From Victory to Retirement: Kohli’s Last T20I Match Secures World Cup

Virat Kohli has announced his retirement from T20 internationals, concluding his career on a high note after India clinched their second T20 World Cup title in Barbados. Kohli revealed his decision shortly after India’s thrilling seven-run victory against South Africa, where he was named Player-of-the-Match for his crucial 76 off 59 balls.

“This was my last T20 World Cup and exactly what we aimed to achieve,” Kohli said. “This is an amazing game. I told Rohit today when we went out to bat that some days you feel you can’t score, and then everything falls into place. God is great. I bow my head in gratitude. I’m really thankful I could deliver when the team needed it the most.”

Kohli confirmed his retirement plans, emphasizing his readiness to pass the baton to the next generation. “This was always going to be my last T20 World Cup playing for India,” he said. “It’s time for the younger players to take over. There are amazing talents in India who will continue to shine in the T20 format, as we’ve seen in the IPL. I have no doubts they will keep our flag flying high.”

India’s victory marked their first World Cup win since the 2011 ODI edition, which was also Kohli’s first World Cup. He reflected on the long wait and the collective effort behind the triumph. “It’s been a long wait for us to win an ICC tournament,” Kohli said. “Players like Rohit Sharma, who has played nine T20 World Cups, deserve this victory as much as anyone else in the squad. We’re just happy to have finally achieved it.”

Kohli’s T20I career, spanning 125 matches, ended with him being India’s second-highest run-scorer in the format, amassing 4,188 runs at an average of 48.69 and a strike rate of 137.04. Despite a challenging World Cup campaign where he scored only 75 runs in seven innings before the final, Kohli’s decisive performance in the final underscored his resilience and determination.

“To be honest, I couldn’t have imagined this in my wildest dreams, especially considering how my tournament had gone so far,” Kohli told Star Sports. “This experience has humbled me greatly. It reminded me to put my head down and respect the game. Today, I felt different—more anchored and in sync with the situation. Rohit and I have often spoken about winning in this format before we retire, and now we have achieved it.”

Kohli’s retirement marks the end of an era in Indian cricket, with his contributions and leadership leaving a lasting legacy. As he steps aside, the cricketing world will look to the next generation to build on the foundations he has laid.

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