Ben Stokes stars as England defeat Pakistan to win T20 World Cup after thrilling chase

The match did not start swimmingly for Stokes, with the sense of the occasion at the MCG prompting a nervy opening to the contest. He delivered a no ball and a wide in the opening over, but Pakistan’s batters also suffered early, with Mohammad Rizwan hesitating between the wickets and Chris Jordan launching the ball towards the stumps for what would have been a clear run-out had contact been made.

England quickly seized the initiative though, with the brilliant Curran making the breakthrough by bowling Mohammad Rizwan, who dragged onto his own stumps, it led to final figures of three for 12.

In addition to Curran’s brilliance, Adil Rashid stepped up with a crucial spell that did serious damage to Pakistan’s hopes with his masterful spell including a wicket maiden.

The leg spinner dug deep into his box of tricks, taking two wickets for 22 runs from his four overs. The highlight of the spell was a sensational googly and diving catch to remove Babar Azam.

And with Pakistan on the back foot, Stokes steamed in, Iftikhar Ahmed nibbled at a line and length delivery and captain Jos Buttler gleefully gobbled up the opportunity.

Despite an attractive target though, England’s chase started poorly as Shaheen Shah Afridi clean bowled Alex Hales to give Pakistan hope, but a defiant Buttler immediately responded with two fours off Naseem Shah.

Pakistan then displayed immense character as Haris Rauf removed Phil Salt for a second powerplay wicket, leading to Ben Stokes’ entrance. The volume at the MCG was turned up when Haris Rauf seized the prized wicket of Buttler before Stokes combined with Harry Brook to eleviate the pressure.

There was more drama to come though and Shaheen Shah Afridi played a pivotal role: first taking a sublime catch to remove Brook, sliding after sprinting in from the deep. It left him injured and walking gingerly off the pitch and requiring treatment. He would return and started a final spell at the death, only to back out after one delivery and leave the game for good.

And with Iftikhar replacing Afridi, Stokes took two huge swipes, one for four and another for six. It inspired Moeen, who quickly adding a couple of boundaries himself off Mohammad Wasim.

England’s Ben Stokes, right, celebrates hitting the winning runs

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Wasim would gain some kind of revenge, clean bowling Moeen in the final over of the innings, sending Liam Livingstone to the crease.

But Stokes fittingly finished the match and the tournament with his first ever T20 international half century, dispatching Wasim to clinch a five-wicket victory and spark wild scenes of English celebration in Melbourne.

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