England coach Matthew Mott says "the door is always open" for Ben Stokes to reverse his ODI retirement and play at the Cricket World Cup later this year.

All-rounder Stokes brought an end to his 50-over international career in July because of an "unsustainable" schedule alongside his Test captaincy.

However, the 31-year-old recently suggested he may potentially consider representing England at the World Cup in Pakistan in October and November.

Mott is hopeful that will be the case and will not rush Stokes – the man of the match when England beat New Zealand in the 2019 final – into making a decision.

"The door is always open for a player of that quality but we are also very aware that his main focus is red ball cricket as the captain," he told reporters. 

"We respect that and when he's ready to chat, we'll do that."

Asked if there will be a cut-off point for Stokes to decide what he wants to do, Mott said: "I've had some good discussions with Jos [Buttler] and Rob Key on this.

"Players are playing a lot of franchise cricket, coming in and out at different times, so we need to keep a really flexible, open mind to players. 

"When we sit down to pick that 15 for the World Cup, we want to pick the best players possible."

Mott was speaking ahead of England's three-match ODI series against South Africa, which begins in Bloemfontein on Friday.

Stokes may not be present, but fast bowler Jofra Archer is in line for his first international appearance since March 2021 after recovering from a series of injury setbacks.

"Having watched him from a distance, I think he's one of the most exciting things to have happened in cricket for the last decade. It will be great to have him," Mott said.

"He's full throttle, fast and brings such energy. He is one of those guys that if you are there sitting in the pub and he's bowling, you're watching. That's a big thing to have.

"Everyone here will get a lift around bowlers like him. He's spent a lot of time out and I know he's absolutely frothing to play."

New Zealand and India will attempt to put the disappointment of failing to win the T20 World Cup behind them when they start a three-match T20i series on Friday.

England hammered India by 10 wickets at the semi-final stage before beating Pakistan at the MCG on Sunday to lift the trophy for a second time.

The Black Caps missed out once again when they lost to Pakistan in the semi-final, having been runners-up to Australia in Dubai last year.

India will be without captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul for three matches against New Zealand in the shortest format, as the experienced trio have been given a post-World Cup rest.

Hardik Pandya will skipper the tourists, with VVS Laxman filling in as head coach as Rahul Dravid is also absent.

Laxman wants to see the India players express themselves in a series that gets under way at Westpac Stadium

He said: "It is important to be flexible. I think in T20 cricket, you are required to express yourself and that is when you will be successful. I think T20 cricket has shown us over the years that the more amount of multi-dimensional players you have, the better for the team.

"You have bowlers who can bat, and batters who can bowl, and that is the way forward. That has already been proven in T20 cricket, the more number of bowlers who can bat will add depth to the team and it allows a lot of freedom for the batters to express themselves.

"That is the need for the format and I am sure more and more teams will try to get that into their selection process and identify players who are multi-dimensional players."

New Zealand have won their past four multi-game bilateral T20I series and will attempt to extend that to five for the first time, with India being the last team to beat them in a series with a 3-0 success a year ago.

 

No Boult to strike for Black Caps

Trent Boult was not included in the New Zealand squad after a request to be released from his central contract was accepted in August.

They still possess a strong attack in his absence, with Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson set to be unleashed and Adam Milne back in the fold along with Blair Tickner

Experienced opener Martin Guptill was overlooked once again, with Finn Allen keeping his spot at the top of the order.

 

India need Pant back to his explosive best

Rishabh Pant only played twice in the World Cup, making three against Zimbabwe before falling for only nine in the crushing semi-final loss at the hands of England.

Dinesh Karthik had been preferred to Pant, but the experienced wicketkeeper-batter is not in the squad to face New Zealand.

Pant is only 30 runs short of becoming 11th player to score 1,000 runs for India in men’s T20Is and India will need him to explode into life.

England will be the team to beat in limited-overs cricket over the next couple of years, according to former Australia captain Steve Waugh.

