T20 World Cup final: England survive a scare against spirited Pakistan to clinch title

England now possess the 50-over and the T20 World Cups

England players celebrate winning the T20 World Cup in Melbourne on Sunday. — AFP
England players celebrate winning the T20 World Cup in Melbourne on Sunday. — AFP

James Jose

Published: Sun 13 Nov 2022, 3:35 PM

Last updated: Sun 13 Nov 2022, 5:21 PM

England staved off the challenge from a spirited Pakistan to beat them by five wickets in a thrilling final, to clinch their second T20 World Cup title in Melbourne on Sunday.

Chasing a modest target of 138, the Pakistan bowling, especially pacer Haris Rauf gave them a glimmer of hope, by taking two wickets, after fellow quick Shaheen Shah Afridi had removed opener Alex Hales cheaply for one.

England had dropped to 45-3 after captain Jos Buttler fell to Rauf. Harry Brook was caught by Shaheen Shah Afridi off leg spinner Shadab Khan to leave England in a precarious position at 84-4.

England's long batting line-up was tested with them requiring 41 off 30 balls with left-handers Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali in the middle. And despite Ali being cleaned up by young pacer Naseem Shah, England managed to hold on, to get the win, at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground that had 80,462 fans.

England, the 50-over World Cup champions, added to their sole T20 crown in 2010.

Pakistan fought valiantly but it was not to be. They were also searching for a second T20 title after winning the tournament in 2009. Pakistan had won the 50-over World Cup at the same venue in 1992.

Earlier, Sam Curran bagged three wickets for just 12 runs as England held Pakistan to 137-8.

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 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 were 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.

Rizwan and Azam shared a century partnership in the semi-final against New Zealand and soon settled, with Rizwan clearing the ropes off Chris Woakes for the first six of the night in the fourth over.

But another big stand wasn't to be, with Rizwan dragging a delivery from Curran on to his stumps on 15.

Pakistan, who powered past New Zealand by seven wickets to make the final, managed just 39-1 off the six-over powerplay, where only two fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle.

The introduction of Rashid soon after reaped an immediate reward with Haris (8) attacking him on his first ball only to sky a simple catch to Stokes.

Azam led Pakistan to 68-2 at the halfway point of the innings and then Masood began swinging the bat, hitting a four and six off Liam Livingstone.

But once again Rashid got the breakthrough, pulling off a diving catch from his own bowling to claim the vital wicket of Azam, whose 32 came off 28 balls.

Iftikhar Ahmed only lasted six balls before Masood and Shadab Khan (20) fell in the space of two runs as Curran and Chris Jordan kept the lid on any hope Pakistan had of a late flurry.

(With inputs from AFP)

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