T20 World Cup: Will England Deny Pakistan A Fairytale Finish?

MELBOURNE- A confident England will look to deny Pakistan a fairytale finish in Sunday’s Twenty20 World Cup final and become the first nation to hold both global white-ball trophies – if Melbourne’s fickle weather permits.

Heavy rain could disrupt the Melbourne Cricket Ground showdown and even see the teams crowned joint champions if unable to complete a match of at least 10 overs per side by the end of the reserve day on Monday.

However, conditions should hold up long enough to deliver a contest between the two nations who played for the 50-overs World Cup 30 years ago at the MCG.

After shaky starts both hit top gear in the semi-finals, with Pakistan easing to a seven-wicket win over New Zealand in Sydney and England humiliating India by 10 wickets in Adelaide.

Pakistan, the 2009 champions, have had a charmed tournament since pushed to the brink of elimination by Zimbabwe, with the Netherlands helping them into the semi-finals by eliminating South Africa.

Thirty years after Imran Khan’s Pakistan claimed the 1992 World Cup, Babar Azam’s team may feel it is their destiny to deliver trophy.

“Of course the similarities are (there),” Babar told reporters of the 1992 final.

“But we will try to win the trophy as it is an honour for me to lead this team, especially in this big ground.”

England, the reigning 50-overs world champions, are looking to win a second global T20 title after their 2010 triumph and to build on the legacy of former captain Eoin Morgan, who transformed the team into a white-ball juggernaut.

New skipper Jos Buttler had big shoes to fill following Morgan’s retirement but has led from the front with rehabilitated opener Alex Hales.

Opening partnerships were decisive in the semi-finals, with Buttler and Hales routing India with a 170-run stand the night after Babar and Mohammad Rizwan set up victory over New Zealand with a 105-run stand.

Both teams’ bowlers will be under pressure to strike early, lest the game quickly get away from them.

“Utilising the powerplay to grab as many wickets will be essential for the match,” said Babar.

There are few secrets between the teams, with Pakistan edged 4-3 by England in a T20 series at home.

They also played a rain-affected World Cup warm-up in Brisbane, which England won by six wickets.

Babar Asks Pakistan Fans To ‘Keep Praying’ For Victory

Pakistan captain Babar Azam has urged his players to believe in themselves and told fans to keep praying for the delivery of their second T20 World Cup title on Sunday.

After losing their first two Super 12 matches, the 2009 champions have rebounded superbly and bring momentum into Sunday’s final against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. “I’m more excited than nervous since we’ve performed well in our last three matches,” Babar told reporters at the MCG on Saturday.

“It is no doubt that pressure exists but it can only be suppressed with confidence and belief in ourselves. And for good results it is impertinent that one must do so. “The Pakistan nation has always been our backbone. They uphold us through their enthusiasm. I would again request them to support us and keep praying.”

“When the chairman came and shared his experience of the World Cup, it put a massive boost in our confidence,” said Babar. A settled Pakistan are unlikely to make any changes to their team for the final, and Babar said they would not stray from the trusted game-plan.

“Our strategy is to stick to our plan and using our pace attack as our strength to win the final,” he added. “Utilising the powerplay to grab as many wickets will be essential for the match.”

Buttler Wants To Win To Inspire England’s Football Team

England’s Jos Buttler would be a proud skipper if his men can win the T20 World Cup final against Pakistan on Sunday and inspire their footballing counterparts to pull off an encore in Doha next month.

Buttler, a champion batter, has led his team to the summit clash in his maiden global meet as England skipper.

Asked if the football team can take a leaf out of the cricket team, the soft-spoken skipper said: “Yeah, I certainly hope so.”

“Sport is such a huge part of English culture, and getting behind teams in World Cups is certainly something I know happens a lot in England. Even though we’re on the other side of the world, you can certainly feel that support,” Buttler said on the eve of the final against Pakistan.

“The images you see of the Euros, obviously, nothing will compete with football in our country. Of course, the game is going to be on free-to-air television, which is fantastic, will bring new eyes to the game,” said the skipper-keeper.

Just like a shrewd captain, Buttler was effusive in his praise for the Pakistani pacers, calling them potential future greats.

“Obviously, Pakistan is a fantastic team. I think they have a very long history of producing excellent fast bowlers. I’m sure by the end of their careers, some of the guys who we’ll play against will go down as some of the best bowlers Pakistan have produced. That’s a huge part of why they get to a World Cup final.”

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