England add men's T20 World Cup to 50-over crown with nervy win over Pakistan

NICK HOWSON: Jos Buttler's side create history in Melbourne, dodging rain to defeat Babar Azam's team in a relatively one-sided final in front of a packed MCG


Melbourne: Pakistan 137-8, England 138-5 - England won by five wickets


England have created history by adding the T20 World Cup to their 50-over crown to become the first men's nation to hold both white-ball titles simultaneously following victory over Pakistan at a packed MCG.

Jos Buttler's injury-ravaged team underlined their seven-year dominance of limited-overs cricket with a five-wicket win in Melbourne.

Needing just 138 for victory, Ben Stokes, three years on from his inspirational display in the 2019 ODI final at Lord's against New Zealand, produced the goods again with an unbeaten 52 - his maiden T20I half-century.

With talismanic left-arm quick Shaheen Shah Afridi downed with a knee injury, Stokes and vice-captain Moeen Ali (19) put on a 48-run partnership for the fifth wicket to help confirm their second T20 world title, adding to their 2010 success in the Caribbean.

The victory also completes a unique double for head coach Matthew Mott - appointed as Chris Silverwood's replacement in May - who won the 50-over women's World Cup with Australia in April.


Sam Curran's scooped the player of the match and the tournament (Isuru Sameera/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Player of the match and of the tournament Sam Curran, who missed the 2021 competition with a stress fracture in his back, claimed 3 for 12 to restrict Pakistan to 137 for 8 on a tough-looking surface.

Shan Masood top-scored with 38 in what looked like an under-par score that quickly became tricky to chase on.

Reduced to 84 for 4 in the 13th over, England still needed 54 from 45 balls. But Stokes and Ali showed all of their experience to silence and pro-Pakistan crowd. For the former, it was another slice of redemption after his role in the final-over 2016 defeat to West Indies in Kolkata.

There was a sense of fate around the showcase occasion at the MCG. Thirty years on from Pakistan and England meeting in the 50-over World Cup final in 1992, both sides were bidding to claim their second T20 crown.

The possibility of inclement weather had raised the chance of the reserve day being required, and even the trophy being shared after four weeks of action in Australia.


Shan Masood top-scored for Pakistan with 38 (MARTIN KEEP/AFP via Getty Images)

Six of the last seven wins at the MCG had been achieved chasing and an unchanged England, still without injury victims Dawid Malan and Mark Wood, crucially won the toss and inserted a Pakistan side who were beaten on this ground defending against India.

Mohammad Rizwan and captain Babar Azam made a steady, unspectacular start to the innings with some early movement making it tricky to score fluidly.

Rizwan (15) swept Chris Woakes for the first six of the final but he was sent back in the next over after dragging onto his own stumps off Curran - a sign of the difficulty of batting on this pitch.

Adil Rashid's introduction brought about the dismissal of Mohammad Haris (8) after his 12 deliveries ended with him finding the safe hands of Stokes.

England's mercurial leg-spinner captured the key wickets of Babar (32) in a wicket-maiden 12th over as Pakistan struggled to find the boundary with any degree of regularity.


Adil Rashid's inspired display was punctuated by a wicket-maiden in the 12th over (MARTIN KEEP/AFP via Getty Images)

Iftikhar Ahmed (0) feathered an edge through to Buttler to leave Pakistan 85 for 4.

Masood has played the anchor role throughout, striking 38 from 28 balls as Curran picked up his second wicket after Livingstone took a catch at midwicket.

The Surrey left-armer completed a remarkable return of 3 for 12 by dismissing Mohammad Nawaz (5) and Mohammad Wasim (4) followed in the final over, as Livingstone collected his third dismissal.

It was a flat end to an innings which started with 50 runs from the first eight overs, but just 53 from the last eight.

With rain in the air in Melbourne, England suffered an early setback in their chase as Shaheen bowled Alex Hales (1) with a virtuoso inswinger.


Shaheen Shah Afridi's knee injury was a major turning point (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Buttler calmed nerves with three boundaries off Naseem Shah but the 2008 winners were given renewed hope when Phil Salt (10), playing his first innings of the tournament, picked out Iftikhar at midwicket.

Shah returned with a breathtaking fifth over, beating Buttler's edge with some late swing before seeing the England skipper ramp him over deep fine leg for six.

It would be Haris Rauf who finally found the edge of Buttler's edge for 26, to secure his second wicket. But any momentum created was snuffed out by Stokes and Harry Brook, who guided England to 77 for 3 at the midway point.

Reaching the 10-over mark ensured a result would be reached without the need for a reserve day and with the 50-over world champions 12 runs ahead on DLS it was very much their title to lose.

A tight leg muscle forced Rauf out of the attack and another superb Shah over led to an unforced error as Harry Brook (20) picked out Afridi.


Stokes and Moeen used all their experience to take England to the brink of victory (WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

The breakthrough was soured by Afridi being forced to limp from the outfield with an injury to the same knee that forced him out for two months earlier in the year.

Shah completed his allocation - his figures of 4-0-30-1 saw five conceded from his final 14 deliveries - and though Shaheen returned to the field for one delivery, he had to cut short his third over.

England needed 41 from 29 balls when he departed and they seized the initiative against Iftikhar and then Wasim with four boundaries in a row.

Ali struck a third four with a top-edge over Rizwan and after a tireless Rauf delayed the inevitable Wasim bowled the Warwickshire allrounder for 19.

Fittingly, the crowning moment was left to Stokes who crashed Wasim through the covers to bring up his first T20I fifty and two balls later he knocked off the single to complete a momentous double.

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