Australia's old enemy won the T20 World Cup in Melbourne on Sunday, beating Pakistan in the final, having also secured the 50-over World Cup in 2019.

The host nation did not make it out of the Super 12 stage after failing to recover from a heavy opening defeat to New Zealand.

Speaking to Stats Perform at the Laureus Challenge 2022, presented by Sierra Space, Waugh said Australia's performance in the tournament had been disappointing and tipped England to face motivated opposition now they are on top of both formats of limited-overs cricket.

"It was our home World Cup, I guess the fans expected Australia to do well but they didn't make the semi-finals, which was disappointing," Waugh conceded. "They weren't at their best and in T20, winning, it's a very fine line. If you're not 100 per cent in the game, you're gonna lose the match. And so Australia probably didn't deserve to be in the semi-finals.

"England, I think, were the best team overall so they deserved to win it, [and] Pakistan put up a good show.

"But [for] England it's pretty exciting to win both the 50-over World Cup and now the 20-over World Cup... They've set a benchmark for themselves, every other side is going to be trying to beat them in the next couple of years."

Waugh played in 168 Test matches for Australia between 1985 and 2004, scoring 10,927 runs at an average of 51.06, as well as making 325 ODI appearances, with an average of 32.90.

Asked why he thought Australia struggled at the T20 World Cup, Waugh said: "I just think they didn't really click. The first game against New Zealand was a really bad result, they lost by 90 runs, and that put pressure on their run rate and almost threw them off balance all the way through.

"The captain [Aaron Finch] was a bit out of form. So maybe that was a bit unsettling in the team. But overall, they just weren't on their game. Their fielding wasn't up to scratch and they looked a bit sluggish."

It was England who took the trophy, though, with Ben Stokes hitting his first ever T20I half-century as his team beat Pakistan by five wickets in the final.

"I think it was an entertaining final [and] it could have gone either way," Waugh said. "But England had that man called Ben Stokes, who seems to perform in those pressure situations and has almost got a bit of a Midas touch in the big games."

Despite the hosts' struggles, Waugh still feels the event was a success, with big crowds turning up to games.

"The crowds were huge," he said. "One hundred thousand people saw India play Pakistan at the MCG... The people loved it.

"T20 cricket is a real social event. Young people go and watch it, have a good time. And it's exciting, they get a quick result. And they can see another game the next day."

England limited-overs coach Matthew Mott hopes he can lure Ben Stokes out of ODI retirement ahead of the Cricket World Cup in 2023.

Star all-rounder Stokes called an end to his 50-over international career in July as he suggested the workload amid a packed schedule was "unsustainable" alongside his Test captaincy.

The 31-year-old did not bow out of the shortest format, though, and proved his white-ball worth with a vital 52 not out in Sunday's T20 World Cup final victory over Pakistan.

Stokes became just the third player to score 50-plus runs in finals of both an ODI World Cup and a T20 World Cup, having starred against New Zealand in the dramatic Lord's showpiece in 2019.

England are the first side to boast duel limited-overs titles at the same time, and Mott hopes he can convince Stokes to return to defend their ODI crown in India next year.

"When he spoke to me about his ODI retirement, one of the first things I said was that I'd back any decision he made," Mott told Sky Sports.

"He didn't necessarily have to retire, he could just not play 50 overs for a while. I did say 'you could always un-retire'. It's his decision. He'll do what's right for English cricket and he always has.

"It's going to be a World Cup year and we don't play much T20 cricket for a while but it will be a decision that's up to him. The more we can get him is great. He's a world-class player.

"He's doing an amazing job with the Test captaincy but he is a very big cog in the wheel when he comes back to white ball. I can't speak more highly of the way he's been around this group."

Stokes and Sam Curran, who took the second-most wickets by a pace bowler (13) at an edition of the T20 World Cup, both delivered on the biggest stage for England.

But Mott also pinpointed the influential figures of Reece Topley and Jonny Bairstow, who both missed the tournament in Australia due to injury.

