Stunning catch helps India beat South Africa in T20 World Cup final thriller (2024)

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India beat South Africa by seven runs

BARBADOS — India came back from the dead to break South African hearts in a thrilling T20 World Cup final at the Kensington Oval.

After 11 long, trophy-less years, Rohit Sharma’s team somehow got over the line with a performance of nerve, skill and courage in the field to deny a South Africa team who were cruising to their target of 177 when with five overs left they needed just 30 to win with six wickets in hand.

A brilliant innings of 52 from 27 deliveries by Heinrich Klaasen brought the Proteas to the brink of their first World Cup win. But when he was dismissed by Hardik Pandya in the 17th over, India jumped on their chance to crank up the pressure.

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With 16 needed from the final over and a set batter in David Miller on strike, South Africa were still very much in this.

But India’s victory was all but sealed by a brilliant relay catch from Suryakumar Yadav off the first ball of the final over from Pandya – a piece of athleticism that will go down in cricketing folklore.

India have now broken their run of near misses in major tournaments, a team stung by defeat to Australia in last year’s 50-over World Cup final in Ahmedabad now celebrating their country’s first success on the world stage since the 2013 Champions Trophy. This is also their first World Cup since 2011.

Having fallen at the semi-final stage in seven previous white-ball World Cups, South Africa looked certain to shake off their “chokers” tag as they looked set to complete the perfect tournament – nine wins from as many matches.

But when it came to the crunch, they fell to a barely-believable seven-run defeat having been set a record T20 run chase on this ground.

This was a fitting finale between the two best teams in the tournament. India were desperate to end a losing run in major tournaments that had seen them go 13 since their last World Cup win.

What a catch from Suryakumar Yadav 🔥

12 needed from 4 deliveries 😬

— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) June 29, 2024

Virat Kohli was the only surviving member from that team who famously beat Sri Lanka in Mumbai in 2011.

He had also been deeply wounded by India’s defeat in the final of last year’s 50-over World Cup, missing the Test series against England earlier this year for personal reasons and only returning to cricket for the Indian Premier League in April.

Now 35, Kohli knew he would not have too many opportunities to land another World Cup for his country.

And after a lean tournament that had seen him manage just 75 runs across his first eight games, he looked a man on a mission as his 76 in 59 balls got Sharma’s men up to a defendable total.

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This was a measured, calculated knock designed to ensure India were still in the game at halfway after slipping to 45 for three in the powerplay.

But Kohli’s partnership of 75 in 54 balls with Axar Patel got India ahead of the game by the time Patel was run out by Quinton De Kock broke the stand in the 14th over.

Kohli went 37 balls without a boundary before hitting Kagiso Rabada for a six from the first ball of the 18th over.

When he departed, caught at long on off the bowling of Marco Jansen, India were 163 for five in the 19th.

The start to the chase was ominous, Reeza Hendricks bowled by a beautiful outswinger from Jasprit Bumrah and captain Aiden Markram edging Arshdeep Singh behind as the Proteas found themselves 12 for two in the third over.

A partnership of 58 in 38 balls between Tristan Stubbs and De Kock got their team back in it. In stark contrast to England’s batters during the semi-final in Guyana two days’ previously, South Africa were taking down India’s spinners as De Kock and Klaasen turned the tide of this contest.

However, the dismissal of De Kock for 39 off 31 balls, caught pulling Arshdeep to square leg, left South Africa 106 for four in the 13th over and needing 71 to win from 44 balls.

The moment India became T20 WORLD CHAMPIONS 🤩🇮🇳

— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) June 29, 2024

Miller joined Klaasen at the crease and, after he took Kuldeep Yadav’s left-arm wrist spin for 14 in the 14th, the equation was whittled down to 54 from 36 deliveries.

This game looked done when Klaasen mauled Axar for 24 in the next over, South Africa’s task now 30 from as many balls.

But India were given a lifeline when Klaasen’s incendiary innings ended tamely in the 17th after he edged Pandya behind. With 26 from 23 needed, this was still comfortably South Africa’s game.

Yet the pressure was cranked up when Bumrah came back for his final over in the 18th and bowled Marco Jansen. South Africa’s mettle would be tested as they now needed 21 from 14 deliveries.

Miller, set on 18, was the key. And after Arshdeep conceded just four from the 19th, Miller was on strike at the start of a final over that saw his country needing 16 to win.

Pandya was the bowler. But it was Suryakumar who was the hero as Miller picked out the long-off boundary and saw the Indian fielder take the ball and, off balance, complete a barely-believable relay catch to all but end South Africa’s hopes.

Rabada scored a four off the next ball, his team now needing 12 from four. But Pandya held his nerve to spark wild celebrations.

Stunning catch helps India beat South Africa in T20 World Cup final thriller (2024)
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