Exuberant fans lined up to express support despite monsoon showers and heavy security deployment before Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted them for breakfast as India’s T20 World Cup-winning cricket stars returned to a euphoric reception, on Thursday.

Hundreds of supporters, holding placards congratulating their favourites and waving the national flag, braved the inclement weather to wait outside the airport for the victorious side, which defeated South Africa by seven runs in the final in Bridgetown on Saturday last week.

There was dancing, there were multiple cakes, and there were fans on streets showing just why cricket is the most passionately followed sport in the country. The energy rubbed off on the weary players, who joined in the fun after arriving at the hotel from airport to complete the party atmosphere.

“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 secretary Jay Shah made arrangements for a special charter flight.

The Air India special charter flight AIC24WC -- Air India Champions 24 World Cup -- arrived in Delhi at 6am (IST) on Thursday after a 16-hour non-stop journey.

Text/Video: PTI