How can I follow the final?
The final is scheduled to kick off at 7pm in Melbourne, 8am GMT, at the MCG. In the UK it will be shown free-to-air on Channel 4 and also on Sky Sports Main Event. Test Match Special on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra will have live commentary, while Rob Smyth will be helming theguardian.com’s unrivalled over-by-over report.
How did they get here?
Pakistan had a miserable start, losing to India in a nailbiter and then to the qualifiers Zimbabwe. That looked to be their tournament over and even three wins from their final three group games would not have been enough if South Africa had not slipped to a stunning defeat to the Netherlands. That opened the door to a semi-final against New Zealand, who were swatted aside thanks to a century opening partnership between Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam.
England had a similarly slow start, losing to Ireland in their second game then seeing a crunch tie with Australia rained off. But impressive wins over New Zealand and Sri Lanka saw them scrape through to the semi-finals on net run rate. Against India, Jos Buttler’s side truly ignited, with the captain and Alex Hales smashing them to an utterly dominant 10-wicket win.
Who are the stars?
Openers Rizwan and Azam, the men’s No 2 and No 4 T20 batters in the world, had a slow start but Rizwan, in particular, has found his form as the tournament has progressed. Mohammad Haris has weighed in with vital middle order runs. With the ball, Shaheen Shah Afridi has a claim to have been the best seamer in the tournament, while Shadab Khan’s parsimonious leg-spin is always a threat.
England’s batting lineup is probably the deepest in the world but the onus is still on the openers Jos Buttler and Alex Hales, who blitzed the India attack in the semi-final. Sam Curran has been exceptional with the ball, both in the power play and the death overs, and Adil Rashid started the tournament slowly but was superb against India.
Has either team won it before?
For both teams this will be their third final. England rather surprisingly won the 2010 edition but were beaten by West Indies in the 2016 final. Likewise, Pakistan were triumphant in 2009 having lost the 2007 final to India. It’s also a repeat of the 1992 50-over World Cup final, also played at the MCG, when Imran Khan led Pakistan to a famous victory over Graham Gooch’s England.
Who will win it this time?
It’s anybody’s guess. Both teams have improved as the tournament has gone on, both have serious firepower in their batting order and some of the world’s best T20 seamers at their disposal. The seven-match T20 series between the sides earlier this year finished 4-3 to England. Buttler’s side are narrow favourites but it really could go either way.
How is the weather looking?
Not good. There’s a 95% chance of rain in Melbourne on Sunday and the chance of severe thunderstorms. There is a reserve day on Monday but the forecast isn’t much better.
And if it’s washed out?
If they can’t squeeze in the minimum five-overs-a-side game at any point then the teams will share the trophy.