By Rex Clementine

Barbados produced a thrilling World Cup final with India snatching victory from the jaws of defeat against South Africa on Saturday. Since winning the 50 over World Cup in 2011, India had reached several finals in World Cups but had fallen short unable to clear the last hurdle, but this time around they were clinical and sealed a hard fought seven run win.

This was a game that South Africa had no reason to lose. The 15th over bowled by Axar Patel went for 24 runs with Heinrich Klaasen smashing 22 runs. The equation was 54 runs required in 36 balls prior to that over and then it came down to 30 in 30 balls and South Africa had the game in the bag with the target being 177.

Rohit Sharma brought his biggest match winner Jasprit Bumrah sensing this was slipping away. He gave away just four runs in the over.

With 26 runs needed off 24 balls it was still South Africa’s game. There was a delay as Rishabh Pant received treatment but India may have taken the momentum away from South Africa by holding things up.

Immediately afterwards, Klassen departed chasing a wide one from Hardik Pandya for 52 off 27 balls with five sixes and two fours. South Africa felt the pressure and couldn’t handle it.

Bumrah was back into the attack for the 18th over and gave away just two runs and more importantly dismissed Marco Jansen.

South Africa needed 20 in the last two overs. With David Miller in the middle this was still possible. Arshdeep Singh conceded four runs in the penultimate over leaving South Africa with 16 in the last six balls.

Miller attempted to clear Pandya straight down the ground but Suryakumar Yadav pulled off a stunning catch to remove South Africa’s last recognized batter and it was match over for the Proteas.

South Africa will be kicking themselves wondering how they lost this game.

It was a brilliant team effort by Rohit Sharma’s side. The standout performers were Bumrah and Virat Kohli. Bumrah’s four overs went for just 18 runs and produced two crucial wickets.

Kohli, meanwhile, helped India rebuild the innings after three wickets fell inside the power play. The former India captain ended up with 76 off 59 balls with six fours and two sixes.

Fittingly Kohli was named Man of the Match and Bumrah Player of the Series for his 15 wickets.