This was my last T20 match for India: Kohli

Kohli top-scored in the final. (PC: ICC)

Team India made history by winning the T20 World Cup after a 17-year gap, defeating South Africa by seven runs in the final. Gritty knocks from Virat Kohli and Axar Patel were matched by Heinrich Klaasen’s explosive half-century, but an all-round effort from the bowling unit helped India secure victory from the jaws of defeat.

Kohli had a disappointing tournament before the final, scoring only 75 runs in seven innings and posting his lowest-ever average (10) in a T20 World Cup. Even more surprising was his strike rate, which lingered around 100. However, Kohli couldn’t have found a better stage than the final to prove his worth once again. His 76 runs off 59 balls in his last T20I was instrumental in helping India secure their second T20 World Cup title.

“This was my last T20 World Cup, this is exactly what we wanted to achieve,” said an elated Kohli. “One day you feel like you can’t get a run and this happens. God is great. Just the occasion, now or never kind of situation. This was my last T20 game playing for India. We wanted to lift that cup. Yes I have, this was an open secret. Not something that I wasn’t going to announce even if we had lost. Time for the next generation to take the T20 game forward.”

There was significant criticism surrounding Kohli’s batting leading to this game. However, the team management and skipper Rohit Sharma remained confident that the star batter would deliver, and Kohli did not disappoint them, the fans, or the captain.

“Nobody was in doubt with Virat’s form. We know the quality he has, come the occasion the big players will stand up,” said Rohit. “Virat was holding that end up for us. We wanted someone to bat as long as possible. This wasn’t a wicket where a new guy could come and play straight. That’s where the experience of Virat comes through. I’ve been someone who has seen him play for so many years, but even I don’t know how he does it. It is a masterclass. He backs his skills and he is a very confident lad.”