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India wins the T20 World Cup, defeating South Africa for the cricket title

India's players celebrate with the winners' trophy after winning against South Africa in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup final cricket match at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Saturday.
Ramon Espinosa
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AP
India's players celebrate with the winners' trophy after winning against South Africa in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup final cricket match at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Saturday.

India’s men’s cricket team won a nail-biter final game against South Africa in the Twenty20 World Cup match on Saturday, putting an end to the country’s 13-year drought in the global cricket arena.

Both India and South Africa were undefeated going into Saturday’s match in Barbados. South Africa seemed like it had a chance of winning the game, but India thwarted the team’s attempt to exceed India’s 176 runs.

This was India’s second T20 World Cup win; the team won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007. It was also India's first World Cup win in 13 years in any type of cricket, after a series of heartbreaking close final matches over the last 12 months.

“Guys understand when the pressure is on what needs to be done,” said Rohit Sharma, India’s team captain. “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.”

Cricket is the world's second-most popular sport but many Americans are unfamiliar. T20 is an abbreviated form of the game. In a T20 match, each team has 20 overs. In each over, a bowler (similar to a pitcher) from the opposing team throws six balls for the batsman (similar to batter) to hit. Batsmen make “runs,” each time they hit a ball, which are counted as points for the team. There are two batsmen playing in each over.

“To get a run, the easiest or probably the hardest way to do it is to whack the ball as hard as you can so that it crosses the boundary line, which is the end of the field,” NPR's Mumbai, India, producer Omkar Khandekar told Morning Edition. “If you can do that, then you start running between what they call the pitch. And the more you run, the more runs you get."

India overcame early trouble in the match

Virat Kohli, one of the team’s top batters, played a key role in India’s eventual win over South Africa. The India team was in early trouble after deciding to bat first — they had only made 34 runs in the first five overs. This means that within the first quarter of India’s time batting, the team had averaged approximately only one run per ball.

But Kohli was able to help bring that average up. When India was done batting, the score was 176-7, meaning that they had made 176 runs with 120 balls, and seven players had gotten out.

India's Virat Kohli celebrates after the team's win against South Africa in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup final cricket match at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Saturday.
Ricardo Mazalan / AP
/
AP
India's Virat Kohli celebrates after the team's win against South Africa in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup final cricket match at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Saturday.

Kohli announced at the end of the game that this would be his last time playing in the T20 World Cup.

“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.”

Kohli pulled off an amazing performance in his final game, scoring what’s known as a “half-century” in cricket, which is when a batter scores 50 runs in the time his team was batting.

South Africa's Tabraiz Shamsi, left, reacts after his side's loss against India in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup final cricket match at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Saturday.
Ricardo Mazalan / AP
/
AP
South Africa's Tabraiz Shamsi, left, reacts after his side's loss against India in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup final cricket match at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Saturday.

When South Africa went up to bat, the team looked strong: they had made 147 runs in 15 overs in part thanks to Heinrich Klaasen. But once he was out, the team started to falter: Marco Jansen scored only two runs before Indian bowler Jasprit Bumrah threw a ball that resulted in an out.

Bumrah received the title “Player of the Tournament” thanks to his hard-to-hit bowling style.

David Miller scored 21 runs for the South African team in 17 balls, but in the last over of the tournament, a stunning catch from India's Suryakumar Yadav took Miller out of the game, and South Africa's remaining batsman could not score the remaining runs required to win. In the end, the South African team was just seven runs behind.

This was South Africa’s first time playing in the final of an international cricket competition.

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

Copyright 2024 NPR

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[Copyright 2024 NPR]

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