Bumrah and Hardik script stunning comeback to lead India to T20 World Cup glory

South Africa

India 176 for 7 (Kohli 76, Axar 47, Maharaj 2-23, Nortje 2-26) vs South Africa 169 for 8 (Klaasen 52, Bumrah 2-18, Arshdeep 2-20, Hardik 3-20) by seven runs

Suryakumar Yadav purloined a boundary catch for the ages, Jasprit Bumrah snuck in two electric final overs, and Hardik Pandya pilfered the two big wickets as India pulled off one of their great heists to win a World Cup, finally.

With five overs to go, South Africa were rampant. Heinrich Klaasen, one of the great hitters in the game, threatening to throw off decades of painful big-match history for his team with a hail of sixes. He and David Miller had clubbed 38 runs off the two previous overs, and with six wickets in hand South Africa needed only a run-a-ball off the last 30 balls.

Rohit Sharma was forced to go to the best bowler in the world, when he would have otherwise saved Bumrah for later overs. Bumrah didn’t quite break the partnership, the batters never daring to take him on. But he did break Klaasen and Miller’s stride. They scrambled only four runs off that over.

But the most telling blow, came at the start of the 17th over. After the flow of the game was further slowed due to an apparent knee complaint for Rishabh Pant, Hardik bowled a wide line outside off and took the edge of Klaasen, Pant snaffling the chance gleefully.

Still, Miller was there, though he couldn’t get a boundary away off the rest of that over.

Then Bumrah came back, bowled several ripsnorters in the last over of yet another tournament he has dominated. With one of those magic balls, a wicked in-seamer, he burst through the defenses of the last recognised South Africa batter, Marco Jansen, and grazed leg stump.

With Keshav Maharaj now in the middle, their batting line-up notably short, and 20 needed off 12 balls, South Africa were for the first time since the early overs of the chase in trouble. Arshdeep Singh delivered a nerveless 19th over, off which South Africa could muster only four.

The dream-killing blow came next. With 16 needed off the final over, bowled by Hardik. Miller tried to lift the first ball, a wide full toss, over the straight boundary. But he didn’t connect perfectly, and Suryakumar, running full tilt along the rope, his feet only centimetres inside, caught the ball, popped it up as he briefly stepped over the boundary, then completed the running catch as he hopped back into the field, sparking wild jubilation in the stands, and ecstatic celebrations from the India players.

South Africa batters No. 8, 9, and 10, did not manage to get Hardik away, aside from a single outside edge that flew for four.

When Hardik India completed the seven-run win, the bowler sank to his knees in relief, his team-mates exulted, and the crowd, largely supporting India, flew into euphoria. Their team had become World Champions again, after 13 years.

Bumrah’s spectacular finals showing

On a flat track in Barbados, Bumrah bowled two unplayable deliveries that brought him two wickets – both bowled. The first of these was the better one. It was one of the best in the tournament, and very arguably one of the best ever in finals. Angled in to Reeza Hendricks, it pitched and seamed away to hit the top of off, beating the batter’s outside edge.

He conceded five runs in that first over, eight runs in the next (one of only two boundaries off his bowling came here – a not fully-controlled steer through deep third).

But those last two overs went some distance to defining this match. Four runs off the 16th over, after the 15th had been clubbed for 24 runs. Two runs off the 17th. His figures were 2 for 18.

Full report to follow

Andrew Fidel Fernando is a senior writer at ESPNcricinfo. @afidelf

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