England have been set 138 to win a second T20 World Cup crown as Sam Curran took three wickets against Pakistan in Sunday’s final at the MCG.
The forecast rain stayed away for the entirety of Pakistan’s 137 for eight after they batted first on a surface, last used seven days ago, that offered assistance for seamers and spinners alike.
Pakistan’s total is 31 fewer than India managed against England, which Jos Buttler and Alex Hales easily chased down with four overs to spare, but at the halfway stage this seems a much trickier pitch.
Pakistan’s bowlers have been among the most economical of the tournament but will have to be at their best to stop England becoming the first male side to unify the ODI and T20 World Cup trophies.
Curran took his tally of wickets for the tournament to 13, making the breakthrough when Mohammad Rizwan inside edged on to his stumps while he also snared Shan Masood, who top-scored with 38 from 28 balls.
Masood flicked Curran to deep midwicket while Mohammad Nawaz did likewise as Curran finished with terrific figures of 4-0-12-3 in this rematch of the 1992 50-over World Cup final, which Pakistan won.
Chris Jordan, who retained his place as England decided against risking Mark Wood, collected two for 27 while there was also a wicket for Ben Stokes, who bowled his four-over allotment and claimed 4-0-32-1.
Liam Livingstone’s sole over went for 16, with England not at their brilliant best in the field in front of a rapt attendance largely made up of Pakistan fans.
But England, who first won this tournament in 2010, still allowed only 53 off the last nine overs – less than a run a ball – with Pakistan never really able to hit top gear.