India's cricket icons bid farewell to T20 internationals after World Cup triumph

India's cricket icons bid farewell to T20 internationals after World Cup triumph

Festus Chuma 10:17 - 30.06.2024

India triumphed in the T20 World Cup final, marking the retirement of two cricket legends from the T20 format.

India celebrated a historic victory at the T20 World Cup final in Barbados where they ended a 13-year title drought by securing a narrow seven-run win over South Africa.

The match not only brought the trophy home but also marked the end of an era as cricketing stalwarts Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma announced their retirement from T20 internationals.

In a high-stakes game, South Africa was on the chase, needing 26 runs from the last 24 balls to reach a target of 177.

The turning point came with the dismissal of Heinrich Klaasen, who had been a significant threat with a quick 52 off 27 balls. India, seizing the moment, clinched the match and the championship.

Post-match, emotions ran high as Virat Kohli, who scored a vital 76 runs, declared the final as his last T20 appearance.

"This was my last T20 World Cup, and this is what we wanted to achieve," Kohli said during the presentation.

"One day you feel you can't get a run, then things happen. God is great, and I got the job done for the team on the day it mattered. Now or never, (that was my) last T20 for India, wanted to make the most of it. Wanted to respect the situation rather than force it."

Confirming the speculation about his future, Kohli acknowledged, "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."

Rohit Sharma, who has been a formidable force in the tournament, also announced his departure from the format.

"This was my last (T20I) game as well. There is no better time to say goodbye to this format," Rohit expressed at the press conference.

"I've loved every moment of this. I started my India career playing this format. This is what I wanted, I wanted to win the Cup. I wanted this badly. Very hard to put in words. It was a very emotional moment for me. I was very desperate for this title in my life. I'm happy that we eventually crossed the line."

The final was particularly poignant as it also marked a role reversal between Kohli and Sharma.

While Sharma has consistently performed throughout the tournament, he scored only nine in the final.

Kohli, on the other hand, managed a comeback from a series of low scores to play a crucial innings.

"None of us doubted him, we know his quality," Rohit praised Kohli.

"Big players will step up in big occasions and he played a crucial knock today. It was a team effort to get to that total but we knew we needed someone to bat time and he did that perfectly, using all his experience."