Melbourne: Left-arm pacer Sam Curran and leg-spinner Adil Rashid bowled brilliant spells as England’s bowlers put out a marvellous bowling performance to restrict Pakistan to 137/8 in 20 overs in the final of Men’s T20 World Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
Electing to bowl first in overcast conditions, Curran (3/12) was impressive upfront and in death overs while Rashid (2/22) was stunning in the middle overs as England’s meticulous planning and tactics, especially in the second half of the innings, meant they never let Pakistan get away at any stage.
Both teams were off to a nervy start – Ben Stokes kickstarted the final by bowling England’s first no-ball of the tournament. He then bowled a wide down the leg-side and ended up conceding eight runs in the opening over.
Pakistan were no less – Mohammad Rizwan was on the verge of being run-out, but Chris Jordan’s throw from mid-off went wide of the stumps. After no boundaries in the first three overs, Rizwan got Pakistan going with a six slog-swept over deep backward square leg on a Chris Woakes slower ball.
But in the next over, Rizwan shaped for a drive off Curran, but chopped on to his stumps. Babar Azam and Mohammad Haris took a four each off an off-colour Woakes in the final over of power-play. But England had the upper hand at the end of power-play, bowling 18 dot balls to keep Pakistan at 39/1.
Post power-play, Rashid made an immediate impact as he deceived Mohammad Haris with flight on his first ball of the night and the right-handed batter gave a simple catch to long-on. Azam fought back by whipping Chris Jordan over long leg, while Shan Masood used his feet well to hit a four and six over Liam Livingstone’s head.
But England made a quick comeback – Azam’s slice on a googly through the off-side went back to Rashid for a low catch to his right in a wicket-maiden over. In the next over, Stokes got some away movement and extra bounce to find the outer edge of Iftikhar Ahmed.
Masood and Shadab Khan hit some fours, but just as their 36-run partnership started to grow, the former pulled straight to deep mid-wicket off Curran in the 17th over. In the next over, Shadab sliced a back-of-a-length ball from Jordan to mid-off.
Harry Brook shelled a tough catch of Mohammad Wasim Jr. at backward point off Jordan. But Curran picked his third wicket of the match by having Mohammad Nawaz chip straight to deep mid-wicket in the 19th over. Wasim Jr. holed out to the deep off Jordan in the final over as England picked four wickets while conceding only 31 runs in the last five overs.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 137/8 in 20 overs (Shan Masood 38, Babar Azam 32; Sam Curran 3/12, Adil Rashid 2/22) against England