England won the T20 World Cup final in sensational style, beating 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 talisman Ben Stokes guided his side to victory with an unbeaten 52 from 49 balls.
As he did three years ago when England won the One Day World Cup, Stokes scored the winning points and with those points England became the first ever men’s side to host the one-day World Cup and the T20 at the same time.
“I think in the Finals when you carry on you forget about the hard work that came 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 it, so to narrow them down bowlers have to take a lot of credit for that.”
It was a nervous game, with England bowlers limiting Pakistan to 137-8 and their Pakistani counterparts responding in kind to limit England’s chase.
Pakistan struck first, after England won the toss and opted to bowl, but struggled to set a high total under an accurate bowling barrage.
Adil Rashid and Sam Curran, who was later named Player of the Tournament, starred in England’s attack, with Rashid taking the key wicket from Babar Azam for just 32 in the 12th.
Curran, meanwhile, conceded just 12 runs in his four over spells and took three wickets to record astonishing numbers in the final, for which he was named player of the match.
Chasing a relatively low tally, England nonetheless faltered when Pakistan’s star fast bowler Shaheen Afridi beat Alex Hales in the first round.
When England’s other opener, Phil Salt, drilled through the middle of the wicket in the fourth, Stokes headed for the crease and grounded nearly all of his side’s innings.
Pakistan, however, continued to play beautifully, with Haris Rauf taking Jos Buttler’s key wicket to keep the game virtually level and set up a tense final.
But England attacked the last four overs and took the win with six balls to spare.