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India to end global title drought in face off against South Africa

India will be out to end their global title drought while South Africa are seeking to bury their ‘chokers’ tag at Kensington Oval on Saturday when the tournament’s two unbeaten sides clash in the Twenty20 World Cup final.

Their blemish-free campaigns and comprehensive victories in the semi-finals leave no doubt that the 20-team tournament’s best two sides have made the final in Bridgetown.

A day after South Africa stopped Afghanistan’s fairytale run in the first semi in Trinidad, India ended England’s title defence in Guyana to make the third consecutive final of a global event across all formats.

Skipper Rohit Sharma will hope India, who lost in the finals of the World Test Championship and the 50-overs home World Cup last year, will make it third time lucky.

Both Rohit, 37, and stalwart Virat Kohli, 35, are playing what could be their last T20 World Cup, and winning the trophy would be a perfect farewell for them.

They appear to have both the game plan and personnel to do just that.

At the top of the order, Rohit personifies India’s batting philosophy, which values a string of attacking cameos more than one match-winning knock from any one batter.

Their three-pronged spin attack has served them well in the second half of the tournament, while pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah has been almost unplayable so far.

Rohit believes a calm dressing room has been key to India’s strong run.

“We do understand the occasion but for us it’s important to keep calm and composed,” he said.

“That helps us make good decisions. We need to make good decisions through the 40 overs.”

Kohli’s struggles for runs appear to be India’s only worry heading into the final but Rohit has no concerns about the form of his opening partner.

“We understand his class. When you have played for 15 years, form is never a problem,” he said.

“He’s probably saving it for the final.

Chokers no more?

It will be a test of nerves for their opponents as well as South Africa look to shed their baggage from having reached their first World Cup final in any format after seven semi-final heartbreaks.

Their pace attack has been on the money, bailing them out whenever their batters failed.

Opener Quinton de Kock has used his Caribbean Premier League experience to good use, while there is significant firepower in their middle order.

In Aiden Markram, South Africa also have a composed leader who has gone 10 matches unbeaten as captain.

“It’s a personal and individual motivation that you get to a final, to earn the opportunity to hopefully lift the trophy,” Markram said.

“We feel and we believe that we can compete with the best in the world and we can win trophies. And it’s nice for us to now have that opportunity …”

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