England have beaten Pakistan by five wickets to win the T20 World Cup. Needing 138 to win the title for a second time, England wobbled in the chase due to some hostile fast-bowling by Pakistan but Ben Stokes hit a half-century to take the side home on Sunday in Melbourne.
Thirty years after losing the 50-over ODI World Cup final to Pakistan at the same venue, England turned the tables on the South Asian side with brilliant death bowling and Stokes’s heroics. With all-rounder Sam Curran recording a miserly 3-12, Pakistan collapsed in the final overs to finish on a below-par 137 for eight after being sent in to bat by England captain Jos Buttler.
The heavy rain forecast never hit the MCG as England, led by the unflappable Stokes, reeled in the total with six balls to spare. Curran was named player of the match and player of the tournament.
Sealing their second T20 World Cup, England are now the first nation to hold both global white-ball trophies, having won the 50-over World Cup on home soil in 2019. Earlier, England produced disciplined and economical bowling to stymie the 2009 champions, with Shan Masood’s 38 being the top score.
India's T20 team set for overhaul
There are a few veterans in Indian team and they have been told that their T20I career is as good as over. There were too many players in their mid-30s in this tournament. Dinesh Karthik, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami made the cut this year. The bigger step would be to phase out big names like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
That opens up quite a few places in the T20I set-up. Hardik Pandya is the hot favourite for the top job. If Rohit and Virat sit out with Karthik not being considered anymore, the likes Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer and Sanju Samson could get the chance. KL Rahul would need to rediscover his T20 batting form soon to hold on to his place. It will be interesting to see if Rishabh Pant goes up the batting order. Ishan Kishan has been India’s preferred T20 opener in the absence of Rohit and Rahul. If the team management feels Prithvi Shaw has gathered himself off the field, he could be considered too. Samson is likely to be groomed to play the finisher’s role as Karthik was supposed to do here.
While much of the scrutiny has been on the batting’s conservative approach, the bowling combination too could be in for a major shakeup. Jasprit Bumrah’s absence due to injury was majorly felt in Australia. But with the pacer struggling to sustain high octane cricket due to a dodgy back, Bumrah may have to give up one format.
It’s likely that India will persist with Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj and Umran Malik. Expect Washington Sundar to play a major role in the future. Bhuvneshwar has dropped off the list of contenders for the ODI World Cup.