In India, fan excitement escalated on Friday as the national team secured a spot in the T20 World Cup final by defeating England convincingly, positioning the country for its first significant title in more than ten years. Despite the immense popularity of cricket in India and its status as the hub of T20 cricket through the profitable IPL, India's sole victory in the tournament was 17 years ago. Their last major win was the Champions Trophy in 2013, and since then, their aspirations have been repeatedly thwarted. They narrowly missed winning the 50-over World Cup on home soil last year, losing to Australia in the final, which was a heartbreak for 1.4 billion Indians. As Saturday's final against South Africa in Barbados approached, Indian fans began to dream. 'The excitement has reached its peak,' said Pritam Kumar Sinha, a 58-year-old accountant and cricket enthusiast in Patna. 'It has been a while since India won any world title. If India wins on Saturday, it will be a fitting end for outgoing coach Rahul Dravid,' he told AFP. In New Delhi, college student Varsha Sinha expressed her eagerness for the final. 'We have been undefeated in the tournament so far, and I am praying the trend continues,' said the 20-year-old, who adjusted her weekend plans to watch the match on TV. India eliminated defending champions England by 68 runs in a rain-affected semi-final, with captain Rohit Sharma setting the stage by scoring 57 in a total of 171-7. This was Sharma's third fifty in the tournament and second in consecutive games after his explosive 92 against Australia. Left-arm spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel each took three wickets to limit England to 103 all out. Nitin Gadkari, India's Minister for Road Transport and Highways, commended the team's 'stellar' performance in Guyana. 'Best of luck for the final match – bring home the trophy! Your determination and skill are truly inspiring. Let's make history,' he posted on social media. Fans also took to social media to express their support for the team. 'Well played Team India. Let's celebrate the victory and all the best for the finale,' wrote one user on X, formerly Twitter. 'Climbing that one last step often takes the most courage and it is the most difficult,' IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bengaluru posted. 'But we know Team India is not going to settle for anything lesser.'