Just under a month ago, at the start of the T20 World Cup in Australia, not many people would have put money on a Pakistan-England cricket final.
It’s not so much that they didn’t think these two teams were good enough – they’ve both won the tournament once before – or that they don’t have superstars, but rather because there were other, more notable, teams favoured.
India, New Zealand and Australia were all favoured ahead of tomorrow’s finalists. Both finalists didn’t even top their respective groups. But convincing victories in the semifinals this week – Pakistan by seven wickets over New Zealand in Sydney and England over India by a whopping 10 wickets in Adelaide – catapulted them into the final.
When England unexpectedly lost to unfancied Ireland earlier in the competition, not many would have given Jos Buttler’s team any hope of going the whole way.
For Pakistan, losses to India and Zimbabwe all but ruled them out of the competition, but a massive upset by the Dutch over South Africa opened the door for them, before they secured a final group stage win over Bangladesh just days after thumping South Africa. Rain aside, the tournament has been a huge success. It’s shown that the underdogs can beat the favourites on any given day.
There’s been plenty of sixes and wickets, big crowds and outrageous talent on show. Thirty years ago, Pakistan beat England in the 50-overs final to lift the World Cup trophy at the same ground.
Will history repeat itself tomorrow?