AUSTRALIA: Top performances from Sam Curran and Ben Stokes powered England to their second ICC T20 World Cup title after 2010, as they defeated Pakistan by five wickets in a gripping low-scoring final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday. England delivered a fantastic performance with the ball, reducing Pakistan to 137/8. Sam Curran (3/12) lead the English batting attack. Chasing 138, England was reduced to 45/3 before powerplay, but Stokes (52*) delivered in a big match once again to take his side to a victory.
Chasing 138, England lost opener Alex Hales in the first over itself for just one run after Shaheen Afridi sent a delivery crashing through his gates. England was 7/1 in one over. Phil Salt joined skipper Jos Buttler. The duo attacked young pacer Naseem Shah, smashing him for three fours, with the captain hitting two.
Just when it seemed that the duo was building a partnership, Haris Rauf intervened to send back Salt for just 10 off nine balls. England was 32/2 in 3.3 overs. All-rounder Ben Stokes came to bat next. Rauf got his second wicket of the match as he dismissed the skipper Buttler for 26 off 17 balls. England was 45/3 in 5.3 overs.
At the end of powerplay in six overs, England was 49/3, with Harry Brook (4*) joining Stokes (1*). The duo helped England reach halfway through their innings without any damage. At the end of 10 overs, England was at 77/3, with Brook (14*) and Stokes (17*).
Stokes-Brook were bringing England back into the game, one run at a time. But their stand was cut short at 39 runs by spinner Shadab Khan, who dismissed Brook for 20 off 23 balls. Shaheen took a brilliant catch at long-off. England was 84/4 in 12.3 overs. Moeen Ali joined Stokes to carry on with the chase. At the end of 15 overs, England was 97/4, with Stokes (28*) and Ali (3*).
England touched the 100-run mark in 15.4 overs. England needed 38 in 26 balls. Stokes relieved some pressure by smashing a four over covers and a six over long-off to bring down the equation to 28 needed in 24 balls. Moeen smashed pacer Mohammad Wasim for two boundaries in the first two balls of next over, bringing down the deficit to 20 runs in 22 balls. He also hit a boundary on the final ball, leaving England to chase 12 runs in the final three overs.
The 48-run stand between Ali and Stokes came to an end after Wasim dislodged the former's stumps. The left-hander's short, but valuable cameo was over at 19 runs in 13 balls. England needed 6 in 10 balls and five of their batters were back in the hut for 132.
Stokes brought his first half-century in T20I cricket with a four in 47 balls. Scores were levelled. Stokes brought the winning runs, England finished the innings at 138/5 in 19 overs, with Stokes unbeaten at 52* off 49 balls and Liam Livingstone at 1*.
Rauf (2/23) was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan. Shaheen, Wasim and Shadab picked one each. Earlier, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan and Adil Rashid delivered stunning spells to restrict Pakistan to 137/8 in the final of the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday.
Sam Curran delivered stunning spell and bagged three while Chris Jordan and Adil Rashid took two wickets each respectively. Shan Masood scored the highest runs for Pakistan with 38 while skipper Babar Azam scored 32. Put to bat first, openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan opened Pakistan's tally in the first inning by bagging 8 runs in the very first over of all-rounder Ben Stokes. Stokes delivered a no-ball on the very first delivery of the innings as the all-rounder swung it away and Rizwan covered for it as he defended to mid-off.
Azam and Rizwan got off to a cautious start. In the 5th over of the innings, Sam Curran gave his team a big breakthrough as he bowled out Rizwan for 15 off 14. England bowlers delivered e will be the happier side after the powerplay - Pakistan kept to 39/1 from six overs Mohammad Haris then came out to bat and join hands with skipper Babar. Adil Rashid stuck in his very first over as he sent Haris packing after scoring 8 off 12. Then the left-handed batter Shan Masood came out to bat.
England bowlers kept Pakistan under control as they conceded just 68 runs while bagging two wickets in 10 overs. In the 11th over of the innings, Rashid stuck again as he dismissed well-set batter, Babar Azam, for 32 off 28 and he delivered a maiden over. Stokes was brought back into the attack and the bowler showed everyone what he is known for as he sent Iftikhar Ahmed packing for a 6-ball duck. At that point, Pakistan's score read 85/4. Shadab Khan then came out to bat and the batter slammed a stunning six off of Rashid's delivery in the 14th over.
After 15 overs of the play, Pakistan's score read 106 with a four-wicket loss. Shadab and Masood opened their hands and slammed Stokes for 13 runs in the 16th over. Sam Curran then gave Pakistan another blow as he departed well-set aggressive batter Masood for 38 runs off 28 balls. In the 17th over Chris Jordan then joined the party and dismissed Shadab for where Woakes takes the simplest of catches. Jordan's short ball got a good bounce off the surface and all Shadab could do it to hit the ball into the hands of Chris Woakes at mid-off. Shadab went back into the pavilion after scoring 20 off 14 balls.
Curran again rattled Pakistan's batting order as he dismissed Mohammad Nawaz, who scored just 5 runs off 7 balls. A fuller ball from Curran made Nawaz to hit it over the deep mid-wicket fielder but failed to do so as the batter was caught by Livingstone. In the penultimate over of the innings, Jordan dismissed Mohammad Wasim Jr for 4 off 8 deliveries to help England restrict Pakistan to 137/8 in 20 over match.
Brief score: Pakistan: 137/8 (Shan Masood 38, Babar Azam 32; Sam Curran 3-12) vs England: 138/5 (Ben Stokes 52*, Jos Buttler 26, Haris Rauf 2/23).
England (Playing XI): Jos Buttler(w/c), Alex Hales, Philip Salt, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid
Pakistan (Playing XI): Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Rizwan(w), Mohammad Haris, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi