Stokes steers England to T20 World Cup glory


Ben Stokes starred in a final once again as England became dual white-ball world champions after overcoming Pakistan by five wickets to win the T20 World Cup at the MCG.

Jos Buttler’s side added the T20 trophy to the 50-over silverware they had lifted in dramatic style at Lord’s in 2019 and are now the first men’s team to hold both titles simultaneously.

Stokes played an instrumental role in the run chase against New Zealand three and a half years ago and was at the heart of matters once again with his unbeaten 52 from 49 balls propelling England to their target of 138 with an over to spare on a spicy pitch against a fine and fired-up Pakistan bowling attack.

England were reduced to 45-3 inside the powerplay as openers Alex Hales (1) and Buttler (26 off 17) – so destructive in the 10-wicket demolition of India in Thursday’s semi-final – and Phil Salt (10 off 9) were dismissed and the were 84-4 in the 13th over once Harry Brook (20) was brilliantly caught at long-off by Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Shaheen injured himself taking that grab and subsequently pulled up one ball into the 16th over – with Stokes then clubbing his replacement, off-spinner Iftikhar Ahmed, for four and six off successive balls to reduce the requirement to 28 from 24 balls and England would not be denied, with the wicket of Moeen Ali (19 off 13) coming too late for Pakistan.

Stokes clinched his first international T20 half-century with the four that levelled the scores, before hauling the single through the leg-side that took England to the title and gave him redemption, if he needed it, from the 2016 T20 final when Carlos Brathwaite smashed him for four successive sixes to win the trophy for West Indies.

Sam Curran (3-12), Adil Rashid (2-22) and Chris Jordan (2-27) had earlier excelled with the ball – Rashid was outstanding in the middle overs with his wickets including Babar Azam caught and bowled – as Pakistan were restricted to 137-8 after being inserted.

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Adil Rashid caught Pakistan captain Babar Azam off his own bowling as England bagged a crucial wicket at the MCG

England secured a second T20 World Cup title, after their success in the Caribbean in 2010, and a tournament victory that looked a long way off after their meek defeat to Ireland at the MCG last month.

England rallied to overpower New Zealand, edge past Sri Lanka and decimate India before seeing off Pakistan to end their opponents’ hopes of winning the T20 World Cup for a second time and of repeating their victory over England at the MCG in the 1992 50-over final.

Destiny had seemed on Pakistan’s side with this campaign largely mirroring their 1992 tournament – slow start, scraping into the semi-finals, beating New Zealand in the semis, facing England in the final – but England trumped them in Melbourne.

Curran, Rashid star with ball before Stokes completes job with bat

Curran, who ended the tournament with 13 wickets at an average of 11.38 and economy rate of 6.52, bowled Mohammad Rizwan (15) in the fifth over after Pakistan were inserted and returned during the death overs to have top-scorer Shan Masood (38 off 28) and Mohammad Nawaz (5) caught at deep midwicket.

Rashid, meanwhile, was masterful in the middle, removing Mohammad Haris (8) with his first delivery of the game and then bagging the key scalp Babar (32 off 28) when the Pakistan captain sliced a googly back to him and the bowler pouched low to his right.

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Player of the Tournament Sam Curran dismissed Pakistan opener Mohammad Rizwan in the final

Babar’s exit came at the start of the 12th over with Pakistan 84-2 and they went on lose six wickets for 47 runs.

Stokes and Jordan removed the other members of Pakistan’s top six as Stokes nicked off Iftikhar Ahmed (0) after finding some extra bounce and Jordan had Shadab Khan (20 off 14) caught at mid-off.

A chase of 138 was never going to be easy against the best bowling attacking in the tournament on a fruity pitch and so it proved as Shahen castled Hales off his pad sixth ball – the left-armer striking in his first over for the eighth time in T20 internationals – and fellow seamer Haris Rauf then dismissed Salt and Buttler.

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Alex Hales was bowled by Shaheen Shah Afridi in the first over of England’s run chase in Melbourne

Salt pulled to midwicket in the fourth over and Buttler slashed behind to wicketkeeper Rizwan in the sixth to give England some jitters before Stokes and Brook eased them a touch with a fourth-wicket stand of 39 from 42 balls.

Stokes would have been run out with 51 needed after slipping but the shy at the stumps was wayward and he went on to lead England to victory, with his stand of 47 from 33 balls with Moeen taking the match away from Pakistan.

What’s next?

England will remain in Australia to play a three-match one-day international series against Australia, beginning on Thursday at Adelaide before fixtures at the SCG on Saturday and MCG on November 22.

They then head to Pakistan for a three-match Test series, their first red-ball tour of the country since 2005, starting on December 1 in Rawalpindi, exclusively live on Sky Sports.

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