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Ben Stokes stars as England beat Pakistan to win T20 World Cup

Stokes stars as England beat Pakistan to win T20 World Cup
© Reuters
Be Stokes guides England to a five-wicket victory over Pakistan to lift the T20 World Cup in Melbourne.

Ben Stokes has produced yet another big-stage masterclass to guide England to the T20 World Cup with a five-wicket victory over Pakistan.

The all-rounder had been out of contention for the short format of the game before Jos Buttler insisted on recalling a player who has consistently proven to be the difference between success and disappointment.

However, the decision to bring Stokes back into the fold has proven inspired, the 31-year-old bringing England home with a perfectly-timed unbeaten 52 from 49 in Melbourne.

England win the tournament for the second time, ending a 12-year wait, and they are now champions in both limited-overs formats after their 50-over triumph in 2019.

While there was not the drama of that famous day at Lord's, this win is equally meaningful for England given the changes that have recently been made behind the scenes and on the pitch.

England initially impressed with the ball, Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam being restricted to just 15 and 32 respectively and no Pakistan player making more than Shan Masood's lively 38 from 28 deliveries.

Sam Curran, like he has for the entire tournament, delivered at crucial times, ending with sensational figures of 3-12 from his four overs, while Adil Rashid and Chris Jordan each produced important stints of 2-22 and 2-27 respectively.

Stokes also chipped in with a wicket as Pakistan made just 137-8, but England were immediately on the back foot with their reply as Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled Alex Hales (1) in the first over.

Although Phil Salt made just 10, it kept the score ticking over and eased the pressure on Buttler, but the skipper departed for 26 off 17 balls during a period of hostile pace bowling when the ball was swinging both ways.

At this point, Stokes was at the crease, mixing good fortune as the ball went past his outside edge on numerous occasions with the patience required for the situation as Harry Brook experienced the biggest match of his career at the other end.

Brook made 20 from 23, eventually holing out to Afridi, but the catch had ramifications for Pakistan as their leading pace bowler aggravated an injury and pulled up after his first ball back in the attack.

That ultimately proved pivotal. Moeen Ali and Stokes went from requiring close to eight runs per over to hitting 13 runs off five Iftikhar Ahmed deliveries and 18 runs across a four-ball spell.

While Moeen departed for 19 from 12 balls, the job was already on the brink of completion, and Stokes fittingly hit the winning run as England prevailed with an over to spare.

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Ben Stokes representing England in a one-day international in July 2022.
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