Al Jazeera – England have beaten Pakistan by five wickets to win the T20 World Cup.
Needing 138 to win the title for a second time, England wobbled in the chase due to some hostile fast-bowling by Pakistan but Ben Stokes hit a half-century to take the side home on Sunday in Melbourne.
Thirty years after losing the 50-over ODI World Cup final to Pakistan at the same venue, England turned the tables on the South Asian side with brilliant death bowling and Stokes’s heroics.
With all-rounder Sam Curran recording a miserly 3-12, Pakistan collapsed in the final overs to finish on a below-par 137 for eight after being sent in to bat by England captain Jos Buttler.
The heavy rain forecast never hit the MCG as England, led by the unflappable Stokes, reeled in the total with six balls to spare.
Curran was named player of the match and player of the tournament.
Sealing their second T20 World Cup, England are now the first nation to hold both global white-ball trophies, having won the 50-over World Cup on home soil in 2019.
England’s disciplined bowling
Earlier, England produced disciplined and economical bowling to stymie the 2009 champions, with Shan Masood’s 38 being the top score.
Stokes was given the new ball after England chose to field, with Pakistan lucky to survive the over intact as opener Rizwan was almost run out going for a risky single.
Rizwan and captain Babar Azam shared a century partnership in their semi-final against New Zealand, but another big stand was not to be, with Rizwan dragging a delivery from Curran on to his stumps on 15.
The introduction of Rashid soon after the six-over powerplay reaped an immediate reward with Mohammad Haris (8) attacking him on his first ball only to sky a simple catch to Stokes.
Masood began swinging the bat in the second half of the innings, hitting a four and a six off Liam Livingstone. But once again Rashid got the breakthrough, pulling off a diving catch from his own bowling to claim the vital wicket of Azam, whose 32 came off 28 balls.
Ahmed lasted only six balls before Masood and Shadab Khan (20) fell in the space of two runs as Curran and Chris Jordan kept the lid on any hope Pakistan had of a late flurry.
In reply, England slumped to 49-3 in the sixth over as they struggled to get any momentum against a fiery pace attack, with boundaries hard to come by.
But Stokes (52 not out) and Moeen Ali (19) used their experience and cool heads to guide England to 138-5 with six balls to spare, climaxing a riveting tournament that spanned 45 games over nearly a month.
“In finals, especially when chasing, you probably forget all the hard work before that. To restrict them to 130, the bowlers have to take a lot of credit. Adil Rashid and Sam Curran won us the game,” said Stokes. “Pretty good evening. Representing your country in World Cups is amazing, it has been a good one.”
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