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Friday, July 12, 2024

IND vs SA T20 World Cup Final: Who Will Win?

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 final in Barbados on Saturday will pit a courageous India—desperate to break their ICC title drought—against a resolute South Africa.

Rohit Sharma’s Indian team knows better than most that it all comes down to this—the final. They were in the World Test Championship final in 2021 and 2023 and lost both encounters. They reached the ODI World Cup final and lost.

The results and performances leading up to the summit clash do not matter as the final is a blank slate. The team aims to erase the painful memory of November 19, 2023, when a crowd of over 100,000 in Ahmedabad was left disappointed by Australia’s triumph under Pat Cummins.

A victory would also serve as a perfect send-off for outgoing coach Rahul Dravid, who experienced heartbreak in the Caribbean during the 2007 ODI World Cup as India’s captain but now stands on the brink of a remarkable farewell as coach.

For India, the quest to reclaim the T20 World Cup title they last won during its inaugural edition in 2007 has been a long journey marked by near-misses. Since their last ICC triumph at the Champions Trophy in 2013, India’s passionate fanbase has yearned for new silverware. The Men in Blue came close on several occasions, including finals in 2014 and semi-final finishes in 2016 and 2022. Heartbreak was especially poignant last year when the team reached the final of a home ODI World Cup unbeaten, only to fall short at the ultimate hurdle. Saturday offers them a golden opportunity to heal those wounds and break a barren streak in global events.

Meanwhile, South Africa is scripting its own story. This is the first time the Proteas have advanced to the final of a men’s World Cup, in either the ODI or T20 format. Known for their “chokers” tag due to numerous heartbreaking semi-final exits—five times in ODI World Cups and twice in T20 World Cups—South Africa aims to redefine this narrative. Their sole ICC title triumph came with the inaugural Champions Trophy in 1998, but this year’s resilient performances have edged them closer than ever to a long-awaited World Cup title.

South Africa would want to shed the C-tag and winning their first-ever World Cup final will go a long way in helping them do so. Aiden Markram has not been as flamboyant as a Faf du Plessis or a Graeme Smith, but he has with him one of the most well-rounded Proteas squads that don’t rely on one or two big names. Having seen more heartbreaks than India in the past, it’s South Africa who should be able to play with the ‘nothing-to-lose’ attitude. But it’s easier said than done. If Aiden Markram manages to step on the podium to collect the trophy on Sunday, it will be a seminal moment in South African cricket history – a day that might unlock a serial champion trait.

There is a high chance of rain on Saturday, but the ICC has scheduled a reserve day for this crucial match. It’s a contest of high stakes, storied histories, and soaring aspirations. As the cricketing world watches with bated breath, one thing is certain: Saturday’s match will guarantee a new chapter in the legacy of both teams, and only one will emerge victorious, lifting the much-coveted ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024.


Virat Kohli vs Kagiso Rabada: Kohli’s form has been lackluster, scoring only 75 runs in seven matches at an average of 10.71. He faces a tough challenge in Rabada, who has taken 12 wickets in eight matches with an impressive economy of 5.88. Rabada has dismissed Kohli four times in 13 T20I innings, conceding just 51 runs.

Rishabh Pant vs Keshav Maharaj: Pant has scored 171 runs in seven matches at a strike rate of 129, while Maharaj has taken nine wickets in the same number of matches. Pant, batting at No. 3, may face Maharaj early. Maharaj will need precision to counter Pant’s unconventional shots, especially given Pant’s vulnerability to the reverse sweep.

Jasprit Bumrah vs Quinton de Kock: De Kock, South Africa’s top scorer with 204 runs in eight matches at a strike rate of 143, will confront Bumrah, who has 13 wickets in seven matches with an economy of 4.12. De Kock will need to be at his best to score against Bumrah and avoid losing his wicket.

Axar Patel/Kuldeep Yadav vs Heinrich Klaasen: Klaasen, known for his prowess against spin, has struggled in this World Cup with 138 runs in eight matches at a strike rate of 112. He will face Axar and Kuldeep, who have troubled batsmen with their precise lines and variations. Klaasen must regain his form to boost South Africa’s middle-order performance.


India is set to stick with the same playing eleven, hoping for key contributions from Virat Kohli and Shivam Dube in the final. Kohli has had a quiet tournament, contrasting with his prolific IPL season, while Rohit Sharma has led by example and his innings will be crucial. Dube’s performance against spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi could be key. India’s bowlers, both pacers and spinners, have been in top form heading into the final.

South Africa too might field an unchanged playing XI. They expect strong performances from openers Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks, with de Kock capable of putting serious pressure on the opposition. Captain Aiden Markram and Heinrich Klaasen, known for their destructive hitting, need runs, especially against India’s spin threat. While South Africa’s pace attack has been impressive, its effectiveness in a day game remains to be seen. Shamsi and Maharaj are effective, but Indian batters are unlikely to be intimidated by them.


The Barbados wicket is projected to be batting-friendly, with an average score of 167 runs and a winning first innings total of 184 since 2022. However, in the T20 World Cup 2024, the average first innings score was 150, with 182 being the winning score while batting first. This will be the ninth match of the tournament at this venue. The first game here went to a Super Over, but subsequent contests have not been as close.

The teams batting first won three of the next four completed matches at this venue. Scotland raced to 90 without loss in 10 overs against England before that game was called off. In the last two matches in Bridgetown, the West Indies and England bowled out the USA cheaply and completed comfortable chases. South Africa have not played at this venue in the tournament so far, but India secured a 47-run win over Afghanistan in their one game here.


India: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma (C), Rishabh Pant (wk), Suryarumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Shivam Dubey, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah.

South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram (c), Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Tristan Stubbs, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi.


Given the upbeat mood amongst fans and experts following India’s dominant victory over England in the semifinal in Guyana, Rohit Sharma and his team are seen as the overwhelming favorites. This confidence is well-founded, considering India’s strong squad and the favourable Caribbean conditions.


“You know, I don’t really believe in this ‘Do it for somebody’. I love that quote about somebody asking somebody else, ‘Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?’ and he says ‘I want to climb Mount Everest because it’s there’. I want to win this World Cup because it’s there. It’s not for anyone, it’s not for anybody, it’s just there to win” India coach Rahul Dravid about the #DoItForDravid campaign.

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Source: India Today

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