England will attempt to win their second T20 World Cup title – and only their third global International Cricket Council event – when they take on Pakistan in Sunday’s final.
A slice of history awaits if England were to emerge victorious as they would become the first team to hold the ODI and T20 World Cups simultaneously.
Here, the PA news agency looks at the main topics of discussion.
Will England turn to Wood and Malan?
— David Charlesworth (@charlie_4444) November 12, 2022
Injuries to Mark Wood’s right hip and Dawid Malan’s left groin saw the pair sidelined against India and, while a big blow for both, they were hardly missed as England seized a 10-wicket win. Head coach Matthew Mott said on Friday “everything would have to go right for them to be available at the moment” but Wood bowled what looked close to full tilt in the nets on Saturday while Malan had an extended batting session. Whether their outings at practice are enough to convince England of their fitness remains to be seen but they are no longer the major doubts they were at the start of the weekend. If they do come back in then it will probably be Chris Jordan and Phil Salt who drop out again.
Pakistan go for 1992 repeat
— ICC (@ICC) October 5, 2021
There are eerie parallels between the Pakistan side that memorably won the 1992 50-over World Cup and the campaign they have had here: early setbacks, three wins in a row to squeak into the knockout rounds and beating New Zealand in the semi-final to set up an MCG showdown against England. Pakistan will have their fingers crossed history repeats itself as they defeated Graham Gooch’s England 30 years ago. Ramiz Raja, the Pakistan Cricket Board chair, opened the batting on that day and regaled the contemporary side about that famous 22-run win earlier this week in an effort to inspire them.
Will the weather intervene?
Several forecasts paint a bleak picture. The tournament’s previous visits to Melbourne have been soggy affairs, with three washouts and a rain-affected England-Ireland finale in six group stages matches. There is a reserve day on Monday but that could also be impacted by the weather, with the ICC changing its tournament rules as two hours have been added to allow play to continue into the evening in a bid to get at least 10 overs per side completed. If that cannot happen on either day then the underwhelming result would be the teams would share the trophy, bringing an ill-fitting end to the tournament.
England’s last dance?
In England’s 15-strong squad, only Phil Salt, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran and Harry Brook are aged under 30. Moeen Ali and Malan are 35, Jordan and Adil Rashid are a year younger although Jos Buttler was adamant there remains plenty of life in the older dogs yet. The 32-year-old England captain said: “In the professional age you can generally play a little bit longer if you look after yourself and of course there’s always plenty to play for.” With the 50-over World Cup in India next year, England will probably not look at regeneration until after then given how they have performed here.
Beware Pakistan’s pace attack
Buttler and Alex Hales lit up the Adelaide Oval with their belligerent batting in England’s thrashing of India on Thursday. The MCG pitch, used in India’s win over Zimbabwe, has shorter straight and longer square boundaries in contrast to the ground they were presented with in the semi-final. Pakistan’s bowling attack has been the most formidable at this tournament with a fantastic economy rate – quicks Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Mohammad Wasim and leg-spinner Shadab Khan have been going at less than 6.7 an over. If England are to win then disrupting this quartet likely offers their best hope.