Rohit: It’s not what we did today, it is what we have done for three-four years

India

“We wanted to win this, but I know to win a tournament like this, a lot goes behind the scenes,” Rohit said at the presentation ceremony. “A lot of effort, lot of minds need to come together, and I’m very, very proud of the bunch of boys that I have, and the management as well.

“For giving us the liberty to go and play and execute and having that trust in each one of us. That has to start from the management, coach-captain, and the players go out there to do it. Throughout the tournament, we were fantastic.”

Rohit praised India’s ability to come back from an extremely tough situation, when South Africa needed just 30 runs off 30 balls with six wickets in hand. Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh pulled it back after that to secure a seven-run victory.

“We have played a lot of high-pressure games in the past as well and been on the wrong side of it as well, but guys do understand when the pressure is on, what needs to be done,” Rohit said. “Today was the perfect example of when the back is against the wall what is required.

“We stuck together as a team, all of us, even though at one point it was looking South Africa’s way, but I thought overall as a group, on the field, we wanted this really bad. It’s very hard to sum up what we have been through for the last three-four years.

“We worked really hard as individuals and as a team, a lot has gone on behind the scenes for us to be here today and winning this game. It’s not what we did today, it is what we have been doing for the last three-four years, that’s the result that has come for us today.”

The Player of the Final award went to Virat Kohli, whose 76 helped India score 176 for 7 after they were 34 for 3 in the fifth over. He had endured a tough T20 World Cup until then, scoring only 75 runs in seven innings, but Rohit said the team never was in doubt that Kohli would come good.

“Nobody was in doubt about Virat’s form,” Rohit said. “We know the quality he has, he has been on top of his game for the last 15 years, come the occasion we know big players will stand up. Virat was obviously holding that one end which was very, very crucial for us, and the others played around him. For us to get to that total was a team effort as well. We wanted somebody to bat as long as possible.

“These are not the wickets where you can come and bat freely and keep the scoreboard ticking straightaway. We do understand that, and we wanted somebody to bat as long as possible and Virat did that perfectly. That is where experience, all the years he has played, comes into the picture. And the other guys played really well, Axar’s [Patel] knock of 47 was very crucial as well.”

While India appeared to be ahead during large parts of South Africa’s chase, David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen plundered 38 runs off the 14th and 15th overs, from Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav, to turn the game on its head. But with 29 to defend of 30 balls, Rohit turned to Bumrah, who gave away just four runs in his third over and then just two runs in the 18th over to heap pressure on South Africa.

Bumrah finished the T20 World Cup with 15 wickets, second only to Fazalhaq Farooqi and Arshdeep Singh, at an average of 8.26 and economy of 4.17 to earn the Player of the Tournament award. “I’ve been someone who has seen him for so many years, playing alongside him, even I don’t know what exactly is with him,” Rohit said. “I know exactly what he brings to the table, but how he does that is just masterclass to be honest.

“And he backs his skills, which is more than enough and he’s a very confident lad, whatever he wants to do, he executed that to perfection. In one word, he’s a class act. And Hardik was brilliant as well, bowling that over, no matter how many runs is required to book that last over, nerves and all of that, I’m very proud.”

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