England won the T20 World Cup after Ben Stokes’ first-ever T20I half-century helped them to a five-wicket victory over Pakistan in Sunday’s final at the MCG.
Excellent bowling in particular from Adil Rashid and Sam Curran held Pakistan to just 137-8, and England overcame some nervy moments in the chase to win their second T20 World Cup.
After England won the toss and opted to bowl in Melbourne, Pakistan struggled to get going, mustering just four boundaries on their way to 68-2 after 10 overs.
Despite Shan Masood’s best efforts (38 runs from 28 balls), England then tore through Pakistan’s middle order, Curran finishing with excellent figures of 3-12.
Pakistan required early wickets, and Shaheen Afridi found just what they needed with the final ball of the first over, sending an absolute ripper crashing through Alex Hales’ middle stump.
Jos Buttler and Phil Salt steadied the ship before Salt was dismissed in the fourth over when smashing Haris Rauf’s delivery straight to the waiting Iftikhar Ahmed, before Rauf then claimed the key wicket of Buttler (26 off 17) as the England skipper nicked behind.
England were now in real peril of letting the game and tournament slip through their fingers, though an important third-wicket stand took them to 84-4 before Brook fell for 20 from 23 deliveries, Afridi taking the catch off Shadab Khan’s bowling.
Afridi injured himself in his role in that dismissal, and though he tried to return, he could only bowl one ball of his third over before being forced off the field.
Stokes and Moeen Ali took full advantage, nailing boundaries as they closed in on the target, with Moeen hitting three fours in the 17th over to take England within 12 of victory.
He was removed in the 19th over by Mohammad Wasim, but Stokes and Liam Livingstone finished the job, with Stokes hitting the winning run to end on 52 off 49 deliveries and win the tournament for his nation.
In the biggest game of his young career, Curran’s 3-12 and 15 dot balls were key in restricting Pakistan to a score of just 137.
Along with Rashid (2-22), England’s bowling attack set their star batting order up to go and win the game, which they just about managed.
Stokes, one of England’s main men over recent years, came up huge for his country yet again with a vital innings to help them to victory.
Coming in with England 32-2 after 3.3 overs, Stokes’ first ever T20I half-century came at the perfect time to add another historic performance to his already impressive resume.