India ended their 17-year wait to win the T20 World Cup as they edged out South Africa by seven runs in a thrilling final in Barbados.

Saturday's match went right to the wire with South Africa requiring 16 runs from the final over, but Hardik Pandya clinched a hat-trick with the late dismissals of David Miller and Kagiso Rabada as the Proteas lost their nerve.

Virat Kohli had earlier smashed 76 runs off 59 balls, comfortably his best score of the tournament, to help India set a daunting target of 177 – the highest ever in a men's T20 World Cup final.

Kohli's innings came to an end in the penultimate over as he swung Rabada's delivery straight to Marco Jansen at long-on, after partner Axar Patel (47) was run out by Quinton de Kock.

That knock proved to be the title clincher, though, as the India bowlers provided able support to their batsmen.

South Africa were reduced to 12-2 within the first three overs as Jasprit Bumrah sent wickets flying with a brilliant outswinger to beat Reeza Hendricks (4) and Arsheep Singh had Aiden Markram (4) caught behind by Rishabh Pant.

If India thought they would be able to defend their total in comfort, however, they were mistaken.

Heinrich Klaasen slammed 52 off 27 balls with support from De Kock (39) and Tristan Stubbs (31), to take them close.

Thirty runs from as many deliveries was the target at one point, but Klaasen nicked Pandya's ball through to Pant in the 17th over and Bumrah followed up by dismissing Jansen for two.

The tail was unable to provide the heroics for South Africa, desperate final-over swings from Miller (21) and Rabada (4) going unrewarded as Pandya finished with an efficient 3-20.

Kohli picks his moment

Kohli has not been on top form throughout this tournament, 37 versus Bangladesh his best score until this point with five of his innings bringing single-digit tallies.

He stepped up when it mattered most, though, becoming just the third player to make a half-century in multiple T20 World Cup finals, having made 77 in India's 2014 loss to Sri Lanka (also Marlon Samuels and Kumar Sangakkara).

After being presented with the Man-of-the-Match award, Kohli suggested he will not play at the next edition of the tournament in 2026. If his T20I career is over, he certainly went out on a high.

Klaasen's historic knock in vain

South Africa ran India close despite being tasked with chasing the best total ever recorded in a T20 World Cup final, and that was mostly due to Klaasen's efforts.

He made his half-century in 23 balls, the fastest 50 in a T20 World Cup final. He obliterated the previous record, Mitchell Marsh's 31-ball half-century for Australia in 2021.

Long wait over for India

Most observers would agree India are fitting champions, having marked themselves out as the best team at the tournament during the last few weeks.

It is their first T20 World Cup crown since they won the inaugural edition in 2007, and they have joined England and West Indies as the only teams to triumph more than once (two titles each).