Cricket

Eng vs Pak T20 WC final


Ben Stokes has hailed a new legacy under Jos Buttler as England added the T20 World Cup to their 50-over title, becoming the first team in men’s cricket history to hold both trophies simultaneously.

Stokes took England over the line with an unbeaten half-century for a five-wicket victory in the final at the MCG after Sam Curran, the Player of the Match and the tournament, took 3 for 12 from his four overs to restrict Pakistan to 137 for 8.

With the now-retired Eoin Morgan – who captained England to victory at Lord’s in 2019 – standing beside him as a commentator, Stokes told Sky Sports that Buttler had put his own stamp on the team.

“When the great man stepped down and Jos took over, you look how quickly he managed to take control of the team and progress it from the legacy that Morgan’s left,” Stokes said. “Jos has now created his own legacy.

“He’s a guy who everyone follows on the field and it shouldn’t be taken for granted how hard it can be making tactical decisions under pressure in this format.”

Adil Rashid’s wicket-maiden, with a brilliant caught-and-bowled to remove Babar Azam in the 12th over of Pakistan’s innings, was also an important turning point as he claimed 2 for 22.

“Adil Rashid, Sam Curran, that’s what won us the game,” Stokes said. “That was a tricky wicket, it was never one that you felt you were ever in on.

“When you chase totals in games like this you so often forget the hard work that’s gone in before. The way that Sam and Rash and all the bowlers bowled to restrict them… I think on that was a huge reason as to why we didn’t feel under too much pressure with the run chase.

“I never felt like it was out of our hands at all and [I was] just trying to make sure I stayed there a long as I possibly could at the end.”

Both Stokes and Buttler pinpointed England’s loss to Ireland in their rain-affected group game as another turning point, in the context of the tournament.

“With that being so early on in the competition we obviously had to address it, say what we said, and then let it go because in tournaments you can’t carry baggage with you,” Stokes said.

“That was a little blip on the way. Credit to Ireland for turning up and beating us 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, move onto the next challenge. I feel as if we’ve lived up to all the challenges that we’ve had thrown at us throughout the tournament.”

Buttler was pleased with his team’s improvement since that match and thrilled with being able to ice the 50-over World Cup triumph with this latest title.

“The Ireland game was really tough for the team to take but we’ve improved, we’ve got better and better, peaked at the right time, and now to be, I think, thoroughly deserved champions,” Buttler said.

“To be able to win the T20 World Cup now as well, just immensely proud of everyone here. It’s been a long journey and a few changes over the last few years about how we played but we are reaping the rewards of that.

“This felt a long way away after the Ireland match here but the character we showed from that point on in must-win games every time has been amazing.”

England were again forced to manage without Mark Wood and Dawid Malan, who both also missed the semi-final through injury, and showed off their depth.

“It certainly wasn’t easy at all and we managed to get away with a decent start, which controlled the run rate,” Buttler said. “We bat deep as well, which gives us a lot of options. And that man again, Ben Stokes, was just there at the end.

“He is the ultimate competitor in anything he does. He has got a hell of a lot of experience to bank on as well.”

Matthew Mott, who took over as England’s white-ball coach in May and has now taken Australia Women and the England men’s team to two World Cups in a year and three in the space of two years, praised Stokes’ performance.

“If there’s one you wanted out there I think it’d be him and I think he copped a bit of flack coming into this tournament about T20, but he’s a match winner in every format and we have complete faith in the way he would go about things and he steadied the ship nicely tonight,” Mott said.

Mott also paid tribute to Morgan, who quit international cricket in June, having struggled for runs during England’s tour of the Netherlands earlier that month.

“I pay credit towards Morgs a bit as well,” Mott added. “That first tour to Holland, we’d caught up before then, he let me know how the group operated and how he thought it could operate going forward.

“He set it up and I knew that he wanted Jos to do well and it was a real seamless transition I think for Jos to be over there, he captained the last game over there. I think that really helped set things up.”

Since then, England failed to win a white-ball series at home before beating Pakistan 4-3 and Australia 2-0 in T20I series before this tournament. Buttler was injured for the Pakistan tour, where Moeen Ali stood in as captain.

“I knew that there’d be some teething problems,” Mott said. “When you lose a strong leader like Morgs who has been around for a long time, it was going to take time to build a team, but I always had faith about great depth in our playing group.

“We had some adaptable players and even when we weren’t winning there, I could see a real love for each other in that group… I always knew that the results would turn around if we we stayed the course and didn’t panic.

“I think he’s learning all the time, like I am as a coach,” Mott added of Buttler. “And learning about our players. He’s just going from strength to strength. He’s learning more about himself and our relationship’s great. Obviously Morgs’s legacy is pretty strong, he set the team up beautifully and I think Jos is putting his own mark on it now as well.”

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo



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