The shock loss to Ireland did hurt but the players moved on quickly from that ‘little blip’ to focus on the road ahead, said star England all-rounder Ben Stokes after scoring a match-winning 52 in the T20 World Cup final against Pakistan here on Sunday.
Stokes showed his big match prowess once again with a gritty fifty under extreme pressure to help England to their second T20 World Cup title.
He looked back on the team’s memorable campaign.
“With that (defeat to Ireland) being so early in the competition we obviously had to address it, say what had to be said and then let it go,” Stokes, who was also instrumental in England’s 2019 World Cup triumph, said after the five-wicket win.
“In tournaments like these you can’t carry baggage with you, that was a little blip on the way, credit to Ireland for turning up and beating us, but the best teams learn from their mistakes and not let it affect them,” said Stokes.
England skipper Jos Buttler, who was made white-ball captain earlier this year, was all praise for his team which has set the benchmark in limited over cricket.
“To win the T20 World Cup now, immensely proud of everyone here. It has been a long journey and few changes but we are reaping the rewards of how we have played in the last few years.
“It’s been a fantastic tournament. We went to Pakistan before coming here, which was a valuable time for the group and this felt a long way after the Ireland match but the character we showed from thereon in must-win games is amazing. “He (coach Matty Motts) has fitted in really well. We have got a few Australians in the coaching staff with us in this tournament and he has led the coaching staff really well, gives the players great freedom.” Sam Curran became the first specialist bowler to win the Player of the tournament award for taking 13 wickets in six matches.
Besides Curran, Buttler also lauded leggie Adil Rashid, who delivered with wickets in the middle overs throughout the tournament including in the final.
“Huge swing in the game, that was a fantastic over from Adil. He has been outstanding for us in the last three games, just the guy who makes things happen and his performance was outstanding,” the England skipper said.
“And that man again, Ben Stokes is there at the end. He is the ultimate competitor in anything he does and has the experience to bank on as well. He timed it perfectly, the impetus that he and Moeen Ali had just took it away from Pakistan.” It was a rollercoaster campaign for Pakistan who made a dramatic comeback after losing their first two games to India and Zimbabwe. The Netherlands helped them immensely by winning their final league game to knock South Africa out of the World Cup.
“Congratulations to England, they deserve to be champions and fought well. We felt like home here, got great support at every venue. Yes, we lost the first two games but how we came in the last four games was incredible.
“I just told the boys to play our natural game, but we fell 20 runs short and the boys fought well with the ball. Our bowling is one of the best attacks in the world. Unfortunately Shaheen’s injury put us off, but that’s part of the game,” said Babar Azam in praise of his pace attack.