Friday 12th of July 2024

Stokes leads England to T20 World Cup title

Morning Mirror Desk »

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Ben Stokes and Sam Curran starred as England edged Pakistan by five wickets to win the Twenty20 World Cup on Sunday and become the sport’s first dual white-ball champions, holding both the 50 and 20-over titles.

Jos Buttler’s side held Pakistan to 137-8 in front of a partisan 80,462 fans at a heaving Melbourne Cricket Ground, with player-of-the-match Curran bagging 3-12 and Adil Rashid chipping with 2-22.

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.

The victory added to the 50-over title England won in 2019, building on the legacy of former captain Eoin Morgan, who retired this year after transforming the team into a white-ball juggernaut.

It was England’s second T20 crown after tasting success in 2010, joining the West Indies as the only two-time winners since the tournament’s inception in 2007.

The game was billed as a showdown between Pakistan’s attack and England’s top order, and Shaheen Afridi bowled danger man Alex Hales in the first over of the run chase.

But that only fired up Buttler who smashed two boundaries off Naseem Shah.

Phil Salt, playing in place of the injured Dawid Malan, didn’t last, making just 10 before pulling Haris Rauf to Iftikhar Ahmed

The ball was swinging and seaming and the menacing Rauf claimed the key wicket of Buttler just as he was getting in, edging to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan on 26 off 17 balls.

The runs dried up and Harry Brook needed treatment for a blow to his elbow but he soldiered on as they reached 77-3 at the halfway point of the innings, compared to Pakistan’s 68-2.

Brook came undone on 20 against the spin of Shadab Khan, holing out to Afridi as he tried to get the scoreboard moving.

It came down to needing 41 runs off the final five overs.

Stokes relieved the pressure with a four and a six off Ahmed and there was no stopping them with the England all-rounder hitting the winning runs.

Earlier, Sam Curran bagged three wickets for just 12 runs as England held Pakistan to 137-8 in the T20 World Cup final at a heaving Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.

With forecast rain staying away, England produced disciplined and economical bowling to stymie the 2009 champions who never really got going, with Shan Masood’s 38 — the top score.

Curran was deadly, accounting for Mohammad Rizwan, Masood and Mohammad Nawaz.

Adil Rashid’s leg-spin also proved crucial, removing the dangerous Mohammad Haris with his opening ball and then getting the crucial wicket of Babar Azam to end with 2-22.

Jos Buttler’s England, who reached the final with a thumping 10-wicket win over India, are aiming to become the sport’s first-ever dual white-ball champions after winning the 50-over World Cup in 2019.

Both teams are looking for a second T20 title after Pakistan’s success in 2009 and England’s a year later.

England, who were again without injured batsman Dawid Malan and pace bowler Mark Wood, won the toss and sent Pakistan into bat.

Ben Stokes was given the new ball and Pakistan were lucky to survive the over intact, with a nervy Mohammad Rizwan almost run out going for a risky single.

If Chris Jordan’s throw had been a direct hit he would have been gone.

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