Melbourne, Nov 13 (IANS) As Ben Stokes finished off the chase of 138 with a single through the gap at mid-wicket off Mohammad Wasim Jr. on the final ball of the 19th over, it clinched the deal for England to be the winners of Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 with a five-wicket victory over Pakistan in front of 80,462 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
Player of the Match and Player of the Tournament, Sam Curran (3/12) was impressive upfront and in death overs, while Adil 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 to restrict them to a below-par 137/8 in 20 overs.
In the chase, England lost three wickets, including captain Jos Buttler, in the Power-play. But Ben Stokes showed calmness and poise in his typical gritty style to slam an unbeaten 52 off 49 balls, also his first T20I fifty, to take England over the line with an over to spare.
This was the second time Stokes played a pivotal role for England in the final of a global tournament after his Player of the Match effort in the 2019 ODI World Cup final victory at the Lord’s. The win also makes England the first team in the history of men’s international cricket to hold both 50-over and 20-over World Cups at the same time.
“This is one of the best days of my cricketing career. I feel as a team we deserved it, over a long period of time we have played some amazing cricket, and obviously fell short but the semis and then today to win against a brilliant Pakistan side is an amazing feeling, especially in front of fans and family.”
“It was just about keeping my intent, if I get out I get out, being positive and it was the right balance to Stokesy, he played some great shots and put in a crucial partnership,” said of-spin all-rounder Moeen Ali, who hit a crucial 13-ball 19 and was an able ally to Stokes in taking England to the target in a pressure scenario.
Rashid, who became just the fourth bowler to bowl a maiden over in the final of the T20 World Cup, said he would enjoy the feeling of being double World Cup champions for a very long time.
“So proud of the boys, the position from the early tomorrow to now… we were nervous in the run-chase, but we knew we’ve got the firepower to get over the line. This doesn’t happen often, so we’ll cherish this for a long time. Thank you (to Eoin Morgan) for picking me (in the white-ball side since 2015)!”
Opener Alex Hales, who was a late addition to the side after nearly three-and-a-half years once Jonny Bairstow was ruled out due to a freak leg injury, was happy over being a part of the championship-winning team after missing the 2019 ODI World Cup win in the eleventh hour.
“I definitely didn’t think it (my time) would come around again. Incredibly great feeling. The last 6-8 weeks have been so special and enjoyable, but this puts the icing on the cake. I did take my time, they (Pakistan) were a high-quality bowling attack and it took me a while to find my feet.
“I have really enjoyed this tournament and have played well in the important games. Not a bad one, my feet were caught nowhere and it was a decent ball (from Shaheen Shah Afridi to get me out).”
Pace all-rounder Chris Woakes felt it was great for England to win the final after being on the losing side while playing matches in Australia on numerous previous occasions. “We have lost a lot of games in Australia so to actually win this game at the MCG, a World Cup win, it’s amazing.
“The wicket offered a little bit to the quick bowlers. The occasion played a part as well, the occasion gets the better of people and rightly so. But we got over the line and that’s all that matters.”
Young batter Harry Brook concluded by saying he had the belief in the side to win the T20 World Cup. “A lot of people would say they wouldn’t expect to win the World Cup at 23 (years of age) but being in this squad with the players we’ve got, I always thought we were going to win it, and we’ve shown the world how good we are tonight.”
“I thought the wicket would be a little bit better. I haven’t played Test cricket here but I’d imagine it would be similar to that. It was a phenomenal day and obviously, the crowd have been fantastic