How England clinched 2nd T20 World Cup title with easy win over Pakistan

NEW DELHI: A clinical England produced an all-round show as they humbled Pakistan by five wickets at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground in the T20 World Cup final to lift their second title.
A power-packed joint bowling effort followed by a Ben Stokes special with the bat helped England lay their hands on the title after 12 years.
With the win, England extended their white-ball dominance — winning the 50-over World Cup in 2019 and clinching the T20 World Cup in 2022.
Chasing a below-par 138 for victory, seasoned all-rounder Stokes hit an unbeaten 52 to take the English side home with 6 balls to spare.
Here’s a look at the key moments of the England-Pakistan final in Melbourne:
1) Pakistan’s mediocre Powerplay – The England side which usually prefers chasing, won the crucial toss and skipper Jos Buttler had no hesitation in inviting Pakistan to bat first. Pakistan had a lot of hopes riding on their star opening duo of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, who scored fifties in the semi-final against New Zealand but the team had a dull powerplay where they managed just 39 runs and also lost the wicket of Rizwan. England pacers were on the money in the first six overs, not leaking too many boundaries and when Sam Curran got rid of Rizwan inside the powerplay, it put Pakistan under pressure. And soon after the powerplay Adil Rashid struck in his first over to get rid of Mohammad Haris to push Pakistan back further.
2) Babar-Iftikhar blows in successive overs – With the loss of a couple of wickets in the first 8 overs, Pakistan looked reserved in their batting approach and could only reach the fifty-run mark. Skipper Babar Azam and Shan Masood did manage a 39-run partnership to steady Pakistan but England bowlers gave them nothing to add quick runs. In the 12th over Adil Rashid removed set Babar for 32 (28) and then in the following over Ben Stokes returned to dismiss Iftikhar Ahmed to put Pakistan on the backfoot.
3) Middle order’s middle overs failure – Pakistan’s middle order was exposed against the smart bowling from the Englishmen. While they continued to choke Pakistan batters for runs, fall of regular wickets worsened their case to even get to a par total. Following the Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed double whammy, Shan Masood and Shadab Khan steadied Pakistan again but smart bowling from the England bowlers in the middle overs never allowed the duo to put the pedal on the accelerator. At the 16th over mark Pakistan’s score read 119 for the loss of 4 wickets. And when the time came for the final flourish. Pakistani batters completely crumbled under pressure. Young Sam Curran and experienced Chris Jordan produced a superb death bowling display, completely choking Pakistan. In the last 4 overs, Curran and Jordan just gave away 31 runs and picked up 4 wickets as Pakistan momentum nosedived after the departure of Masood and Shadab.
4) The break-up of Pakistan’s poor outing with the bat – In the powerplay Pakistan failed to utilize the fielding restrictions managing just 39 runs for the loss of 1 wicket. Then, from overs 7-10, Pakistan added 29 runs and lost a wicket. Between 11-15 overs, once again Pakistan batters were overpowered by the English bowlers, adding just 38 runs for the loss of 2 wickets. In the last four overs, Pakistan innings just nosedived as they hit only one boundary between the 16 and the 20th and somehow crawled to 137 for the loss of 8 wickets.
5) England’s see-saw start – Chasing a par 138 for victory England looked clear favourites but the pressure of the big final got to them as they lost three wickets in the first six overs to give Pakistan a really good start in their defence of 137. Shaheen Afridi first got rid of in-form opener Alex Hales in the first over for 1 and then Haris Rauf struck twice to get rid of Philip Salt and skipper Jos Buttler. But even as England lost wickets, Buttler, before getting out, ensured that he utilized the powerplay restrictions. At the 6-over mark, England were 49 for 3 and the asking rate was well under their control.
6) Big match player Stokes – All-rounder Ben Stokes was the ‘Man on a Mission’ in the final against Pakistan. After registering decent figures (1/32) with the ball, Stokes rose to the occasion with the bat. England did lose three wickets inside the powerplay but had also put runs on the board. All they needed was someone to stay till the end and the title would fall into their laps. Stokes did exactly what England needed, playing some really smart cricket. His two partnerships with Harry Brook and Moeen Ali (39 and 47) for the fourth and fifth wicket, frustrated Pakistani bowlers and allowed England to keep above the asking rate. While Brook (20) and Moeen (19) did take some risks, Stokes dropped the anchor and kept one end rock solid, knowing that his team batted deep and even a couple of wickets here and there would not trouble them. The required rate was always kept under control by the English.
7) Shaheen injury came as a major blow – In the 13th over while taking the catch of Harry Brook at long-off, Pakistan’s spearhead Shaheen Afridi bent awkwardly and immediately had to leave the field. He later came back onto the field but only bowled the first ball of the 16th over and then limped back to the dressing room again in pain and disappointment. At that time he still had 11 balls of his quota remaining. The Shaheen injury came as a major blow for Pakistan and skipper Babar Azam as England, needing 40 off 29 at that time, must have been looking to play Shaheen safe. His injury came as a major sigh of relief and Iftikhar Ahmed who came in to complete the Shaheen over got hit for 13 in 5 balls. From there the momentum swung back decisively in England’s favour. Stokes, Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone from there took England to the title without much of a fuss.

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