Virat Kohli Bids Emotional Farewell to T20Is After India Clinches ICC T20 World Cup

"We wanted to lift that cup. Not something that I was not going to announce even if we had lost. Time for the next generation to take the T20 game forward."

In a heart-wrenching and memorable moment for Indian cricket, star batter Virat Kohli announced his retirement from T20 Internationals (T20Is) following India’s thrilling seven-run victory over South Africa in the ICC T20 World Cup final.

Kohli’s match-winning knock of 76 runs proved pivotal in securing India’s second T20 World Cup title, ending an 11-year ICC trophy drought for the nation.

A Farewell Amidst Victory

Speaking during the post-match presentation, an emotional Kohli confirmed that this was his last T20I match for India.

“This was my last T20 World Cup, this is exactly what we wanted to achieve. One day you feel like you cannot get a run and this happens, God is great. Just the occasion, now or never kind of situation. This was my last T20 game playing for India.”

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“We wanted to lift that cup. Not something that I was not going to announce even if we had lost. Time for the next generation to take the T20 game forward. It has been a long wait for us, waiting to win an ICC tournament. You look at someone like Rohit, he has played 9 T20 World Cups and this is my sixth. He deserves it,” Kohli said.

The Match That Made History

India won the toss and opted to bat first in the high-stakes final at Kensington Oval, Barbados. The start was rocky as India was reduced to 34/3, but Kohli’s calm and composed innings, coupled with Axar Patel’s explosive 47 off 31 balls, stabilised the innings. Kohli’s 76 off 59 balls, laced with six boundaries and two sixes, alongside Shivam Dube’s cameo of 27 in 16 balls, propelled India to a competitive total of 176/7.

South Africa’s chase was tumultuous, with early breakthroughs by Jasprit Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh setting them back at 12/2. Despite valiant efforts from Quinton de Kock and Heinrich Klaasen, the disciplined death bowling by Hardik Pandya (3/20), Bumrah (2/20), and Arshdeep (2/18) curtailed South Africa to 169/8, securing India’s victory.

Kohli’s Glorious T20I Career

Kohli leaves T20Is as one of the format’s greatest batsmen. His career in T20 World Cups is unparalleled, amassing 1,292 runs in 35 matches at an average of 58.72 and a strike rate of 128.81. His overall T20I career boasts 4,188 runs in 125 matches, with an average of 48.69 and a strike rate of 137.04, including one century and 38 fifties.

Reflecting on his journey, Kohli said, “I’ve enjoyed it since the time I started playing this format. No better time to say goodbye to this format. I’ve loved every moment of this. This is what I wanted – I wanted to win the cup.”

A Tribute to Team and Coach

Kohli dedicated the victory to coach Rahul Dravid, appreciating his monumental contributions to Indian cricket.

“What he has done for Indian cricket for the past 20, 25 years, this was the only thing left. I am very happy on behalf of the entire team that we could do this for him,”

he expressed.
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Kohli also praised his teammates, especially highlighting the performances of bowlers Arshdeep Singh and Jasprit Bumrah, and acknowledged the efforts of Rohit Sharma, who also recently announced his retirement from T20Is.

The End of an Era

As Kohli steps away from T20Is, he leaves behind a legacy of unmatched dedication and excellence. His departure, alongside Rohit Sharma’s, marks the end of an era for Indian cricket. The nation celebrates their contributions, cherishing the moments they’ve created and the victories they’ve brought home.

With India’s first ICC title since 2013, Kohli’s retirement symbolizes not just an end, but a new beginning for the next generation of cricketers to take Indian cricket forward.

India’s triumph in Barbados will be remembered not just for the trophy, but for the emotional farewells and the beginning of a new chapter in Indian cricket.

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