England won the T20 World Cup Final in sensational style, defeating Pakistan by five wickets in front of more than 80,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
Played under the threat of rain, drizzle punctuated England’s innings but the skies remained clear as England’s talisman Ben Stokes guided his side to victory with an unbeaten 52 off 49 balls.
As he did three years ago when England won the one-day World Cup, Stokes hit the winning runs and, with those runs, England became the first ever men’s side to hold the one day and T20 World Cup at the same time.
“I think in finals when you are chasing you forget the hard work that went before. I think the way we bowled, Adil Rashid, Sam Curran, that’s what won us the game,” Stokes said afterwards, according to the BBC.
“It was a tricky wicket, you never felt like you were in on it, so to restrict them the bowlers have to take a lot of credit for that.”
It was a nervy game, with the England bowlers restricting Pakistan to 137-8 and their Pakistani counterparts responding in kind to limit England’s run chase.
Pakistan batted first, after England won the toss and elected to bowl, but struggled to set a high total under a barrage of precise bowling.
Adil Rashid and Sam Curran, who was later named player of the tournament, starred in the England attack with Rashid taking the key wicket of Babar Azam for just 32 in the 12th over.
Curran, meanwhile, conceded just 12 runs during his four over spell and took three wickets to record astonishing figures in the final, for which he was awarded player of the match.
Chasing a relatively low total, England faltered nevertheless as Pakistan’s star fast bowler Shaheen Afridi bowled Alex Hales in the first over.
When England’s other opener Phil Salt holed out at mid-wicket in the fourth over, Stokes strode out to the crease and anchored almost the entirety of his team’s innings.
Pakistan, however, continued to bowl magnificently, with Haris Rauf taking the key wicket of Jos Buttler to keep the game virtually tied and set up a tense finale.
But England attacked off the final four overs and wrapped up the victory with six balls to spare.