Ben Stokes plays down heroics after guiding England to T20 World Cup glory

Ben Stokes played down his own heroics after guiding England to victory in the Men’s T20 World Cup final on Sunday.

The all-rounder hit a superb unbeaten 52 as England overcame Pakistan by five wickets at the in front of a 80,462 crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

It was yet another stunning display from Stokes on the biggest stage after his brilliance in the 2019 50-over World Cup final but he preferred to focus on the side’s bowling performance.

England celebrate winning the T20 World Cup
England beat Pakistan by five wickets to lift the trophy in Melbourne (PA Wire)

Stokes said on Sky Sports: “I thought the way we bowled – Adil Rashid, Sam Curran – that’s what won us the game. To restrict them to what we did, the bowlers have got to take a lot of credit.”

England limited Pakistan to 137 for eight in their 20 overs with Curran taking three for 12 and Rashid two for 22.

It completed a fine turnaround from England having been in danger of missing out on a semi-final place following defeat by Ireland earlier in the tournament.

Stokes said: “That was a little blip on the way but the best teams take it on the chin and don’t let it affect them. They let it go and move on to the next challenge. In tournaments you can’t carry baggage with you.

“I feel we have lived up to all the challenges we’ve had thrown at us throughout this tournament. It’s a pretty good evening.”

Sam Curran
Sam Curran shone throughout the tournament (PA Wire)

Curran was named player of the match and player of the tournament.

The 24-year-old Surrey all-rounder, who took 13 wickets in England’s campaign, said: “I’m a little bit lost for words. It has been a great tournament for us, amazing. We’re going to enjoy this, my first time in a World Cup and we’ve won.”

Curran returned the compliment to Stokes.

He said: “It’s incredible special. He’s someone I’ve always looked up to. He always turns up when the team needs him to. There’s not question, he’s unbelievable. He’s the man!”

Former England captain Eoin Morgan also hailed Stokes’ enduring quality.

Morgan led the side to glory in 2019 with Stokes a key part of his set-up.

Morgan said: “Ben is just such a special player. In big games he continues to stand up for his country when his country needs him. That is such an incredible skill to have.

“When something has the potential to go awry, Ben is the guy that thinks coolly and calmly under pressure and makes brilliant decisions. He’s done it so many times now.”

Reflecting on Curran’s performance, Morgan said: “It’s extraordinary. He has really stood up and bowled with a huge amount of skill and clarity.

“To produce in a World Cup final is extraordinary from someone that young. When his team needed him, Sam Curran did it today.”

Eoin Morgan
Former England captain was impressed by the performance (Tim Goode/PA)

Morgan stepped down earlier this year, handing over the captaincy to Jos Buttler. He feels they now deserve to be ranked among the great sides.

He said: “This team deserves it. They’ve been through the mill in the group stages and they’ve produced close to their very best against India in the semi-final.

“Jos Buttler said, ‘We don’t want to be known as a team just for our style of play’. We were known like that in 50 overs then won the 50-over World Cup in 2019.

“In T20 they’ve now won something tangible to be regarded as one of the great sides. They were excellent.”