Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Proteas edged out in nail-biting T20 World Cup final against India

India reclaimed the T20 world title they last won in 2007.

South Africa fell at the last hurdle on Saturday, going down to India in a nail-biting encounter in the final of the T20 World Cup in Barbados.

Having gone unbeaten in their previous eight matches in the tournament, making history by reaching their first World Cup final in any format, the Proteas settled for the runner-up spot after being handed a seven-run defeat in the trophy contest.

Needing 177 runs to win, the Proteas were left reeling at 12/2 in the third over of their innings, but while India looked to be in control, opener Quinton de Kock and partner Tristan Stubbs turned the game on its head.

They combined in a 58-run stand for the third wicket before Stubbs was dismissed by Patel in the ninth over, after contributing 31 off 21, and De Kock (39 off 31) was removed four overs later, trying to clear the boundary.

Explosive middle-order batter Henrich Klaasen then bashed his fifth T20 International half-century, hitting 52 off 27 in an innings which included five sixes, at a strike rate of 192.59.

After he fell in the 17th over, however, the Proteas were ultimately reduced to 169/8.

India innings

Earlier, after winning the toss and choosing to bat, India got off to an aggressive start, but the Proteas attack ripped through their top order, restricting them to 34/3 in the fifth over.

India were resurrected, however, by a 72-run partnership for the fourth wicket between experienced batters Virat Kohli and Axar Patel.

Despite the duo digging their heels in, South Africa’s bowling unit again combined well to contain their opponents, as they had done throughout the tournament. And their persistence eventually paid off when wicketkeeper De Kock ran out Patel for a quickfire 47 off 31.

After Patel fell, Kohli shared a 57-run stand for the fifth wicket with Shivam Dube (27 off 16) before the veteran opener was caught by Kaigso Rabada off a Marco Jansen delivery in the penultimate over of the innings.

Kohli made 76 runs off 59 balls in an innings which featured six fours and two sixes, and after he was dismissed, India went on to reach 176/7 in their 20 overs.

Spin bowler Keshav Maharaj, who took 2/23, and fast bowler Anrich Nortje (2/26) spearheaded South Africa’s attack.

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