Lord’s, Headingley, and now the MCG – Ben Stokes just loves the clutch moments.
England has won the 2022 Men’s T20 World Cup, defeating Pakistan by five wickets on Sunday evening to cement their status as undisputed white-ball champions.
Stokes scored a career-best 52 (49) not out to help chase the 138-run target with six balls to spare, ensuring England becomes the first men’s team in history to simultaneously possess the ODI and T20 World Cups.
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“To be able to win the T20 World Cup now as well, just immensely proud of everyone here,” English captain Jos Buttler told reporters in the post-match press conference.
“It’s been a long journey and a few changes over how we have played over the last few years and we’re reaping the rewards of that.”
Earlier, an inspired bowling performance from Player of the Tournament Sam Curran (3/12) and leg-spinner Adil Rashid (2/22) restricted Pakistan to 8/137 from their 20 overs, which proved at least 15 runs below par.
Pakistan’s pace bowlers were superb throughout the run chase, but Stokes weathered the storm to bring up a maiden T20I half-century and steer England home.
“He’s a true match-winner,” Buttler said.
“It certainly wasn’t his most fluent innings, I though he didn’t time the ball as well as he can, but you knew he was never going to go down without a fight.
“We’re immensely lucky to have him. He’s one of the great players of English cricket.”
England becomes the second nation to win multiple Men’s T20 World Cup titles, joining the West Indies.
A horde of Pakistan cricket fans descended on the MCG on Sunday afternoon, with thousands of supporters chanting and dancing outside the gates before they had even opened.
England fans were utterly outnumbered, with the sea of green growing in size and volume as the start time approached.
Rain was predicted to ruin the spectacle, but the thick, grey skyline above MCG thankfully didn’t interrupt proceedings. Weather radars showed that it was bucketing down in Geelong and northern Melbourne, but the showers miraculously evaded the CBD.
After Buttler won the toss and elected to field first, Stokes got the final underway with a front-foot no-ball and a wide.
It was a nervy start for both sides, with paceman Chris Jordan missing a run-out opportunity at the non-striker’s end soon after, giving Pakistan opener Mohammad Rizwan an extra life on 2.
The MCG was flooded with Pakistani flags when Rizwan found the middle of his bat in the fourth over, slog-sweeping England seamer Chris Woakes over the square leg boundary for the first six of the evening.
The Pakistan gloveman required medical attention after knocking his head while running between the wickets, but was dismissed by Curran the following delivery after flashing outside off stump and edging the ball back onto his stumps.
Once the fielding restrictions lifted, England’s seamers repeatedly bowled short of a good length, taking advantage of the venue’s famously large square boundaries and forcing Pakistan onto the back foot.
It didn’t take long for England’s premier tweaker to have an impact, with Rashid removing young gun Mohammad Haris with his first delivery of the match, caught at long-on for 8 (12).
Shan Masood took a particular liking to the part-time spin of Liam Livingstone, cracking 16 runs from his first over of the evening.
However, Rashid hushed the vocal crowd by claiming the prized scalp of Azam in a game-changing wicket maiden, bamboozling the rival skipper with a wrong-un to knock the wind out of Pakistan’s sails.
Iftikhar Ahmed departed soon after for a sixth-ball duck when Stokes generated some extra bounce from the deck, flicking the right-hander’s glove on the way through to the wicketkeeper.
Masood underwent a concussion test after a Jordan bouncer struck him flush on the helmet, but slapped the England quick through the covers immediately after.
Some sloppy fielding from Phil Salt on the boundary gifted Masood a couple of extra runs in the 16th over before Curran removed the left-hander for 38 (28), caught at deep mid-wicket.
Masood’s departure sparked a late collapse with Pakistan losing 4/10 in 19 balls, mustering one solitary boundary in their final four overs.
Despite bowling all his overs during the Powerplay and at the death, Player of the Match Curran did not concede a single boundary.
Pakistan was desperate for an early breakthrough, and speedster Shaheen Shah Afridi delivered for his teammates.
The left-armer knocked over England opener Alex Hales in the opening over of the run chase with a trademark in-swinger that hooped into leg stump.
Afridi was unlucky not to snare another wicket in his following over after reviewing an LBW decision that came back as “Umpire’s Call”.
Buttler looked impeccable during the Powerplay, repeatedly driving Pakistan’s seamers through the covers before Melbourne Stars cult hero Haris Rauf brought the crowd of 80,462 back to life by removing Salt for 10.
