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The Indian team landed in Delhi on Thursday aboard a specially-arranged charter flight

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Return of champions

New Delhi, July 4: The T20 World Cup-winning Indian cricket team returned to the country here on Thursday aboard a specially-arranged charter flight with scores of fans lining up outside the airport to welcome the players despite a steady drizzle and heavy security deployment that kept them at a distance from their heroes.
Hundreds of supporters, holding placards congratulating their favourites and waving the national flag, braved the weather to welcome the victorious side, which defeated South Africa by seven runs in the final in Bridgetown on Saturday last week.
“We have waited for this moment for the past 13 years. The team has made us proud by winning the World Cup,” a fan, who claimed to have been waiting since 4:30am in the morning said, referring to India’s last World Cup triumph which came back in 2011.The side was unable to head back home immediately after the title win due to a shutdown forced by hurricane Beryl in Barbados. They were cocooned in their hotel before the BCCI made arrangements for the special charter flight.The Air India special charter flight AIC24WC — Air India Champions 24 World Cup — which left Barbados around 4:50am local time on Wednesday arrived in Delhi at 6am (IST) on Thursday after a 16-hour non-stop journey.
The Indian squad, its support staff, the players’ families and some BCCI officials were aboard the flight along with members of the travelling media contingent.
Heavy security was deployed to keep the crowd in check at the Indira Gandhi International airport but that did little to dampen the spirits as fans cheered enthusiastically holding up posters of star batter Virat Kohli, skipper Rohit Sharma and outgoing head coach Rahul Dravid.
Two buses were stationed outside the T3 Terminal to ferry the players to their hotel, from where they will head to the Prime Minister’s residence at 9am tentatively for a reception.They trickled out in ones and twos after completing immigration formalities.Tired but excited, the players acknowledged the waiting fans by waving at them and flashing warm smiles.Suryakumar Yadav, who took the sensational match-winning catch of David Miller in the final, was the most enthusiastic in responding to the cheering. (PTI)

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