T20 World Cup 2024, final, Ind vs SA – All you need to know about the final

T20 World Cup 2024, final, Ind vs SA – All you need to know about the final

The finalists of the men’s T20 World Cup 2024 have been decided; we are set for India and South Africa to scrap it out for the title on Saturday morning in Bridgetown, Barbados. Ahead of the big game, ESPNcricinfo is here to answer all the questions you might have about the final.

So India and South Africa it is. How many times have they met in ICC finals? Or a knockout match?

This will be the first time that the two teams meet in the final of a men’s ICC tournament. India and South Africa did meet in the 2014 T20 World Cup semi-final, which India won.

Can they be called the two best teams in this tournament?

Well, one can say that the two most in-form teams have made it to the final. Both India and South Africa are unbeaten in the tournament, and both teams topped their respective groups in the group stage and the Super Eight, although South Africa have an extra win under their belt given India’s washout against Canada.

Whoever wins the final will be the first team to win a men’s T20 World Cup unbeaten.

Which team has taken the tougher route?

South Africa registered wins over Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Netherlands and Nepal in the group stage before beating USA and England in the Super Eight. They faced West Indies in their final Super Eight match, knowing that a defeat would knock them out, but eked out a three-wicket win in a tight contest that was shortened by rain.

India, meanwhile, began their campaign with wins over Ireland, Pakistan and USA. Their perfect record in the group stage was marred by rain, as their game against Canada in Lauderhill was washed out. India started the Super Eight stage with big wins against Afghanistan and Bangladesh and capped it off by beating Australia.

In terms of opposition, it could be argued that India faced tougher teams, having to overcome Pakistan, Australia and then England in the semi-final, but South Africa were seriously tested in most games but still found a way.

Okay, so why is this final a big deal for South Africa?

Well, it is a historic occasion for South Africa because it is the first time they will be competing in the final of a men’s World Cup, ODI or T20. In fact, apart from winning the inaugural Champions Trophy in 1998, South Africa have not made the final of any ICC men’s tournament.

They have come close on many occasions, reaching the semi-finals in five ODI World Cups (1992, 1999, 2007, 2015, 2023) and two T20 World Cups (2009 and 2014) before this year, but for the first time they have got to within one win of the title.

And why is it important for India?

While India won the first ever T20 World Cup, in 2007, they are without a World Cup title since 2011 and their last ICC silverware was the 2013 Champions Trophy. They have come close since, reaching the final of the T20 World Cup in 2014, and the semi-finals in 2016 and 2022, as well as the semi-finals of the 2015 and 2019 ODI World Cups. Last year, they were unbeaten en route to the final in a home ODI World Cup, but faced heartbreak in the final. Less than 12 months later, they have a chance to heal some of those wounds and end their barren run in global events.

When was the last time a World Cup was held in the West Indies?

The 2010 T20 World Cup was the last one hosted by the West Indies. That year’s final, between England and Australia, was also played at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown.

So what do we know about the pitch and conditions?

The teams batting first won three of the next four completed matches at the venue, and Scotland had raced to 90 for no loss in 10 overs against England before that game was called off. The last two matches in Bridgetown had West Indies and England bowling USA out cheaply and completing comfortable chases.

Wind, is that going to be a factor?

It could be windy, with wind gusts predicted at 35 kmph from the east, going up to 45 kmph. But it probably won’t have as much of an influence as it did in Gros Islet when India took on Australia.

The India-England semi-final was affected by rain. What’s the weather forecast looking like for the final?

According to AccuWeather, there are some showers expected, so we may face interruptions. There is a roughly 50% chance of precipitation in the morning between 4am and 9am, but that comes down to roughly 30% between 10am (the scheduled toss time) and 1pm, when it goes up again to roughly 50%. There will be 190 minutes of extra time allotted on Saturday to try and complete the game. Both teams need to bat at least 10 overs for a winner to be declared.

So there is a reserve day?

Yes, the final does have a reserve day. The match will only go into Sunday if at least 10 overs each is not possible on Saturday even with extra time. The game, if already underway, will pick up from where it left off on Saturday, not start from scratch.

Like match day, the scheduled start of play on the reserve day is 10.30am local time. There are some showers forecast for Sunday too, though the forecast for match hours is relatively better (about 20% chance of rain) than what’s expected overnight and later in the day.

What happens if we can’t get a result even after the reserve day?

If the weather prevents the match from being completed even on the reserve day, both teams shall be declared joint-winners.

Abhimanyu Bose is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo

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