"Reece Topley was a big part of our preparation for here," the Australian added. "I was absolutely gutted for him, such an innocuous injury. Seeing him leave our group was hard.

"I must admit he was one of the first blokes I thought of (after England's win) – and Jonny as well.

"Those guys, it's hard for them when you prepare so much to do something like this, and they don't come round that often, to have to miss that opportunity is heartbreaking."

England's success Down Under could be somewhat credited to Australia, though, given Mott was partnered by Mike Hussey and David Saker in his coaching setup.

"Players make coaches, coaches don't make players at this level," Mott continued "There's no doubt it was a real advantage in Australia to have some Australian coaches around.

"A lot of people just said I got my mates in to do the role. But both of those appointments were suggested by players within our group and had worked with both of them before."

Ben Stokes has earned the right to be called an England great after the "once-in-a-generation player" guided Jos Buttler's side to T20 World Cup glory.

That was the message from former England seamer Ryan Sidebottom, who was speaking to Stats Perform after Stokes' 52 not out saw sealed a five-wicket victory over Pakistan in Sunday's final.

The all-rounder came to the crease at the MCG with England 32-2 in their pursuit of 138, but produced a well-crafted innings to record his first T20I half-century on the biggest occasion.

Sidebottom labelled the Test captain as one of England's best players off all time after Stokes became just the third player to score 50-plus runs in both an ODI World Cup and T20 World Cup final.

Asked whether Stokes was now an England legend, Sidebottom said: "I would say so, most definitely. He's probably got to be.

"He could be called Sir Ben Stokes at some stage, but I think he's done it so many times now you can't argue with that.

"With what he's done in the key moments under pressure, he's the man to do it. You have a once-in-a-generation player and when the big occasion comes around, more often than not, he turns up.

"He turns it on, and it makes things happen. Look at the Ashes and the 2019 World Cup. It's almost crazy to say this, but it's almost like he's just playing a regular game in the park.

"He doesn't worry about the situation, or what type of game he's playing in. I think he's just saying, 'I'm out here. I'm just going to play my game. And I'll see us over the line'.

"Once you strip it all back and you keep it very simple, it certainly changes how you play as a player – he's been phenomenal."

Stokes suffered T20 World Cup final heartbreak in 2016 when Carlos Brathwaite smashed him for four successive sixes to win the competition for West Indies.

Sidebottom says the honesty and professionalism of Stokes to respond to that setback is what sets him apart from the rest.

"Having played a professional sport, there's always highs and lows," he added. "There's always negatives, there's always days when it doesn't go your way and maybe your opposition number gets the better of you or you just have a bad day out.

"You'll either learn from that, or you can sulk about it and let it affect you. What Ben Stokes has done after that World Cup final, since then, he has never ever looked back. 

"The things that we've sort of seen away from the cricket, we've all done stupid things. We've all done things that we regret or we didn't mean to do, you grow and mature and he's done that.

"He's done his time. He's been open and honest. With his mental health issues and everything like that. Then his cricket has improved immensely and he's turned himself into a mighty fine cricketer."

Stokes has become accustomed to playing the hero for England in recent years, most notably in the victorious 2019 Cricket World Cup final against New Zealand and in the Ashes at Headingley in the same year.

The calm manner in which Stokes goes about his business is another key facet Sidebottom pinpointed, with his demeanour helping England rally to four straight wins to seal their second T20 World Cup crown.

"Ben Stokes is that calming influence, he doesn't panic. He's very level-headed and I think with someone like him, it runs through the team," Sidebottom continued.

"When you've got a player like that with his stature, when he's so calm at the crease, it certainly goes through the team.

"And the team say, 'we don't need to panic, we can easily win this game.' It showed in the final and in the semi-final.

"It also showed in the Sri Lanka game where it was getting very close. Ben Stokes didn't panic. The whole team are just accustomed now to playing in big tournaments and used to being under pressure a lot more."

