England underlined their domination in white ball cricket as they outclassed Pakistan by five wickets to win the T20 World Cup title on Sunday.
Led by fine performances from their bowlers Sam Curran and Adil Rashid, England restricted Pakistan to a below-par 137/8, before the experienced Ben Stokes carried his team to their second T20 World Cup with a composed half-century.
England are the first team to hold both the ODI and T20I World Cup titles.
The key moments in England’s T20 World Cup triumph:
Curran’s inspired spell
Sam Curran emerged as England’s hero with the ball in the T20 World Cup. The left-arm pacer gave England the early breakthrough with Mohammad Rizwan’s wicket, bowled off an inside edge in the fourth over.
Curran conceded just five runs in his two overs in the Powerplay, which was instrumental in restricting Pakistan to 39/1 in six overs.
Curran then made an impact in the death overs. He got the wicket of the well-set Shan Masood (38) in the 17th over and had Mohammad Nawaz caught in the deep in his final over.
He took 2/7 in his last two overs, despite bowling the 17th and 19th over, to finish with wonderful figures of 3/12 in four overs.
Curran was deservedly named player of the match; he also bagged the Player of the Tournament trophy for his 13 wickets in the World Cup at an economy rate of 6.52.
Rashid’s key wickets
England kept faith in leg-spinner Adil Rashid despite him not picking up a wicket in his first three games at the World Cup — against Afghanistan, Ireland and New Zealand.
Adil got his form back with an impressive spell of 1/16 against Sri Lanka in which he dismissed the well-set Pathum Nissanka (67 from 45 balls).
Things got better for him against India when he dismissed dangerman Suryakumar Yadav for 14 as he claimed 1/20 in his four overs.
He made a telling difference in the title clash when he got the wickets of Mohammad Haris (8) and Pakistan Captain Babar Azam (32) for superb figures of 2/22 in four overs, including a maiden.
Pakistan’s collapse in the final overs
After a difficult start, Pakistan played conservatively in the middle overs hoping to build a partnership or two and go all out in the final few overs.
But the script went wrong as Pakistan lost four wickets for 31 runs in the last five overs in which they managed just two boundaries.
Courtesy of their superb bowling, England restricted Pakistan to a below-par 137/8 in their 20 overs after they were well placed on 84/2 in 11 overs at one stage.
Shaheen Shah Afridi had fired Pakistan into the final after they were on the verge of crashing out in the group stages at one point.
Afridi came into his own after a slow start in the World Cup. He went wicketless against India and Zimbabwe, as Pakistan lost both games, before his fiery spell of 3/14 saw his team bounce back to outclass South Africa.
Afridi came into the final carrying great form, with 10 wickets from four matches. He gave Pakistan hope after their disappointing batting effort when he bowled opener Alex Hales in the very first over.
He always looked threatening during his first spell of 1/13 in two overs as Pakistan opted to save his last two overs for the end.
However, Afridi suffered an unfortunate injury when he took the catch to dismiss Harry Brook off Shadab Khan in the 13th over. He went off for treatment and looked in discomfort when he came out to field.
With the match on a knife edge as England needd 41 from 5 overs, Pakistan got back Afridi into the attack but he could bowl just one delivery before he walked off with the injury.
Afridi’s unfortunate exit turned the game on its head. Captain Babar Azam asked Iftikhar Ahmed to bowl the remaining five deliveries of Afridi’s over at the two left-handers, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali.
Part-time off-spinner Iftikhar was hit for 13 runs from five balls, with Stokes hitting the last two balls for a four and a six.
There was no looking back from that point onwards as England seized the momentum with Moeen hitting pacer Mohammad Wasim Jr for three fours in the next over.
Redemption for Stokes
The rain in Melbourne over the past couple of days made conditions difficult for the batters.
Despite the low total, Pakistan’s pace battery kept their team in the hunt by chipping away at the wickets.
Stokes struggled to get going and focussed on taking the ones and twos to keep the scoreboard moving along.
Despite being beaten repeatedly outside the off-stump, Stokes kept fighting.
He timed his assault to perfection off Iftikhar in the 16th over before guiding England to victory in the penultimate over.
It was redemption for Stokes who was smashed for four sixes in the final over by Carlos Brathwaite as the West Indies stole victory from the jaws of defeat in the 2016 T20 World Cup final in Kolkata.
Photographs: Getty Images
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