India ends 11-year drought with brilliant defence in hall of fame final

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The toss favored Indian captain Rohit Sharma in the grand finale, and his decision to bat first was validated with a flurry of five fours in the first eight balls. However, Keshav Maharaj’s double-wicket second over, followed by Kagiso Rabada’s dismissal of Suryakumar Yadav, left India reeling at 45/3 after six overs.

In a bid to stabilize the innings, Axar Patel joined Virat Kohli, and the duo cautiously rebuilt the innings, bringing the score to 98/3 in 13 overs with a 72-run partnership. Unfortunately, Axar was run out, scoring 47 off 31 deliveries. Kohli, along with Shivam Dube, then added a resilient 57-run partnership.

Kohli’s heroic knock of 76 off 59 balls ended with the score at 163/5. Dube’s quickfire 27 off 16 balls helped India set a formidable target of 176/7 in their 20 overs. In response, South Africa had a rocky start as Jasprit Bumrah dismissed Reeza Hendricks in the second over, and Arshdeep Singh removed Aiden Markram in the third, leaving them at 12/2.

Tristan Stubbs and Quinton de Kock then stabilized the innings with a 44-run partnership, reaching 62/2 in eight overs. However, Axar Patel’s crucial wicket of Stubbs in the ninth over halted their momentum. De Kock and Heinrich Klaasen’s stable partnership added 36 more runs, bringing the score to 101/3 in 12 overs.

Arshdeep Singh’s re-entry saw de Kock dismissed, and David Miller joined Klaasen to add a quick 38 runs over the next two overs. With a run-a-ball equation in the last five overs, Bumrah’s economical 16th over and Klaasen’s dismissal in the 17th over left South Africa needing 22 runs from the final three overs.

Bumrah then bowled Jansen out in the 18th over, and Arshdeep Singh’s tight over left Hardik Pandya with 16 runs to defend in the last over with Miller on strike. Pandya’s first-ball dismissal of Miller, followed by a crucial catch from Suryakumar Yadav, reduced the target to 11 off the last three balls. Pandya kept his cool, taking the wicket of Rabada and securing a seven-run victory, ending India’s eleven-year wait for an ICC trophy.

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