|Men’s T20 World Cup Final, Melbourne|
|Pakistan 137-8 (20 overs): Masood 38 (28); Curran 3-12, Rashid 2-22|
|England 138-5 (19 overs): Stokes 52* (49); Rauf 2-23|
|England won by five wickets|
England beat Pakistan by five wickets in a pulsating final in Melbourne to win the Men’s T20 World Cup and become double world champions.
Chasing 138 in front of a rabid Pakistan-supporting crowd, they slumped to 45-3 and 84-4 under electric fast bowling.
But under intense pressure at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, Ben Stokes wrote himself further into English cricket’s folklore by finishing on 52 not out.
He was there at the end, just as he was in the 2019 50-over World Cup final, as this current white-ball side produced another of English cricket’s biggest wins.
As the equation tightened, Stokes capitalized on a cruel injury to Pakistan left-armer Shaheen Afridi to take England to victory with six balls to spare.
The victory, thanks in large part to a superb bowling performance from Sam Curran and Adil Rashid, means England become the first team to hold the men’s 20 and 50-over world titles.
It is also their second World T20 title after the victory in West Indies in 2010.
Stokes leads England over the line again
As Stokes pulled away after hitting the winning runs, he roared – his celebration reminiscent of his second iconic knock in the 2019 Ashes Test at Headingley.
He was soon mobbed by his teammates before running off to celebrate in front of a few England fans among this huge crowd of 80,462.
The pitch was tricky but England had looked strong favorites after their bowling performance restricted Pakistan to 137-8.
However, England know that finals are never easy. Their experience at Lord’s 2019 proved that.
Pakistan have the best pace attack in the world and the crowd erupted as early wickets fell in the chase.
This is also a weekend where England’s Red Roses lost a Rugby Union World Cup final and men’s rugby league battled out a World Cup semi-final.
But Stokes kept his cool throughout, even as the equation tightened to a situation where 41 runs were needed from 30 balls, to steer his side home with his maiden T20 international fifty.
His innings also banished memories of the 2016 T20 World Cup final, when he was smashed by Carlos Brathwaite’s four straight sixes in the final as West Indies clinched the title.
After a shock defeat by Ireland and a group stage exit to Australia, England needed to win all their remaining matches to lift the trophy, just as they did in the 2019 50-over World Cup.
Shaheen’s injury proves decisive
Pakistan – and the crowd – felt their moment when Harry Brook, with 54 needed from 45, sliced leg-spinner Shadab Khan straight to long-on.
But as he took the catch, Shaheen, who had bowled Alex Hales in England’s first over, injured himself – a moment that proved decisive.
He returned to the pitch to bowl the 16th but after a delivery he limped off the pitch.
That left part-time spinner Iftikhar Ahmed to finish the over and Stokes took his chance, hitting a four through extra cover and a six over long-off to bring the game under England’s control.
Moeen Ali followed by hitting seamer Mohammad Wasim for three fours in the next over and the result was almost certain, although Moeen was bowled in the 19th over.
Pakistan’s pace bowlers can take some of the blame. Haris Rauf had England captain Jos Buttler caught behind for 26 and Phil Salt was caught at mid-wicket in a thrilling spell.
He and Naseem Shah, who somehow went wicketless for four sensational overs, did all they could to secure what would have been Pakistan’s second T20 title.
Curran & Rashid star
England were equally impressive with the ball, albeit after a nervous start from Stokes, who opened the match with a no-ball and then a wide.
Pakistan’s fearsome opening pair of captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were shockingly early and Rizwan was bowled in the fifth over by Curran for 15.
Leg-spinner Rashid then had the dangerous Muhammad Haris caught at long-on with his first ball and in his third over delivered a decisive blow.
Babar had steadily reached 32 but Rashid foxed him with a googly and took a fine low return catch. Rashid followed that with five wickets to Iftikhar to complete a remarkable wicket maiden in the heat of a World Cup final.
From there, Pakistan did not recover. They lost seven wickets for 53 runs in the last nine overs.
Curran was deservedly named player of the tournament for a string of superb performances and once again his mix of slower yorkers and bouncers proved almost impossible to hit – he conceded just 12 runs from his four overs.
Shan Masood was Pakistan’s top scorer with 38 from 32. He chipped Curran to deep square leg in the 17th over, allowing Chris Jordan to help end the innings.
Jordan, who retained his place after Mark Wood failed to recover from injury, added the wickets of Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz as only 18 runs came from the last four overs.
“Incredibly proud” – reaction
England captain Jos Butler speaking to BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra: “It obviously hasn’t sunk in at all. What an incredible effort from everyone to win the game. I’m a bit speechless.
“It really feels different than 2019. It was a different time, a different place and a different group. I’m just incredibly proud. Both of them are just incredible.”
England all-rounder Ben Stokes: “I feel really good. It’s been a great night. The bowlers have to take credit for restricting them to 137. Sam Curran has done it all tournament and Adil Rashid has turned up at the end of the tournament when it really counts. It was the best I have seen him bowl for England in a T20.
“I’m very proud. You don’t get to win World Cups too often so to win two of them is pretty special.”
England head coach Matthew Mott: “It’s very special to me. We wanted to show up and put on a show and enjoy it. We’re going to enjoy tonight with the boys because we’ve put in a lot of work to get to this point.”
Pakistan captain Babar Azam: “First of all congratulations to England, they deserve to be champions. We felt at home. Everyone who has come to support us at every place, thank you very much.
“The first two games we lost but the way the team bounced back was incredible, thanks to my team.”
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