Exuberant Indian cricketers received a heart-warming welcome home from fans after winning the Twenty20 World Cup final in Barbados

NEW DELHI — Exuberant Indian cricketers received a warm welcome from fans after winning the Twenty20 World Cup final in Barbados.

India captain Rohit Sharma held the World Cup aloft as he arrived at New Delhi International Airport early on Thursday morning.

Hundreds of supporters gathered at the airport, many waving national flags and chanting “India, India.”

Thousands more were waiting to continue the festivities, which began Saturday and were about to scale up. Some players danced to drumbeats as they reached their hotels.

India recorded a sensational seven-run win over South Africa in a thrilling final over the weekend, ending a drought in International Cricket Council limited-overs competitions.

The team’s return from the Caribbean was postponed due to a closure caused by Hurricane Beryl in Barbados.

“It is an experience of a lifetime,” said cricket official Arun Dhumal.

The T20 victory was India’s first World Cup title since winning the 50-over format in 2011.

In the last 12 months, India have lost the World Test Championship final to Australia in England and the 50-over World Cup final at home, also to the Australians.

After meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, the cricketers would fly to Mumbai and take part in a public bus tour. A celebratory ceremony would be held at the Wankhede Stadium later on Thursday.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has announced a cash bonus of Rs 1.25 billion (US$15 million) for the winning team.

Shortly after winning the title, Rohit Sharma, star player Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja announced their retirement from international T20 matches.

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AP Cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket