The weather for Sunday’s T20 World Cup Final at the MCG was British, but not cricket. The first indication of this was his eighth delivery of the game. This forced Babar Azam towards the turf and ceiling. So Sam his Curran geared up, clumsily tossing his ball and softening the punchline of his little joke. Since when have English players been having fun on the pitch? And her mature and intelligent approach works. England has not only become one of the most aggressive and innovative teams, regardless of format, but they also seem to enjoy their business. This was also evident in Moen his Ali, who approached the crease with his racket slung over his shoulder like a fishing rod as England 84/4 needed 54 from 44.
That doesn’t mean England doesn’t take it seriously. Indeed, Liam Livingston’s threatening throw to the stumps was serious after Shan Masood hit back one off-break across the field in the 11th inning. And he was overjoyed when he used the inside edge of Mohammad Rizwan’s angled racket to spread the stump 21 balls later from Karan’s harmless falsification. But there is an ease in England’s play that other teams would envy. Lack of the old nonsense that international sports act as a kind of surrogate for geopolitics. They enjoy what they do. That’s what happens when you have enough money, professionalism, and system stability to shield you from the severe pressures other players face.
Perhaps that’s why Pakistan batted most innings like he was one of the other green-clad teams (the sad South African team who disappeared against the Netherlands in Adelaide a week ago) helps explain. India defeated England in the semi-final. This geopolitical nonsense has its uses. It may have helped fill the void in the intensity that hit the Pakistani batsman. Their 39/2 power play average was excellent for MCG in this tournament and what Pakistan achieved in other games of the competition. However, it was just outside the 46/2, plus or minus decimal or three, that the team scored against England in the World Cup.
The pitch, which was also used during Pakistan’s heartbreaking defeat to India, was not as easy to hit as it was then, especially against Nat. It was also a better streak than Pakistan’s combined score of 137/8 would suggest, and comfortably lower than his two other finishes in the beginning, as Masood saw him go 39-24 with Babar, 36- The innings was full of momentum only when sharing with Shadab Khan at 25. With Karan and Adil Rashid playing less than one run per ball, scoring 5/34 between them, and Ben Stokes chasing the dangerous but mottled Iftikar Ahmed with a six-ball duck. Pakistan is always struggling and coming up with more competitive scores. He’s the only time in a tournament that he’s fielded this low or less total. Zimbabwe at 130/8, in Perth, proved enough to beat Pakistan by one run after Pakistan suffered a crushing defeat to India. Moeen knocked off Mohammad Wasim for three-forth in the 17th, turning the situation even more in favor of England.
18 he needs 12. Moeen needed a 6 out of 10 as he played Wasim’s Yorker, but it hardly mattered. Stokes saw four through the roof two balls later, going from 47 to 50, then two deliveries to seal a five-wicket victory with singles to mid-wicket and overs to spare. Perhaps the British didn’t expect to be tested after keeping Pakistan on mediocre totals, but they were. Claimed a much more convincing victory than the final against New Zealand. On Sunday they were certainly worthy champions. Even better, they enjoyed proving their superiority. It’s not as important as winning, but it should be.