Ben Stokes once again delivered under the fiercest of pressure as England were crowned T20 World Cup champions after a nail-biting five-wicket win over Pakistan. On a bowler-friendly pitch, Stokes anchored a chase of 138 with an over to spare with 52 not out from 49 balls as England became the first men’s side to hold ODI and T20 World Cups simultaneously.
England’s 2019 50-over World Cup hero had moments of fortune en route to his first T20 half-century in front of an 80,462-crowd, overwhelmingly made up of spellbound and lively Pakistan fans. But Stokes banished memories of the 2016 final in stunning fashion, retaining his composure despite the tricky surface and a vaunted Pakistan attack.
Sam Curran took three for 12 while there were two wickets apiece for Adil Rashid and Chris Jordan to restrict Pakistan to 137 for eight – and their hopes of keeping England under that were dealt a blow by an injury to Shaheen Shah Afridi while taking the catch that dismissed Harry Brook. After treatment on his knee, Afridi pulled up after one ball of his third over, with Pakistan turning to Iftikhar Ahmed, who was driven for four then six by Stokes, swinging the pendulum towards England.
The winning moment came when Stokes, who has made unbeaten fifties in triumphant ODI and T20 World Cup finals, pulled Mohammad Wasim for a single before his team-mates rushed on to the field in celebration. In the showpiece six years ago, Stokes was clattered for four successive sixes in the final over as the West Indies pipped England to the title but the all-rounder can now put that Kolkata night to bed.
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