India triumphed over South Africa in a nail-biting finish to secure the 2024 T20 World Cup title with a seven-run victory in the final on Saturday. Spearheaded by Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya, the Indian bowlers successfully defended a total of 177 in Bridgetown, thanks to Virat Kohli's resilient 76 off 59 deliveries.

South Africa, chasing 177, appeared to be in control at 151 for four in 16 overs, with Heinrich Klaasen (52 off 27 balls) and David Miller (21 off 17 balls) at the crease, needing only 26 runs from 24 balls. However, Pandya (3-0-20-3) turned the tide by dismissing Klaasen on the first ball of the next over. Bumrah (4-0-18-2) then delivered a masterful over, followed by a remarkable penultimate over from Arshdeep Singh (4-0-20-2).

With South Africa requiring 16 runs in the final over, Pandya took the ball and secured the crucial wicket of Miller on the first delivery, with Suryakumar Yadav executing a spectacular catch at long-on. Pandya then maintained his composure in the tense final over, limiting South Africa to 169 for eight, thereby ending India's 11-year drought for an ICC trophy.

This marks India's second T20 World Cup victory, following their win in the inaugural tournament in 2007. Their last ICC event win was in 2013, when they claimed the Champions Trophy in England. The victory also served as a fitting send-off for outgoing coach Rahul Dravid, who finally achieved success in an ICC tournament final after previous losses to Australia in the World Cup Championship and the ODI World Cup.

South Africa's quest for their first World Cup title remains unfulfilled. Klaasen's impressive performance against both pace and spin on Saturday proved in vain as the Indian bowlers snatched victory from the brink of defeat. Earlier, Kohli's fighting half-century (76 off 59 balls, 6 fours, 2 sixes) helped India recover from early setbacks to post 176 for seven.

India, having won the toss and chosen to bat, found themselves at 34 for three in the fifth over after early dismissals of Rohit Sharma (9), Rishabh Pant (0), and Suryakumar (3). However, Kohli and Axar Patel (47 off 31 balls) revived India's hopes with a strong partnership, while Shivam Dube (27 off 16 balls) contributed a vital cameo. South Africa's Keshav Maharaj (3-0-23-2) and Anrich Nortje (4-0-26-2) each claimed two wickets.

The 35-year-old Kohli, who had been struggling for significant scores throughout the tournament, delivered a crucial innings in the final. Emotionally, Kohli announced that this match was his last T20 international for India, stating, "God is great, and I got the job done for the team on the day it mattered. Now or never, last T20 for India, wanted to make the most of it, wanted to lift the cup." He added, "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."