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Klaasen heroics fail to get Proteas over the line as India is crowned T20 World Cup champions

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Despite an incredible knock from Heinrich Klaasen it was a bridge too far for South Africa, as India held their nerve to win the T20 World Cup final by seven runs in Bridgetown on Saturday.

South Africa’s Heinrich Klaasen looks on after hitting a four during the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup 2024 final cricket match between India and South Africa at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, on June 29, 2024. Picture: Chandan Khanna, AFP

Despite an incredible knock from Heinrich Klaasen it was a bridge too far for South Africa, as India held their nerve to win the T20 World Cup final by seven runs in Bridgetown on Saturday.

Klaasen, with 52 runs from 27 balls, was at his sublime best as he helped the Proteas to the verge of a historic triumph.

With South Africa needing 54 to win from 36 balls, Klaasen stepped up to sway the match in favour of the Proteas as he plundered 24 runs in the 15th over of their chase. It was part of a crucial 45-run stand between Klaasen and David Miller (21).

The turning point, though, was when Klaasen was dismissed caught behind off the bowling of Hardik Pandya, and it left South Africa still needing 26 from 23.

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No Miller time this time

It meant Miller and Marco Jansen (2) had to try and see South Africa over the line. But Jansen had no answer for an inswinging Jasprit Bumrah (2/18) delivery which cannoned into the top of leg stump in the 18th over to leave South Africa still requiring 21 from 14 to win.

It came down to the last over, with Miller on strike needing 16 from six. Pandya bowled a full toss outside off and Miller smashed it high over mid-off, but an outstanding catch from Suryakumar Yadav on the boundary saw the end of the left-hander’s stay in the middle.

That would turn out to be the end of South Africa’s fight as the tailenders could not manage a miracle in the final over, as India held their mettle to be crowned champions.

Set 177 to win, South Africa got off to a bad start with Reeza Hendricks (4) dismissed in the second over, as Bumrah dished out a near unplayable fast delivery which clattered into the top of off stump to leave the Proteas 7/1.

Proteas skipper Aiden Markram (4) was next to depart with a reckless drive which found the edge as he was caught behind by Rishabh Pant, off the bowling of Arshdeep Singh with South Africa in trouble at 12/2 after 2.3 overs.

That strike brought together Tristan Stubbs (31 from 21 balls) and Quinton de Kock (39 from 31), and just as they were beginning to look good Axar Patel struck. In fact, it was more down to poor shot selection as Stubbs moved outside his stumps and Patel obliged with a straight delivery that smashed into the wickets. It ended a 58-run third wicket partnership, and brought back India into the contest.

At the halfway stage of their innings, South Africa had reached 81/3 still needing 96 runs from 60 balls.

After nailing a lofted four over fine leg, De Kock went for the same shot again off the next ball but was caught on the boundary this time by Kuldeep Yadav off the bowling of Singh. The breakthrough cut short a promising partnership of 36 between De Kock and Klaasen.

Klaasen’s rampage falls short

The key over, it seemed, was the 15th when Klaasen went on the rampage. The bowler on the receiving end was Patel as Klaasen smashed two fours and two sixes as he single handedly brought down the chase to 30 runs from 30 balls. But alas, it was downhill from there for the Proteas.

Virat Kohli starred for India with a quite magnificent knock of 76 from 59 balls, as he first laid down the anchor before unleashing the big shots in the latter part of his innings as his team posted 176/7.

After winning the toss and batting, India made the perfect start as Kohli capitalised on some full bowling from Marco Jansen (1/49) to score 15 in the first six balls – which was also the most expensive first over ever in a T20 World Cup final.

Hoping to spring a surprise on India, Keshav Maharaj (2/23) was called on to bowl the second over of the innings. After conceding two boundaries off the first two balls, Rohit Sharma hit one to Klaasen at square leg as India lost their first wicket with the score on 23.

Maharaj struck again two balls later as Pant departed for a duck as he attempted a sweep and ended up hitting the ball straight up to wicketkeeper De Kock for the simplest of catches with India falling to 23/2.

Kagiso Rabada (1/36) was next to strike as he removed Yadav (3) with a bouncer which was caught again by Klaasen, this time at deep fine leg to leave India 34/3.

With India rocked by the triple strike by South Africa, Markram did not hesitate to bowl himself in the power play. It was a perfectly-executed over, conceding just six as the part-timer was able to sneak in six balls.

At the halfway stage of their innings, India had reached 75/3.

With Patel (47 runs from 31 balls) and Kohli having put on 72 runs for the fourth wicket, it took a moment of brilliance from De Kock to make the breakthrough.

With Kohli playing a flick which was gathered on the bounce by De Kock, the keeper saw non-striker Patel attempting a run and pulled off a brilliant direct hit from over 35 metres to affect the runout. It left India on 106/4 with 6.3 overs remaining.

Kohli was finally out in the penultimate over, caught at long on by Rabada off the bowling of Jansen. It ended a 57-run stand between Kohli and Shivam Dube for the fifth wicket.

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