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"Hats off to him for bowling last over": Rohit Sharma lauds Hardik Pandya after T20 WC triumph

The Mumbai-born cricketer expressed his feelings after winning the trophy in front of the Wankhade squad.

Hats off to him for bowling last over: Rohit Sharma lauds Hardik Pandya after T20 WC triumph

Hardik Pandya

MUMBAI: India skipper Rohit Sharma heaped praise on all-rounder Hardik Pandya for his heroics in the last over during the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 final against South Africa.

The Men in Blue lifted the prestigious T20 World Cup trophy for the second time, defeating South Africa by seven runs in Barbados on Saturday. Rohit announced his retirement from the shortest format of the game after winning the T20 World Cup final.

The Mumbai-born cricketer expressed his feelings after winning the trophy in front of the Wankhade squad.

"This trophy is for the entire nation. Along with all the players who have represented the country, we want to dedicate it to our fans, who have waited for 11 years," said Rohit during the event.

Further, the opener hailed the Wankhade crowd and said thank you to them. "Mumbai never disappoints. We got a solid reception.

On behalf of the team, we would like to thank the fans. I am very, very happy and relieved," Rohit said during the event," the right-hand batter added. In the end, the prolific batter lauded Pandya for his brilliance in the last over of the final. "Hardik was bowling the final over for us. Hats off to him for bowling that last over. You know, no matter how many runs you need, there is always so much pressure to bowl that over. But hats off to him," the 37-year-old concluded.

The all-rounder, who made a big contribution in the final with the crucial wickets of Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller, had a good tournament with bat and ball and became the first Indian man to reach No. 1 in the category.

Hardik Pandya made impactful cameos down the order with the bat and made breakthroughs with the ball when the team needed him to. He finished with 144 runs at a batting strike rate of over 150 and also took 11 wickets. Rohit Sharma announced his retirement from the 20-over format after winning the T20 World Cup 2024.

With 4231 runs in 159 games, Rohit is the format's best scorer going out. He also owns the record for most hundreds (five) in T20 internationals. He has won two T20 World Cups: the first in 2007 while competing and the current one in 2024 as captain.

Sumarizing the day, members of the T20 World Cup-winning Indian team were greeted to a rapturous welcome during the victory parade from the Marine Drive to Wankhade Stadium in an open-top bus after they arrived in Mumbai from Delhi on Thursday.

A sea of joyous fans, riding on the high emotions of a World Cup victory, greeted the team with clapping and shouts. The team members reciprocated the feelings as they smiled and waved at the fans.

Captain Rohit Sharma and star batter Virat Kohli lifted the T20 World Cup 2024 trophy and showed it to the fans gathered in large numbers all along the route. Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah and Board vice president Rajiv Shukla were also with the players on the bus to celebrate the occasion.

Players also wrapped themselves in Tricolour during the celebrations. Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal were among the players who wore the national flag during the journey of the Vijay Rath.

A few team fans also climbed the trees to get a better look at the players. Players held the trophy as they waved to the enthusiastic cricket fans. Rohit held the hands of the team's head coach Rahul Dravid and batter Suryakumar Yadav and the three clasped towards the sky, marking triumph of the team. The team later reached the Wankhede Stadium.

Earlier, Team India landed in Mumbai to a heroic welcome for the victory parade. A sea of fans are present at Marine Drive to welcome the team that displayed grit, determination, and resilience to win the World Cup in the West Indies.

A felicitation ceremony will be held in Wankhade Stadium following the victory parade. Indian T20I vice-captain Hardik Pandya was seen holding the trophy in his hands when the team came out of the Mumbai airport. Fans had also gathered in large numbers outside the airport to express their admiration for the Men in Blue.

At the Mumbai International Airport, the Indian team walked through a Tricolour-draped aerobridge, and was showered with flower petals as they walked through the arrival corridor. The air echoed with traditional music, with Maharashtrian Dhol Tasha, Tutari, and Lezim used in the grand welcome for the Men in Blue.

The airport also rolled out a red carpet, culminating in a celebratory cake-cutting ceremony. Earlier, the T20 World Cup-winning Indian team touched down in the national capital, to a warm welcome from fans, who were eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of their favourite heroes and the trophy.

PM Modi interacted with the World Cup-winning team at his residence. During their meeting with the Prime Minister, the 'Men in Blue' wore a special jersey sporting two stars over the BCCI's emblem. The stars represented the two T20 World Cup wins.

The word 'CHAMPIONS' was written on the jersey in bold letters. After their arrival in the national capital, Team India reached the ITC Maurya Hotel, where they also cut a special cake featuring the T20 World Cup trophy to celebrate the historic win.

India ended a 13-year ICC World Cup trophy drought with a historic victory in Barbados. The team defeated South Africa in the final by 7 runs in a thrilling encounter.

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