Moeen Ali has bemoaned a "horrible" schedule that will see England start an ODI series against Australia four days after winning the T20 World Cup.

Jos Buttler's side became the first team to be both T20I and 50-over world champions at the same time with a five-wicket victory over Pakistan in the final at the MCG on Sunday.

After playing seven World Cup matches in a period of just over three weeks, England will remain in Australia for a three-match ODI series that starts at Adelaide Oval on Thursday.

Moeen is among nine members of the T20 World Cup squad who will face Australia, but the all-rounder feels they should be taking some hard-earned time off.

"It's been happening for a while," he said. "As a group we want to enjoy and celebrate and have that time because you put so much into it as well. It's not just while the tournament is going on, there's the pre-tournament, the build-up and all that.

"Having a game in three days' time, it's horrible. As players we're kind of getting used to it now. But to give 100 per cent all the time is difficult when you're playing every two, three days.

"We have to do it and while we're here we might as well do it, it would be better than going back and then having to come back out another time."

England white-ball head coach Matthew Mott also feels the schedule is asking a lot of the players.

"We always saw that series as being something that we will have to be really professional about," said Mott.

"Cricket is a funny game: we have long breaks off in the white-ball game but when we're on, we're on. We've got to enjoy this victory, they don't come around very often so there'll be no disguising the fact that we will enjoy this.

"But come game day, we've got to turn up and make sure we put out a great effort. For the white-ball team in particular, we get through those three games and then there's a long break. So that'll be the time to properly let the hair down and enjoy it, but the schedule is the schedule and we've got to move with it."

Pakistan paceman Shaheen Afridi has been advised to undergo a fortnight of rehabilitation after limping out of the T20 World Cup final defeat against England.

It was feared Afridi may have suffered a recurrence of a knee injury that kept him out for three months prior to the tournament in Australia.

The left-arm quick left the field at the MCG on Sunday after landing awkwardly while catching Harry Brook.

Afridi was sorely missed as Ben Stokes' unbeaten half-century ensured England became the first team to be world champions in the 50-over format and the shortest format at the same time.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday revealed there were no signs of an injury for Afridi, so the fast bowler could be fit for the first Test against England that starts on December 1.

A PCB statement said: "Pakistan fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi has been advised two-week rehabilitation after he landed awkwardly while taking Harry Brook's catch during Sunday’s ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 final in Melbourne.

"The scan conducted on Monday morning prior to the team’s departure for Pakistan, has confirmed there were no signs of an injury and the knee discomfort was likely "due to a forced knee flexion whilst landing".

"The scans were discussed between PCB’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Najeebullah Soomro, and Australian knee specialist, Dr Peter D'Alessandro, and it was reassuring to know that there was no injury. The left-arm fast bowler is feeling better and is in high spirits.

"Shaheen will undergo rehabilitation and conditioning programme that has been designed to strengthen his knee at the National High Performance Centre few days after his return to Pakistan.

"Shaheen's return to international cricket will be subject to the champion fast bowler’s successful completion of the rehabilitation programme and following go-aheads by the medical staff."

Afridi bowled Alex Hales in the first over of England's run chase but was only able to fire down 13 deliveries before making an early exit as Jos Buttler's side won by five wickets.

Eoin Morgan declared England can be "regarded as one of the great sides" after T20 World Cup glory at the MCG on Sunday.

Former limited-overs England captain Morgan skippered his side to Cricket World Cup 50-over success in 2019, before falling short in the semi-finals of the T20 edition of the world competition in 2021.

The 36-year-old stepped down from his role in June, allowing Jos Buttler to take charge of the white-ball sides, and England triumphed in their captain's first tournament at the helm.

A five-wicket victory with six balls remaining over Pakistan in the final means England are now dual white-ball world champions, with Morgan suggesting Buttler's side have cemented their place in history.

"This team deserves it," Morgan said on Sky Sports. "They've been through the mill in the group stages and they've produced close to their very best against India in the semi-final.

