Published in The Nation, on Nov 14th, 2022, Agencies, England lift second T20 World Cup title.
MELBOURNE – An unbeaten half-century from Ben Stokes and brilliant performances with the ball from Sam Curran and Adil Rashid helped England to a second ICC Men’s T20 World Cup title with an impressive five-wicket victory over Pakistan in Melbourne on Sunday. Stokes used all his experience to score 52 from 49 balls just when his team needed it most as England chased down Pakistan’s meager total of 137/8 with six deliveries remaining at the MCG. Seamer Sam Curran (3/12) and Adil Rashid (2/22) were near unplayable for much of Pakistan’s innings, with the duo picking up five valuable wickets between them and conceding just one boundary. Rashid picked up the massive wicket of Babar Azam for 32 just as it looked like the skipper was about to accelerate and Pakistan’s batting innings never reached great heights from that point on. Shan Masood (38) and Shadab Khan (20) contributed some handy late runs, but their total of 137/8 was never going to be enough with England’s strong batting line-up. While England was marginally ahead when requiring 41 from the final five overs, the game turned, even more, their way when Pakistan pace spearhead Shaheen Afridi was forced to limp off after the first delivery of his third over. Afridi had given Pakistan some life when he produced a superb yorker to send the dangerous Alex Hales packing for one and fellow quicks Haris Rauf (2/23) and Naseem Shah (0/30) were working off his energy and bowling with great pace. Afridi was brought back for his second spell and it could have been pivotal with Stokes and Moeen Ali (19) needing to score more than eight runs per over to clinch victory. But Afridi was still feeling the effects of landing awkwardly following a catch earlier in England’s innings and limped from the field, leaving Iftikhar Ahmed to bowl the remainder of his over. The experienced left-hander seized on Afridi’s injury quickly as he smashed a four and a six off Iftikhar’s final two deliveries to put England firmly in the driver’s seat. It quickly turned from a tough situation to an easy one, with Moeen joining in on the act with consecutive boundaries off Mohammad Wasim to put the victory target within sight. And while Moeen lost his wicket late, Stokes was there at the end with the match-winning half-century ensuring England claimed a thrilling five-wicket victory and a second T20 World Cup title. President Dr. Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday praised the fighting spirit of the Pakistan cricket team in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup final against England. In their separate tweets, the president and the prime minister observed that the national team played well despite posting a low score. They also congratulated the T20 World Champion England team. “Congratulations England, good all-round performance to lift the cup. Well played Pakistan, you bowled well and tried your best despite a low score,” the president posted on his Twitter handle. The prime minister, in a tweet, said that team Pakistan fought back hard and bravely. “Great bowling performance. But England played better today. We are proud of our boys in green for making it to the final match of this mega tournament,” he posted in a tweet. England beat Pakistan by 5 wickets after achieving the target of 138 in the final of the T-20 World Cup, 2022. SCORES IN BRIEF ENGLAND 138 for 5 (Stokes 52*, Rauf 2-23) beat PAKISTAN 137 for 8 (Masood 38, Curran 3-12, Rashid 2-22, Jordan 2-27) by five wickets.