In riveting scenes, Rauf found Buttler’s outside edge with a length delivery in the sixth over to leave England reeling at 3/45 and swing momentum firmly in Pakistan’s favour.
It proved a significant turning point, with runs drying up considerably once the fielding restrictions were lifted and spin was introduced.
Stokes and Harry Brook revived the innings with a patient 39-run stand for the fourth wicket, with Mohammad Nawaz botching a run-out opportunity in the 11th over.
Pakistan quick Naseem Shah rattled Stokes the following over with a trio of length deliveries that flew past the outside edge – the English all-rounder could only laugh in disbelief.
Brook fell victim to Shadab Khan’s spin in the 13th over, but the wicket was soured by an injury concern for Afridi, who limped off the field after taking the catch.
The 22-year-old returned soon after, having popped a couple of painkillers, but gingerly hobbled back to the sheds one delivery into his second spell.
Stokes and Moeen Ali started to find the boundary rope in the final five overs, slowly putting England in the favourable position as the required run rate dipped below six.
England was seemingly cruising towards victory before Mohammad Wasim’s yorker knocked over Ali in the penultimate over, but Stokes held his nerve, clipping the paceman through mid-wicket a few deliveries later to secure a historic victory.
“A staggering performance of mental strength if nothing else,” former New Zealand wicketkeeper Ian Smith said in commentary.
Pakistan paceman Haris Rauf is in the action, removing England’s Phil Salt for 10 with his third delivery of the final.
Salt attempted to pull Rauf’s short ball through mid-wicket, only managing to gift Iftikhar Ahmed a regulation catch on the ring.
The 29-year-old shifted momentum firmly in Pakistan’s favour by dismissing England skipper Jos Buttler in the sixth over, drawing the outside edge with a length delivery.
Pakistan needed an early breakthrough, and they got it.
England opener Alex Hales is back in the sheds after Pakistan speedster Shaheen Shah Afridi hooped the Kookaburra through his defences and into the pegs.
The wicket prompted what was undoubtedly the loudest cheer of the evening.
Phil Salt joins his captain in the middle.
Pakistan has mustered 8/137 from their 20 overs after a late collapse of 4/10 from 19 balls.
England needs to chase 138 to win the T20 World Cup.
It was a patient knock from Babar Azam, but the Pakistan skipper is back in the sheds for 32 (28).
England spinner Adil Rashid has hushed the vocal crowd with a diving return catch to secure the prized wicket, bowling a wicket maiden to knock the wind out of Pakistan’s sails.
Iftikhar Ahmed departed soon after for a sixth-ball duck, edging behind to give Ben Stokes his first wicket of the match.
One of the best overs in #T20WorldCupFinal history that from Adil Rashid
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) November 13, 2022
— Brad Hogg (@Brad_Hogg) November 13, 2022
It hasn’t taken long for England’s premier spinner to get in on the action.
Leg-spinner Adil Rashid has removed Pakistan young gun Mohammad Haris with his first delivery of the final, caught by Ben Stokes at long on for 8 (12).
Shan Masood joins his skipper in the middle.
Sam Curran has struck early for England, removing the dangerous Mohammad Rizwan for 15 in the fifth over.
The Pakistan opener flashed outside the off stump, only managing to edge the ball back onto the stumps.
Rizwan falls four runs short of becoming the first cricketer to score 1000 T20I runs in a calendar year on multiple occasions.
Mohammad Haris is the new man in the middle.
Sam Curran once again! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 @englandcricket
— Jonny Bairstow (@jbairstow21) November 13, 2022
England all-rounder Ben Stokes got the final underway with a front-foot no-ball and a wide before Chris Jordan missed a run out chance at the non-striker’s end, giving Mohammad Rizwan an extra life on 2.
Not the ideal start for the Poms.
— Amol Karhadkar (@karhacter) November 13, 2022
The national anthems are done, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan are out in the middle, while Ben Stokes has the new Kookaburra in his hands.
The T20 World Cup final is about to get underway at the MCG.
England confirms they have named an unchanged XI for the final, with paceman Mark Wood and batter Dawid Malan unavailable for the blockbuster clash.
Jos Buttler (wk/c), Alex Hales, Philip Salt, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid
Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Haris, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi
Mark Wood is a huge loss for England but that feels like an important toss: Pakistan’s record in run chases is brilliant but mixed batting first, and England’s batting is incredibly deep
— Matt Roller (@mroller98) November 13, 2022
England captain Jos Buttler has won the toss and elected to field first at the MCG, an unsurprising call considering the lingering threat of rain.