"Jos Buttler said, 'We don't want to be known as a team just for our style of play'. We were known like that in 50 overs then won the 50-over World Cup in 2019.

"In T20 they've now won something tangible to be regarded as one of the great sides. They were excellent."

Ben Stokes, as has been the case across multiple formats in recent years, proved to be the hero with an unbeaten 52, seeing England over the line after they were reeling at 45-3 chasing 138.

From Headingley in the Ashes in 2019, to his Lord's heroics in the Cricket World Cup final earlier that year, Morgan heralded Stokes as the man for the big occasion.

"Ben is just such a special player," Morgan added. "In big games he continues to stand up for his country when his country needs him. That is such an incredible skill to have.

"When something has the potential to go awry, Ben is the guy that thinks coolly and calmly under pressure and makes brilliant decisions. He's done it so many times now.

"At certain stages of my captaincy I did take it [Stokes' role] for granted because he continued to be able to produce under pressure all the time.

"He always wants to be in the game and is that player who continually nags you to get in the high-pressure moments. It's a complete luxury to have a guy like Ben Stokes at your disposal."

While Stokes became just the third player to score 50-plus runs in both an ODI World Cup and T20 World Cup final (also Gautam Gambhir and Kumar Sangakkara), Sam Curran played an important role.

Left-arm seamer Curran picked up 1-12 from his four overs, marking his 13th scalp of the tournament – the second-most by a pacer in any single edition of the tournament (Dirk Nannes - 14 wickets in 2010).

"It [Curran's World Cup performance] is extraordinary," Morgan continued. "He really has been a find in all parts of the game. Jos Buttler has brought him on in the powerplay, used him through the middle and the biggest plus has been his death bowling.

"He has really stood up and bowled with a huge amount of skill and clarity. To produce in a World Cup final is extraordinary from someone that young. When his team needed him, Sam Curran did it today."

Babar Azam was left frustrated after key bowler Shaheen Afridi was forced off with injury in Pakistan's T20 World Cup final defeat to England on Sunday.

Babar's men set England just 138 to win, but Afridi struck early to dismiss England opener Alex Hales before making a superb catch to remove Harry Brook off Shadab Khan's bowling, stirring Pakistan's hopes of victory.

However, Afridi injured himself in his role in Brook's wicket and was forced off the field, and though he did return, the 22-year-old managed just one delivery before having to make way again.

It was a bitter blow for Pakistan, who seemingly lost all momentum as Ben Stokes' half-century and some crucial boundaries from Moeen Ali condemned them to a heartbreaking defeat.

Babar pointed to Afridi's injury as the key moment, saying in the post-match presentation: "We were 20 runs short, but the fight to the last over was unbelievable.

"Our bowling is one of the best but unfortunately Shaheen's injury cost us a different result, but that's part of the game.

"The way the team has gone in the last four matches [was] incredible. I told the boys to play their natural game, with freedom. Congratulations to England."

The final defeat ended a disappointing individual tournament for Babar, who finished with a total run tally of 124 off 133 balls, while facing 62 dot balls as he passed 50 just once across his seven innings.

But the Pakistan captain was pleased with his team's campaign, despite his own struggles, adding in his press conference: "We weren't expecting to lose the first two.

"But how we've come back, grabbed chances, I'm proud of the team as a captain."

Jos Buttler labelled Ben Stokes the "ultimate competitor" after his first T20I half-century saw England beat Pakistan to win the T20 World Cup at the MCG.

Chasing a target of 138 after bowling first, England captain Buttler had hit 26 from 17 deliveries himself but departed with his team still needing 93 more runs.

After a slow start, Stokes eventually took the game to Pakistan along with Moeen Ali (19 from 12). Stokes then hit the winning run to end on an unbeaten 52 from 49 balls.

There were five fours and a six in that knock, which finished with the final ball of the 19th over.

"He's the ultimate competitor in anything he does," Buttler said at the post-match presentation.

