Brilliant Curran, gutsy Rashid restrict Pakistan to 137/8

PTI, Nov 13, 2022, 4:02 PM IST

Melbourne: England left-arm pacer Sam Curran and leg-spinner Adil Rashid put relentless pressure on the Pakistan batting line-up to restrict the opposition to a below-par 137 for eight in the T20 World Cup final here on Sunday.

Curran, who made comeback from an injury earlier this year, has been England’s ‘go-to’ bowler in the competition and he proved that on the big stage with brilliant figures of 4-0-12-3.

The wily Rashid (4-1-22-2) wasn’t going to be left far behind as he choked the run-flow in the middle overs with as many as 25 dot balls between him and Curran.

Rashid, with his stupendous effort, time and again showed how the Indian team management bungled its script by letting Yuzvendra Chahal cool his heels throughout the tournament.

The MCG track had enough bounce and pace but Buttler’s best-performing bowling duo (Curran and Rashid) did exactly the opposite – take the pace off their deliveries.

Rashid flighted and lowered his pace to 75 kmph while Curran bowled between 126 kmph to 130 kmph which made run scoring difficult for the Pakistani batters.

Both Babar Azam (32 off 28 balls) and Mohammed Rizwan (15 off 14) started on a cautious note as they had been doing for the past one year.

Curran, England’s most consistent bowler in the tournament, angled one across at fuller length and Rizwan didn’t have enough width to drive as he dragged that back to the stumps.

Mohammed Haris (8 off 12), the find of the tournament for Pakistan, generally struggled before Rashid ended his misery.

He flighted one and enticed Haris to charge down the track but he was too close to the pitch of the delivery and was holed out at long-on.

Babar hit a couple of boundaries but as it has been for him generally, it was more of a struggle to keep the scoreboard alive.

In fact, Shan Masood (38 off 28), who takes time before taking the attack back to the opposition camp, looked more aggressive than his skipper.

At the start of the back-10, when Jos Buttler introduced Liam Livingstone to bowl his off-breaks, Shan got 14 runs with a down-the-ground boundary and a six.

But Babar at the other end was foxed by the guile of Rashid as he shaped to play the cut and found a googly cramping him for room to give a return catch to the English leg-spinner of Pakistani descent.

Iftikhar Ahmed (0) would like to forget the evening as he was kept under tight leash by Rashid and then Stokes bowled one in the channel to get a nick as Pakistan slumped to 85 for 4 in the 13th over.

Shan would definitely curse himself as he built a launchpad for himself and thew it all away as Curran tested his patience with variations of cross-seam deliveries and cutters.

The mistimed pull was easily taken at the mid-wicket boundary and Pakistan cricket’s current darling Shadab Khan (20 off 14 balls) promised a lot but delivered too little.

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