- England (138-5) prevailed over Pakistan (137-8) by a score of five wickets in the final.
- Sam Curran shines with the ball, and Ben Stokes scores his first T20 fifty.
Jos Buttler’s team prevailed in Melbourne despite the absence of the forecasted precipitation, proving that weather predictions were incorrect. Ben Stokes, a player who always finds a way to rise to the occasion, performed the vital innings that led his team to a victory by five wickets and a second T20 World Cup triumph.
When England last reached the T20 World Cup final in 2016, it was Stokes who bowled the disastrous final over that cost his team the title. Six years later, it was Stokes who led his team to victory.
The Test captain of England is an irredeemable drama magnet, and this was a great time to score his first international T20 fifty. Pakistan batted poorly but bowled wonderfully, took the early wickets they needed, and the game was building to a thrillingly tight finale when, in what initially appeared to be a moment of jubilation, their prospects of victory vanished.
Occasionally, it can be difficult to pinpoint the turning point of a game, but not here. After being restricted to a low total, Pakistan’s attempt to defend it was valiant and frequently superb; Naseem Shah terrorized England’s batsmen with a stunning spell of fast bowling that ended scandalously unrewarded.
Then, in the middle of the thirteenth over of England’s innings, Harry Brook smacked the ball to long off, where Shaheen Afridi made an excellent catch. But instead of rushing away in joy, the 22-year-old, who had just recently returned from a knee ligament injury, screamed for assistance.
It was surprising to see him return seemingly uninjured and attempt to play one more over after he had walked off the field. This time, as he limped off after one ball, there would be no return.
It was not sympathy that Stokes felt as Iftikhar Ahmed prepared to bowl the final over. When Moeen Ali blasted the first two balls of the next over, bowled by Mohammad Wasim, to the boundary, England had scored 18 runs off four balls, and the game had irrevocably turned in their favor.
Stokes was ice-cold at the end of the night when he was anything but at the beginning. His first and second deliveries were no-balls, and when Chris Woakes bowled the next over, he too began with a wide. At this time, the occasion’s pressure appeared to be crushing everyone concerned.