Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma retire from format after India’s T20 World Cup win

India captain Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli helped end their country’s decade-long hunt for silverware with victory over South Africa in the T20 World Cup final then immediately announced their retirement from the format.

The duo are the two top run-scorers in the history of T20 internationals, both boasting over 4,000 runs, and they picked their moment of shared triumph to leave the stage.

Kohli top-scored with 76 from 59 balls in a gripping seven-run victory over the Proteas in Barbados, while Sharma finally got his hands back on a trophy he first won as a youngster in 2007.

Kohli, 35, and Sharma, 37, both shed tears at the end of the game, overcome by the emotion of a long-awaited triumph and by the realisation that they would soon be saying farewell.

Kohli, still the sport’s most bankable star, was first to go as he confirmed his departure at the post-match presentation.

“This was a now-or-never situation. This is my last T20 game playing for India, my last World Cup, so I wanted to make the most of it,” he said.

“This was an open secret. It’s time for the next generation to take the T20 game forward.

“It’s been a long wait for us, waiting to win an ICC tournament. We wanted to win that cup. It’s been difficult to hold things back and I think it’s going to sink in later. It’s been an amazing day and I’m thankful.”

Virat Kohli celebrates after India's win is confirmed
Virat Kohli celebrates after India’s win is confirmed (Ricardo Mazalan/AP)

Sharma kept his cards closer to his chest, getting through the formalities, the initial dressing room celebrations and the vast majority of his press conference before finally springing his surprise.

“This was my last game as well,” he said.

“There’s no better time to say goodbye to this format. I’ve loved every moment of this.

“I started my India career in T20 and this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to win the cup and say goodbye.”

For an India side who have finished as runners-up five times in ICC finals in the past decade, spanning all three formats, this was a moment of catharsis.

“It’s hard to sum up what we’ve been through… a lot of high-pressure games that we’ve been on the wrong side of,” said Sharma.

“Guys understand when the pressure is on what needs to be done and today was a perfect example. We stuck together with our backs to the wall. We wanted this really badly.”

Sharma failed to leave his own mark on the final, dismissed for just nine, but was thankful for Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah, who took two for 18 and changed the game at the death.

“Come the occasion, big players stand up. No one was in doubt about Virat, he’s been on top of his game for the last 15 years. Jasprit? I don’t know how he does it. It’s just a masterclass. Class act.”

South Africa captain Aiden Markram in the field in the T20 World Cup final in Barbados
South Africa were playing in their first World Cup final in Barbados (Ricardo Mazalan/AP)

Proteas skipper Aiden Markram, whose side were chasing a first ever World Cup win and failed to get over the line despite needing only 30 runs from the last 30 balls.

“It’s gut-wrenching… the way this game went only adds to the emotions,” he said.

“I’d like to think we’re one step closer to getting that first win. It hurts quite a bit but I’m incredibly proud.

“South Africans are competitive, respectful and will go down with a fight. This is still a proud moment for us.”