Rohit Sharma Bids Farewell To T20I Cricket As A World Cup Winning Captain

Mumbai: Following India’s dramatic seven-run victory over South Africa in the ICC T20 World Cup final, captain Rohit Sharma announced his retirement from T20 internationals, joining Virat Kohli in bidding farewell to the shortest format. While both players will continue to play ODIs and Tests, their retirement marks the end of an era for Indian T20 cricket. Also Read: Virat Kohli Announces Retirement From T20 Cricket After Winning T20 World Cup 2024

“This was my last [T20I] game as well,” Rohit said at the press conference after the final. “No better time to say goodbye to this format. I’ve loved every moment of this. I started my India career playing this format. This is what I wanted, I wanted to win the cup. Also Read: India Clinches Second ICC T20 World Cup Title, Ending 11-Year ICC Trophy Drought

“I wanted this badly. Very hard to put in words. It was a very emotional moment for me. I was very desperate for this title in my life. Happy that we eventually crossed the line.”

Rohit Sharma leaves T20Is as the format’s highest run-scorer, amassing 4,231 runs in 159 matches, including a record five centuries. He has been a pivotal figure in T20 cricket, having won two T20 World Cup titles: the inaugural tournament as a player in 2007 and now as captain in 2024. His leadership and aggressive batting approach have been instrumental in India’s success.

Rohit’s retirement, like Kohli’s, was anticipated. Neither player participated in T20Is following India’s semi-final defeat in the 2022 T20 World Cup until resuming in January this year, focusing on the 2024 T20 World Cup. Rohit finished this tournament as the second-highest run-scorer, with 257 runs at a strike rate of 156.70, excelling in challenging batting conditions in the USA and the West Indies. His attacking play provided India with fast starts, including crucial half-centuries in the Super Eight match against Australia and the semi-final against England.

In the World Cup final, India won the toss and opted to bat first, posting a competitive total of 176/7. Despite a shaky start, with India reduced to 34/3, Virat Kohli (76 off 59 balls) and Axar Patel (47 off 31 balls) stabilized the innings with a 72-run partnership. Kohli’s knock, featuring six fours and two sixes, was pivotal in anchoring the innings, while a 57-run stand with Shivam Dube (27 off 16 balls) further boosted India’s score.

South Africa’s bowlers, led by Keshav Maharaj (2/23) and Anrich Nortje (2/26), initially put India under pressure. However, Kohli’s experience and composure helped India recover.

In response, South Africa’s chase started poorly, with early wickets leaving them at 12/2. Quinton de Kock (39 off 31 balls) and Tristan Stubbs (31 off 21 balls) fought back with a 58-run partnership, while Heinrich Klaasen’s 52 off 27 balls kept South Africa in contention. However, India’s bowlers excelled in the death overs. Arshdeep Singh (2/18), Jasprit Bumrah (2/20), and Hardik Pandya (3/20) delivered under pressure, restricting South Africa to 169/8 in their 20 overs.

Virat Kohli, whose match-winning performance earned him the ‘Player of the Match’ award, also announced his retirement from T20Is. Kohli ends his T20I career with 4,188 runs in 125 matches, averaging 48.69 with a strike rate of 137.04, including one century and 38 fifties.

With this victory, India not only ended their 11-year ICC trophy drought but also became the first team to win the T20 World Cup undefeated. As the cricketing world celebrates this historic win, it also bids farewell to two of its greatest T20I players, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who leave an indelible legacy in the sport.

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