"He's got a hell of a lot of experience to bank on, he can take a lot on his shoulders. He timed it perfectly, that impetus he and Moeen Ali had at that phase of the game just took it away from Pakistan."

Speaking to Sky Sports after the presentation, Buttler was asked if he had been comfortable leaving Stokes at the crease after his own dismissal.

"I was comfortable after 10 overs, and then I said to someone: 'If he played like that in a Test match, he'd drop himself'," Buttler joked. "He managed to get it done in the end."

Buttler shared the praise around, with England's success scarcely seeming imaginable after a Super 12 loss to Ireland.

"To be able to win the T20 World Cup, I'm just immensely proud of everyone here," he said. "It's been a long journey and a few changes of how we've played over the last few years, and we're reaping the rewards of that.

"It's been a fantastic tournament. We've been away for a long time; we went to Pakistan before coming here, which was a really valuable time for the group.

"This felt a long way away after the Ireland match, but the character we've shown from that point on in must-win games has been amazing."

England limited Pakistan to 137-8 from their 20 overs, with the turning point coming at the start of the 12th over when Adil Rashid (2-22) caught and bowled Babar Azam for 32 before completing a maiden over.

"Absolutely that was a huge swing in the game, that was a fantastic over from Adil," Buttler said. "The last three games especially, he's been outstanding for us. He's always been the guy that we've thrown the ball to to make things happen.

"It certainly wasn't easy, we managed to get away to a decent start, which controlled the run rate. We bat deep as well, which gave us a lot of options and trust."

Ben Stokes says England's bowling attack was the key factor in their victory over Pakistan in the T20 World Cup final on Sunday, despite his crucial half-century.

Sam Curran (3-12) and Adil Rashid (2-22) bowled superbly to restrict Pakistan to just 137-8, though England's chase did not get off to the greatest of starts as openers Alex Hales and Jos Buttler were removed within the powerplay.

Stokes came in with England 32-2 after 3.3 overs, but smashed a sublime 52 off 49 deliveries to record his first ever T20I half-century and help his country to their second T20 World Cup title.

Stokes was keen to highlight England's bowlers as the reason for the win at the MCG in Melbourne, telling Sky Sports: "I think when you chase totals in games like this, you forget the hard work that goes in before.

"I thought the way that we bowled, Adil Rashid, Sam Curran, that's what won us the game. To restrict them to whatever we did, bowlers have got to take a lot of credit for that.

"We didn't feel under too much pressure with the run chase. I never felt it was out of our hands at all. It's never really panic stations when it's under eight an over."

England's triumph comes after a shock defeat to Ireland in the group stage that threatened to derail their tournament, having come in as one of the favourites.

Stokes referenced that loss after the final victory, saying: "I think with that [Ireland defeat] being so early in the competition, we obviously had to address it, say what we said and then let it go.

"In tournaments, you can't carry baggage. That was a little blip, but the best teams learn from their mistakes, they take it on the chin but they never let it affect them and they just let it go and move onto the next challenge."

England's success comes in new captain Jos Buttler's first tournament since taking over from previous incumbent Eoin Morgan, who led the team to ODI World Cup glory in 2019.

Stokes says Buttler has built on Morgan's good work to create history of his own, adding: "Jos has now created his own legacy.

"When the great man stepped down [pointing to Morgan] and Jos took over, you look how quickly he's managed to take control of the team and progress it from the legacy that Morgs [Morgan] has left.

"He's a guy who everyone follows. I think it shouldn't be taken for granted how hard it can be to make tactical decisions under pressure in this format. Ninety-five per cent of his decision-making he's got right. We're lucky to have him."

Ben Stokes says England's bowling attack was the key factor in their victory over Pakistan in the T20 World Cup final on Sunday, despite his crucial half-century.

Sam Curran (3-12) and Adil Rashid (2-22) bowled superbly to restrict Pakistan to just 137-8, though England's chase did not get off to the greatest of starts as openers Alex Hales and Jos Buttler were removed within the powerplay.

