India’s End to Trophy Drought or South Africa’s Maiden World Cup? An Epic Battle Awaits

So, the tournament, which started with twenty teams from different corners of the world, is now down to only two: India and South Africa. These two unbeaten sides will appear in the final at Barbados to finish their job with the World Cup trophy, where an epic battle is anticipated.

While this year’s World Cup is full of surprises like the USA beating Pakistan, Afghanistan beating New Zealand, and mighty Australia getting eliminated in the Super 8 stage, these two sides have avoided defeat in all their matches so far, which clearly indicates that both are in lethal form at present.

The ICC T20 World Cup Final

Before digging deep, let’s see some essential information for the final:

Teams to face off: India and South Africa

Date: 29th June, 2024

Time: 10:30 PM (Local Time)

Venue: Kensington Oval, Barbados 

It’s all set for the T20 World Cup Final, the epic battle of the champs to be champions! Hold your breath and get prepared to witness the history!

The Mighty India’s Road to Final!

After finishing the IPL 2024, the T20 format tournament, India traveled to the USA and started their campaign with an easy warm-up game against Bangladesh. Their group initially seemed easy, considering the presence of the USA and Ireland with Pakistan. But things got twisted when the USA defeated Pakistan in a Super Over thriller and let the cricket world know about their strength and potential!

Though India managed a comfortable win against Ireland in their first match, their struggle against the all-time rival Pakistan was very upsetting for their fans. However, they won that crucial game and ensured their promotion to Super 8, while Pakistan failed to make it through.

In the Super 8 phase, they didn’t face much challenge against Afghanistan and Bangladesh, but they stumbled against Australia for a while, yet they won convincingly. However, they moved to the Semifinal as the Group Champion.

In the Semifinal, the memory of the 2022 World Cup was reminded as they accepted a 10-wicket defeat that time against the same opponent. But, this time, they were very careful and planned very smartly, and the execution was even better. In fact, England didn’t put much challenge in the second innings because of losing wickets in regular intervals and ended without fighting back.

Now, the Men in Blue, India, is looking to end their trophyless sessional of more than 11 years with the last win of this World Cup on Saturday!

South Africa’s Historical Journey

South Africa’s journey so far is so impressive! Starting with a dominating win against Sri Lanka, they set the tone for this year. However, the following three matches were challenging for them, where they secured the last ball win against three comparatively low-profile teams: the Netherlands, Bangladesh, and Nepal!

Even in Super 8, they won against England with a close margin (7 runs only). However, like their match against Sri Lanka, their semifinal battle with Afghanistan was also a dominating one where their opponent couldn’t make any counterattack!

While India has reached the final for the third time in the T20 World Cup, South Africa has made it for the first time in their cricket history! As they have won their very first semifinal of the World Cup in any format, a win in the final is now their target, and they aim to save their name in the record book by doing so! 

Things India Should Be Confident And Concerned Of

India, a team of stars, is dominating the tournament so far. Rohit Sharma, Rishav Pant, and Surya Kumar are performing outstandingly in this tournament. However, their bowling side is even better, led by Jashprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav, who are performing so destructively to defend any total scored by the batters.

However, Virat Kohli, the legendary batter, is not that of his mood and has yet to play any convincing knocks this year. Shivam Dube, another important batter, is knocking here and there. The concern is if the in-form batters fail, will the other batter recover that successfully?

South Africa’s Strengths and Areas to Focus

Historically, they are the “chokers” who usually fail to hold their nerve in crucial games of mega-events. But this World Cup is different. They have won in every close match from the group stage to the Super 8 phase.  Quinton de Kock is performing brilliantly like he did in last year’s ODI World Cup. Their bowling department is also impressive, with Rabada and Shamsi in red hot forms.

Another thing to remember is that South Africa has a captain who raised the World Cup trophy previously! It’s Aiden Markram, the captain of South Africa’s Under-19 World Cup-winning team!

However, they must overcome their limitations, such as depending too much on Rabada and Shamsi. They are also facing difficulties while chasing a low total, indicating that they struggle in a bowling-friendly pitch. Winning close matches is also a concern because luck might not always favor them! It’s worth mentioning that things would have been different if they had not been that lucky against Bangladesh and Nepal!  

How will the Pitch Behave?

Like the first and unlike the 2nd semifinal, there is a reserve day for the final, considering rain to play a vital role. However, the record says that 19 matches have been played on this pitch where the team batted first, won 19 times, and lost 11 times. The pitch suits fast bowlers, especially when the ball is new. However, the spinners have little to get from the pitch, so Kuldeep, Axar, or Shamsi should be on point to keep the run rate under control. At the same time, Rabada and Bumrah can change the scenario, in fact, one of them will be the cutting-edge factor in the final!

Final Thoughts

After becoming the first T20 World Cup champion, Indian Cricket focused on the T20 version and inaugurated the Indian Premier League (IPL), one of the most expensive franchise tournaments in the world right now.  But after that, they couldn’t win it again. On the other hand, South Africa has been sending promising teams each time, but reaching the semifinals has been their highest achievement until now. And they have broken the deadlock this time!

Both India and South Africa have reached the final, showing their brilliance on the field. Besides, uncertainty touches the peak in this shorter version of cricket. While both games in the knockout stage were not very competitive, the whole cricket world is looking forward to a toe-to-toe fight this time!


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