World awaits intriguing Eng-Pak final

Nevertheless, England batsmen face the fiercest bowlers that Pakistan boast about in world cricket. This was also well endorsed by Captain Buttler himself ahead of the title clash.

Melbourne: The blaze for the title clash is smoldering as the fans around the world are getting ready to witness an exemplary hustle between Pakistan’s exceptional bowling attack and England’s devastating top-order batsmanship at the iconic MCG here on Sunday.

England gave a real hammering with Alex Hales and Jos Butler, crushing India down at the half mark itself in the second semifinal match on Thursday.

And in the first powerplay, the opening duo made themselves count among the best in the tournament with an impressive average of 52 runs for the loss of one wicket.

In the semifinals, the pair sketched up the highest opening wicket partnership in the Men’s T20 World Cup history and the highest for any wicket. They could achieve this feat as they have the liberty of players capable of wielding the willow right down to No. 11.

Nevertheless, England batsmen face the fiercest bowlers that Pakistan boast about in world cricket. This was also well endorsed by Captain Buttler himself ahead of the title clash.

Pacers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah are capable of dominating the openers in the first powerplay, besides a pack of spinners Shadab Khan and Mohammed Nawaz, have the ability to dry runs up in the middle overs and specialists Mohammad Wasim Junior and Haris Rauf can choke the batsmen in death overs.

In fact, their economy rate of 6.74 has been the best among all teams in this World Cup and have picked up two wickets for just 37 runs on an average.

Pakistan Captain Babar Azam would look to utilise the powerplay to rattle England by picking as many wickets as possible and build momentum thereafter to ensure better performance.

Babar would expect Shaheen to remove either Hales or Buttler to set the tone to cross over the final hurdle as he did when he sent back Finn Allen packing in Sydney against New Zealand in the last four-battles.

The Blacks Caps never recovered from this early jolt, resulting in Devon Conway losing his wicket on the last ball of the powerplay, who was brilliantly run-out by Shadab.

Shaheen ended with figures of 2/24, which also included the prize wicket of Captain Kane Williamson, which prompted cricket experts lauding him for his efforts.

Pakistan’s comeback trail was scripted by their strong new-ball bowlers. Before the semifinal, Pakistan’s best performance arguably came in their win over South Africa as Shaheen bagged Quinton de Kock for a duck and Rilee Rossouw for just seven, stifling a Proteas chase.

Meanwhile Pakistan’s batting lineup also came to the party whenever Babar and Mohammad Rizwan failed to give the initial push. Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab and Shan Masood have chipped in with crucial knocks at some point in the tournament. Even the 22-year-old Haris has added a new dimension to Pakistan’s batting lineup with his attacking approach.

England’s bowling attack has stepped up to compliment their chain of batting arsenal. Sam Curran has been superb with the ball, whereas Mark Wood has made the cut with his pace.

Adil Rashid, though hasn’t been among the wickets, he has done just enough for England, operating at a mean economy rate of 6.25 in this tournament.

Even their fifth and sixth bowling options have stepped up, with Ben Stokes claiming five wickets at 15.80 runs apiece and Liam Livingstone picking up three wickets while operating at 7.27 runs per over.

All said and done, both sides’ strengths will be their nemesis if they fail tomorrow. If England fails to bat Pakistan out, then they go down, and if Pakistan’s bowling goes phut, then they eat dust. Whichever way this goes, it’s going to be a riveting contest to watch.

Predicted Playing XI


Jos Buttler (c & wk), Alex Hales, Philip Salt/Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan/Mark Wood, Adil Rashid


Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Haris, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi

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