Stokes came in with England 32-2 after 3.3 overs, but smashed a sublime 52 off 49 deliveries to record his first ever T20I half-century and help his country to their second T20 World Cup title.

Stokes was keen to highlight England's bowlers as the reason for the win at the MCG in Melbourne, telling Sky Sports: "I think when you chase totals in games like this, you forget the hard work that goes in before.

"I thought the way that we bowled, Adil Rashid, Sam Curran, that's what won us the game. To restrict them to whatever we did, bowlers have got to take a lot of credit for that.

"We didn't feel under too much pressure with the run chase. I never felt it was out of our hands at all. It's never really panic stations when it's under eight an over."

England's triumph comes after a shock defeat to Ireland in the group stage that threatened to derail their tournament, having come in as one of the favourites.

Stokes referenced that loss after the final victory, saying: "I think with that [Ireland defeat] being so early in the competition, we obviously had to address it, say what we said and then let it go.

"In tournaments, you can't carry baggage. That was a little blip, but the best teams learn from their mistakes, they take it on the chin but they never let it affect them and they just let it go and move onto the next challenge."

England's success comes in new captain Jos Buttler's first tournament since taking over from previous incumbent Eoin Morgan, who led the team to ODI World Cup glory in 2019.

Stokes says Buttler has built on Morgan's good work to create history of his own, adding: "Jos has now created his own legacy.

"When the great man stepped down [pointing to Morgan] and Jos took over, you look how quickly he's managed to take control of the team and progress it from the legacy that Morgs [Morgan] has left.

"He's a guy who everyone follows. I think it shouldn't be taken for granted how hard it can be to make tactical decisions under pressure in this format. Ninety-five per cent of his decision-making he's got right. We're lucky to have him."

England won the T20 World Cup after Ben Stokes' first ever T20I half-century helped them to a five-wicket victory over Pakistan in Sunday's final at the MCG.

Excellent bowling in particular from Adil Rashid and Sam Curran held Pakistan to just 137-8, and England overcame some nervy moments in the chase to win their second T20 World Cup.

After England won the toss and opted to bowl in Melbourne, Pakistan struggled to get going, mustering just four boundaries on their way to 68-2 after 10 overs.

Despite Shan Masood's best efforts (38 runs from 28 balls), England then tore through Pakistan's middle order, Curran finishing with excellent figures of 3-12.

Pakistan required early wickets, and Shaheen Afridi found just what they needed with the final ball of the first over, sending an absolute ripper crashing through Alex Hales' middle stump.

Jos Buttler and Phil Salt steadied the ship before Salt was dismissed in the fourth over when smashing Haris Rauf's delivery straight to the waiting Iftikhar Ahmed, before Rauf then claimed the key wicket of Buttler (26 off 17) as the England skipper nicked behind.

England were now in real peril of letting the game and tournament slip through their fingers, though an important third-wicket stand took them to 84-4 before Brook fell for 20 from 23 deliveries, Afridi taking the catch off Shadab Khan's bowling.

Afridi injured himself in his role in that dismissal, and though he tried to return, he could only bowl one ball of his third over before being forced off the field.

Stokes and Moeen Ali took full advantage, nailing boundaries as they closed in on the target, with Moeen hitting three fours in the 17th over to take England within 12 of victory.

He was removed in the 19th over by Mohammad Wasim, but Stokes and Liam Livingstone finished the job, with Stokes hitting the winning run to end on 52 off 49 deliveries and win the tournament for his nation.

Curran shines in brightest moment

In the biggest game of his young career, Curran's 3-12 and 15 dot balls were key in restricting Pakistan to a score of just 137.

Along with Rashid (2-22), England's bowling attack set their star batting order up to go and win the game, which they just about managed.

Stokes comes up trumps again

Stokes, one of England's main men over recent years, came up huge for his country yet again with a vital innings to help them to victory.

