Virat Kohli Named Player of the Match in ICC T20 World Cup 2024 Final

In a dramatic and emotional conclusion to the ICC T20 World Cup 2024, Virat Kohli announced his retirement from T20 cricket immediately after being named Man of the Match for his stellar performance in the final. Virat Kohli’s announcement came on a day when India ended their 11-year wait for a global cricket trophy by defeating South Africa by seven runs to emerge as champions.

“This was my last T20 World Cup, and this is what we wanted to achieve. One day you feel you can’t get a run, and then things happen. God is great, and I got the job done for the team on the day it mattered. Now or never, the last T20 for India wanted to make the most of it. Wanted to lift the cup, and respect the situation rather than force it. This was an open secret, it’s time for the next generation to take over, some amazing players will take the team forward and keep the flag waving high,” said Kohli during the post-match presentation.

The final, held at the iconic Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, saw India opting to bat first after winning the toss. The team faced early setbacks with captain Rohit Sharma (9), Rishabh Pant (0), and Suryakumar Yadav (3) falling cheaply, leaving India at a precarious 34 for three. However, Kohli, with his vast experience and calm demeanor, anchored the innings with a crucial 76 off 59 balls, including six fours and two sixes. His partnership with Axar Patel (47 off 31 balls) yielded 72 runs for the fourth wicket, stabilizing the Indian innings. Late fireworks from Shivam Dube (27 off 16 balls) propelled India to a competitive total of 176/7.

In response, South Africa’s chase faltered early, with Reeza Hendricks (4) and captain Aiden Markram (4) falling quickly. Quinton de Kock (39 off 31 balls) and Tristan Stubbs (31 off 21 balls) attempted to rebuild, but the Indian bowlers maintained pressure throughout. Heinrich Klaasen’s explosive 52 off 27 balls gave South Africa a fighting chance, but Hardik Pandya’s exceptional bowling (3/20) turned the tide decisively in India’s favor. Jasprit Bumrah (2/18) and Arshdeep Singh (2/20) also delivered crucial spells, restricting South Africa to 169/8 in 20 overs.

The match’s turning point came in the final over, with South Africa needing 16 runs. David Miller, known for his finishing prowess, faced Hardik Pandya’s bowling. Amidst mounting tension and a slight drizzle, Miller’s powerful hit was caught spectacularly by Suryakumar Yadav, dubbed the “catch of the decade,” sealing India’s victory.

Reflecting on the win and Kohli’s retirement, presenter Harsha Bhogle drew parallels to the 2011 World Cup when the Indian team carried Sachin Tendulkar on their shoulders. Kohli humbly responded, “Rohit has played nine T20 World Cups, this is my sixth. He deserves it. I wasn’t confident in the last few games, but grateful and humble right now, and I bow my head. It’s been difficult, and the emotions of the game, it’s difficult to hold things back. The emotions will come later.”

This triumph marks India’s second T20 World Cup victory, their first since the inaugural tournament in 2007 under MS Dhoni’s leadership, and their first global title since the Champions Trophy in 2013. Kohli’s performance in the final, his first fifty of the tournament, was instrumental in securing this historic win.

As India celebrates this monumental victory, Kohli’s retirement marks the end of an illustrious T20 career, paving the way for a new generation of cricketers to carry forward his legacy. His departure leaves a significant void, but the foundation he has built will undoubtedly inspire future Indian cricketers.

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