At the bustling Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday, Sam Curran took three wickets for only 12 runs to help England hold Pakistan to 137-8 in the T20 World Cup final.
The 2009 winners were thwarted by England’s disciplined and economical bowling, with Shan Masood’s 38 being the best score, as predicted rain decided to stay away.
Mohammad Rizwan, Masood, and Mohammad Nawaz were all victims of Curran, which was lethal.
Adil Rashid’s leg-spin also proved essential, helping him finish with 2-22 by first getting rid of the dangerous Mohammad Haris with his first ball and then gaining the crucial wicket of Babar Azam.
After winning the 50-over World Cup in 2019, Jos Buttler’s England, who advanced to the final with a crushing 10-wicket victory over India, is hoping to become the first-ever twin white-ball winners.
Following Pakistan’s victory in 2009 and England’s victory a year later, both countries are aiming for a second T20 title.
England won the toss and chose to put Pakistan in to bat despite once again being without injured batsman Dawid Malan and fast bowler Mark Wood.
With nervous Mohammad Rizwan going for a dangerous single, Pakistan was fortunate to make it through the over unharmed when Ben Stokes was handed the new ball.
Chris Jordan would have been gone if the throw had been a direct strike.
After a century of partnership against New Zealand in the semifinal, Rizwan and Azam quickly found their rhythm. In the fourth over, Rizwan hit Chris Woakes for the first six of the night.
Rizwan, though, dragged a Curran delivery onto his stumps in the 15th over, ending any hopes of another strong stand.
In the six-over powerplay, when only two fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle, Pakistan, which defeated New Zealand by seven wickets to go to the final, managed just 39-1.
As soon as Rashid entered the game, Haris (8) attacked him with his first ball but only managed to loft a simple catch to Stokes.
At the midway stage of the innings, Azam had Pakistan on 68-2. Masood then started to smash the bat, striking a four and a six off Liam Livingstone.
Rashid, though, managed to make the breakthrough once again by taking a crucial diving catch off his bowling to dismiss Azam, who scored 32 runs off only 28 balls.
Masood and Shadab Khan (20) fell in the space of two runs after Iftikhar Ahmed only lasted six balls, as Curran and Chris Jordan put the lid on Pakistan’s hopes of a late flurry.