Coming in with England 32-2 after 3.3 overs, Stokes' first ever T20I half-century came at the perfect time to add another historic performance to his already impressive resume.

Jos Buttler and England will not allow noise around the weather to be a distraction ahead of the T20 World Cup final with Pakistan.

Buttler and Alex Hales combined to steer England to a 10-wicket win in their semi-final against India, the two openers' stand of 170 the highest for any wicket in the competition.

That set up an intriguing final with a Pakistan team that beat New Zealand by seven wickets to qualify for the showpiece at the MGC.

But a forecast of inclement weather could significantly dampen the spectacle. Sunday could be washed out and there is rain forecast for Monday's reserve day, meaning the trophy could be shared.

That would be an unsatisfying end for both sides, and Buttler believes his side can draw on the experience of the Super Over win against New Zealand in the 2019 50-over Cricket World Cup final to help them manage a potentially chaotic couple of days.

"I think any experiences that you can draw on now, good or bad, you will have learned from those and reflect on those to be in situations of adversity or a bit of chaos, you know, those are all things that can happen," Buttler said. 

"And then the World Cup final there's a good chance of things like that happening. So the more experience you've got of being able to understand those feelings and how to react to them. I definitely see that as a benefit. 

"I think whether it's that World Cup final or whether it's different finals in franchise cricket or and any of the experiences that we have as a group that we will draw on will be a benefit.

"Certainly, I think, the weather is something we cannot control and whatever does happen, we must be ready to go in whatever sort of sense that is.

"Obviously, we will, fingers crossed, we will just get a normal game of T20 cricket and that won't be affected. So but I don't want us to waste energy today and tomorrow morning thinking about the weather."

Pakistan looked anything but potential finalists after a thrilling opening loss to India was followed by a stunning defeat to Zimbabwe.

But they found form thereafter and will pose significant danger to England as Babar Azam's side look to win this trophy for the first time since prevailing in England in 2009.

"Of course we lost our first two matches, but the way our team has come back the last four matches, they have performed very well," Babar said.

"We are playing good cricket in the last four matches and we will try and continue that momentum in the final."
 

FAMILIAR FOES

Having played a seven-game T20I series before this tournament, England and Pakistan are very familiar with each other.

England edged that series 4-3 and have won six of the last nine meetings in this format. Additionally, England have won both of their previous T20 World Cup matches with Pakistan, though those were back in 2009 and 2010.

"We've played against them a lot recently, but of course, in very different conditions. It's going to be a different game to the series in Pakistan so we know that we're up against an excellent team," said Buttler. 

"We expect a really tough challenge. As I mentioned before, they're a team we've seen lots of in in the recent past and we've had some brilliant matches against them, played in a fantastic spirit and I'm sure tomorrow will be no different."

MELBOURNE MISERY

Neither Pakistan nor England have won a men’s T20I fixture at the MCG. Pakistan have lost their two previous games at the venue while England have lost all four of their completed games at the famous ground.

Rain could mean neither team gets to end that streak, but the victors - whether the trophy is shared or not - will join West Indies as the only teams to have won this tournament twice.

The T20 World Cup could be shared between Pakistan and England if weather forecasts are to be believed.

The final of the tournament is scheduled to take place at the MCG on Sunday after Pakistan beat New Zealand and England overcame India in the semi-finals.

However, according to the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia, there is a 95 per cent chance of rain in Melbourne on Sunday, with predicted rainfall of up to 25mm and chances of thunderstorms.

Should no play be possible on Sunday, the final could take place on Monday, though that forecast is not much better with rain again deemed likely.

At least 10 overs per team are required to complete a final – up from five overs in the group stage – the failure of which would see the strange occurrence of Pakistan and England being crowned joint champions.

In what has been an otherwise exciting tournament, it would be the fourth match lost to rain at the iconic MCG, which saw three matches washed out by the weather in the group stage, including England's clash with hosts Australia.

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