BEN STOKES was at the centre of the drama once more as England enjoyed Twenty20 World Cup glory in Melbourne this morning.

 All-rounder Stokes rode his luck and scored 52 not out as England went past their target of 138 against Pakistan with six balls to spare.

England's jubilant stars go crazy as they are crowned world champions

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England’s jubilant stars go crazy as they are crowned world championsCredit: Getty
Captain Jos Buttler gets a soaking as he clutches the T20 trophy

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Captain Jos Buttler gets a soaking as he clutches the T20 trophyCredit: Getty
Ben Stokes held his nerve to fire England to victory

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Ben Stokes held his nerve to fire England to victoryCredit: Getty
Jos Buttler went for 26 in 17 balls to set up a nervy run chase

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Jos Buttler went for 26 in 17 balls to set up a nervy run chaseCredit: Getty
England win the T20 World Cup for the first time in 12 years

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England win the T20 World Cup for the first time in 12 yearsCredit: Getty
Shaheen Afridi sensationally took the wicket of Alex Hales for just one run but it was not enough

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Shaheen Afridi sensationally took the wicket of Alex Hales for just one run but it was not enoughCredit: Getty

It means England are the first country to hold the 20-over and 50-over World Cups at the same time.

Stokes inspired England to their Super Over win over New Zealand at Lord’s in 2019 and he kept his cool during the highly-charged atmosphere in Melbourne.

He scored 42 not out in England’s must-win victory over Sri Lanka in their final match of the Super 12s.

Amazingly, his innings in the final was his first half-century in T20 international cricket.

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Stokes might have been run out once and went close to being caught a couple of times. And he capitalised when Pakistan’s best bowler, Shaheen Shah Afridi, limped off after bowling the first ball of his third over.

The Test captain’s ability to keep his nerve while many around him lose theirs has become legendary. He is normally the ultimate big-match player.

One occasion when it went wrong for Stokes was the 2016 T20 World Cup final, when he was pummelled for four consecutive sixes in the final over by Carlos Brathwaite of West Indies. So this was some sort of redemption.

Stokes said: “The way we bowled is what won us the game. It was a tricky pitch, you never felt properly in, and to restrict them to 137 gives a lot of credit to the bowlers.

“We lost to Ireland early in the tournament but the best teams learn from their mistakes but never let it affect them.

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“Representing your country in World Cups is amazing and this has been a good one.”

England’s players were wearing black armbands in honour of David English, an ebullient cricket character whose Bunbury schools festival gave opportunities to several of Jos Buttler’s team, who died over the weekend, aged 76.

The early overs were nervous and scrappy – Stokes started with England’s first no-ball of the tournament – but Pakistan were going okay when they reached 84-2 after eleven overs.

But then wrist-spinner Adil Rashid produced a wicket maiden.

He held a return catch from the first delivery when Pakistan captain Babar Azam got into a tangle against a googly and then bowled five dot balls to Iftikhar.

That was the big turning point and, although Shan Masood and Shadab Khan put on 36 useful runs for the fifth wicket, another cluster of dismissals dragged back Pakistan’s scoring.

Rashid finished with 2-22 – which, amazingly, doubled his wicket tally in the tournament – and man of the match Sam Curran returned 3-12 in his four overs.

It took the Surrey left-armer’s figures in the World Cup to 13 wickets for 148 at an economy rate of 6.52 per over. They are hugely impressive figures.

Pakistan’s total of 137-8 looked around 20 too few even though the pitch in Melbourne was tricky. But Pakistan are famously mercurial and have the best bowling attack in the competition.

Alex Hales departed early and, although Jos Buttler got away some boundaries including a ramp shot for six, his 26 from 17 balls before being caught behind was not decisive.

Phil Salt made ten and Harry Brook 20. But Afridi hurt his knee catching Brook at long-off. He left the field and returned but was able to bowl just one more delivery before limping off.

Spinner Iftikhar Ahmed was forced to complete Afridi’s over – and Stokes struck him for four and six.

Then Moeen Ali hit the first two balls of the next over to the boundary and that was pretty much that even though Moeen was bowled before the winning moment.

Sam Curran with his man of the match award

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Sam Curran with his man of the match awardCredit: AFP
Ben Stokes was the hero once again for England

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Ben Stokes was the hero once again for EnglandCredit: Getty


https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/20411758/england-t20-world-cup-final-pakistan-stokes/