|Men’s T20 World Cup Final, Melbourne|
|Pakistan 137-8 (20 overs): Massoud 38 (28); Curran 3-12, Rashid 2-22|
|England 138-5 (19 overs): Stokes 52* (49); Up to 2-23|
|England won by five wickets|
England beat Pakistan by five wickets in a thrilling final in Melbourne to win the Men’s T20 World Cup and become double world champions.
Chasing 138 in front of a raucous crowd supporting Pakistan, they fell to 45-3 and 84-4 amid electric fast bowling.
But, under intense pressure at Melbourne’s iconic cricket ground, Ben Stokes immersed himself further in English cricketing folklore by finishing 52 un-eliminated.
He was there at the end, as he was in the 2019 World Cup final aged 50, as this current white ball side provided another of English cricket’s greatest wins.
As the equation tightened, Stokes took advantage of a cruel injury to Pakistani left-armor Shaheen Afridi and led England to victory with six balls to spare.
The win, 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+ world titles.
It is also their second world title in T20 after their victory in the Antilles in 2010.
Stokes lead England down the line again
As Stokes stalked away after hitting the winners, he roared – his celebration reminiscent of his other iconic shot in the 2019 Ashes Test at Headingley.
He was quickly mobbed by his team-mates before they ran off to celebrate in front of the few England supporters among that massive crowd of 80,462.
The pitch was tricky but England had appeared to be the favorites after their bowling performance limited Pakistan to 137-8.
England, however, know finals are never easy. Their experience at Lord’s in 2019 showed that.
Pakistan have the best attacking speed in the world and the crowd erupted as the first wickets fell in pursuit.
It is also a weekend in which England’s Red Roses lost a Rugby World Cup final and the men’s rugby league side were beaten in a World Cup semi-final .
But Stokes remained calm throughout, even as the equation tightened to a situation where 41 runs were needed on 30 balls, to bring his team home with their first international T20 fifty.
His sleeves also banished memories of the 2016 T20 World Cup final, when he was crushed by Carlos Brathwaite’s four straight sixes in the final as West Indies won the title.
After a shock loss to Ireland and a washout against Australia in the group stage, England needed to win all of their remaining games to lift the trophy, just as they did in the 2019 World Cup at 50. year.
Shaheen’s injury proves crucial
Pakistan – and the crowd – felt their moment when, with 54 needed from 45, Harry Brook cut leg spinner Shadab Khan straight long-off.
But on capturing Shaheen, who had knocked down Alex Hales in England’s opener, he was injured – a moment that proved crucial.
He returned to the field to play on the 16th, but after a delivery he limped off the field.
That left part-time spinner Iftikhar Ahmed to finish the most and Stokes seized his chance, hitting an extra four-through cover and a six-longer to put the game under control for England.
Moeen Ali followed by hitting dressmaker Mohammad Wasim for three fours on the next course and the outcome was all but certain, although Moeen was knocked down on the 19th course.
Pakistani rhythm bowlers cannot be blamed. Haris Rauf caught England captain Jos Buttler for 26 and Phil Salt caught at half wicket in a thrilling spell.
He and Naseem Shah, who went wicketless in four sensational overs, did everything they could to secure what would have been Pakistan’s second T20 title.
Star of Curran and Rashid
England were equally impressive with the ball, albeit after a nervous start from Stokes, who started the game off the ball and then wide.
Pakistan’s fearsome opening pair of captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were surprisingly wary early on and Rizwan was knocked down in the fifth by Curran for 15.
Leg-spinner Rashid then had the dangerous Muhammad Haris caught with his first ball and in his third over delivered a crucial blow.
Babar had steadily reached 32 but Rashid foxed him with a googly and took a nice low return hold. Rashid followed that up with five points at Iftikhar to complete a remarkable wicket in the heat of a World Cup final.
From there, Pakistan did not recover. They have lost seven wickets for 53 runs in the last nine overs.
Curran was deservedly named Player of the Tournament for a string of stunning performances and once again his mix of yorkers and slower bouncers proved nearly impossible to hit – he conceded just 12 points on his four overs.
Shan Masood was Pakistan’s top scorer with 38 of 32. He chipped Curran square-legged deep in the 17th, which allowed Chris Jordan to help close the innings.
Jordan, who retained his place after Mark Wood failed to recover from injury, added wickets from Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz as just 18 runs came from the last four overs.
“Immensely proud” – reaction
England captain Jos Butler, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra: “It obviously didn’t sink in at all. What an incredible effort by everyone to win the game. I’m a bit speechless.
“It’s really different from 2019. It was a different time, a different place and a different band. I’m just immensely proud. Both are just amazing.”
The versatile English Ben Stokes: “I feel really good. It was an amazing night. The bowlers have to take credit for limiting them to 137. Sam Curran did it all in the tournament and Adil Rashid came in at the end of the tournament when it really matters This is the best I’ve seen him play for England in a T20.
“I’m very proud. You don’t win World Cups too often, so winning two is pretty special.”
England head coach Matthew Mott: “It’s very special to me. We wanted to put on a show and enjoy it. We’re going to enjoy tonight with the boys because we’ve worked hard to get here.”
Pakistan captain Babar Azam: “First of all, congratulations to England, they deserve to be champions. We felt at home. Everyone who came out to support us at each venue, thank you very much.
“The first two games we lost but the way the team bounced back was amazing, thanks to my team.”
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