4,836 Days Later… A World Cup Comes Home! Yes, let that sink in. 

June 29, 2024 – a day that will be etched in the memories of every Indian for years to come. INDIA HAVE WON THE WORLD CUP! 

The heart-warming visuals from Barbados were a sight to behold – Rohit on his knees, Hardik carrying the flag around, Virat hugging Captain RO, Dravid lifted by the team… images of pure and raw emotion. 

It had been 13 long years since India last lifted a World Cup, and 17 years since they clinched a T20 World Cup. Indians were up all night celebrating, and why wouldn't they? 

It was a historic night to be remembered for generations to come.

A special shout-out to South Africa, who played their hearts out in the tournament and gave it their all to reach their first-ever World Cup final. Their dedication and skill were evident throughout the tournament, earning them admiration from fans the world over. 

Source - ESPNCricinfo

India’s unstoppable journey!
India's unbeaten run at the T20 World Cup 2024 is a story for the ages. Starting off in Group A with arch-rivals Pakistan, Ireland, USA, and Canada, India won all their games, with only the match against Canada being abandoned due to rain. Advancing to the Super 8 Stage unbeaten, India continued their dominance with victories over Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and the formidable Australians, finishing at the top of the table. 

This set up a highly anticipated semi-final against England, a team that had defeated them by 10 wickets in the 2022 T20 World Cup semi-final. This time, however, India turned the tables with a resounding 68-run victory. 

In the final, they faced South Africa, who had made their first-ever World Cup final appearance. 

Source - BCCI

Rohit Sharma won the toss and chose to bat first. Virat Kohli got India off to a solid start, hitting three boundaries in the first over. However, disaster struck in the next over as Keshav Maharaj sent back both Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant. Soon after, Suryakumar Yadav fell cheaply, leaving India in trouble at 34-3.

Virat-Axar join hands to revive India

At 34-3, India was teetering on the edge of disaster. In a bold move, Axar Patel was sent up the order, a decision that would prove to be a masterstroke. Patel, with the ever-reliable Virat Kohli by his side, embarked on a heroic mission to anchor India’s ship. 

The duo's scintillating 72-run partnership breathed life and hope into the match. 

Source - BCCI

Displaying ominous touch, Shivam Dube also added valuable runs to the scoreboard. Meanwhile, Kohli unleashed himself in the 18th over, taking the attack to the bowlers. Eventually, Kohli was dismissed for a magnificent 76, but not before he had guided India to a fighting total of 176.

Source - ESPNCricinfo

Jasprit Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh give India a perfect start!

India began the defence of their total in perfect fashion. Jasprit Bumrah struck early, dismissing Reeza Hendricks with a peach of a delivery. Arshdeep Singh soon joined the action, taking the crucial wicket of Aiden Markram. This double blow left South Africa reeling at 12 for 2, putting India firmly in control of the match.

Source - ESPNCricinfo

Then came the pivotal partnership between Quinton de Kock and Tristan Stubbs, which began to shift the momentum in South Africa's favour. The duo added 58 runs quickly, threatening India's control over the match. 

Source - Cricinfo

After Axar Patel broke the partnership, new man Heinrich Klaasen was determined not to give up, blazing his way to a 23-ball fifty as his partnership with David Miller swung the match in South Africa's favour. They found themselves needing just 30 runs in the last 5 overs, a task that seemed straightforward.

However, the momentum shifted when Jasprit Bumrah bowled the crucial 16th over, conceding just 4 runs and applying pressure on South Africa. The situation intensified when Hardik Pandya dismissed Heinrich Klaasen for 52, putting the brakes on South Africa's acceleration once again. This wicket was pivotal, as it revived India's hopes and added a twist to the thrilling climax of the match.

Source - ESPNCricinfo

Bumrah struck again, dismissing Marco Jansen in his final over, finishing with figures of 2/18 leaving South Africa needing 20 in 2 overs. 

Source - ESPNCricinfo

Arshdeep Singh’s over in the 19th was a crucial one with David Miller still at the crease. He bowled 2 brilliant deliveries to Keshav Maharaj and then managed to keep David Miller quiet to give only 4 runs in the over. Stunning stuff from Arshdeep!

With South Africa needing 16 runs in the final over, the stage was set for a thrilling finish.

SKY’s impeccable catch

The tension was palpable as Hardik Pandya took the ball, with David Miller poised at the striker's end. Pandya's delivery was a full toss, and Miller struck it straight down the ground. Just as it seemed destined for the boundary, Suryakumar Yadav intervened with extraordinary athleticism. Sprinting from long off, Yadav leapt into the air to pluck the ball out, but realising he was heading over the boundary, he threw it back into play while airborne, then swiftly re-entered the field of play to complete a stunning catch. 

This moment of brilliance dashed South Africa's hopes. Hardik Pandya maintained his composure, and India clinched victory by 7 runs in a thrilling finale. 

Source - BCCI

The final ball unleashed a wave of jubilation and raw emotion among players and fans alike. For Indian cricketers and supporters, it had been a long-awaited triumph, and they celebrated with unparalleled joy and passion. The sight of Indian players, visibly overwhelmed by their achievement, showed the years of hard work and dedication. Among them, Rahul Dravid's celebration with the trophy stood out as an unforgettable moment.

Source - ESPNCricinfo

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli announce retirement from T20Is

Another significant announcement followed the World Cup victory, as Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma announced their retirement from T20 Internationals after securing the title. For Kohli, there couldn't have been a more fitting conclusion to his illustrious career than clinching a championship he had long coveted. He finished his T20I career as the highest run-scorer in T20 World Cups, capping it off with a Player of the Match performance in the decisive final match. 

In the post-match presentation, Kohli said, “This was my last T20 World Cup, this is exactly what we wanted to achieve. This was my last T20 game playing for India. We wanted to lift that cup. Time for the next generation to take the T20 game forward and do wonders as we have seen them do in the IPL.”

Source - ESPNCricinfo

Rohit Sharma, too, stated in the Press Conference later that he has retired from the T20I format after the World Cup win. He has etched his legacy as a captain with this win and has redeemed himself after the heartbreak of the 2023 ODI World Cup Final. He said, "This was my last game as well. No better time to say goodbye. I wanted this (trophy) badly. It's very hard to put in words. I was very desperate for this in my life. Happy that we crossed the line this time.”.

Source -ESPNCricinfo

Source - ESPNCricinfo

That marked the end of an emotional rollercoaster for cricket fans worldwide! India's triumphant lift of the World Cup trophy, after a 13-year wait, will be cherished for years to come — a truly unforgettable moment. From their unbeaten run throughout the tournament to becoming the first team to win the World Cup without losing a single match, India's journey was nothing short of remarkable.