.

But Arshdeep Singh conceded only four runs in the penultimate over and Pandya gave away only eight in the final one to seal an emotional victory.

Reuters