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T20 World Cup final: Preview

England are aiming to become T20 world champions for the second time when they take on Pakistan in what could be a rain-affected World Cup final in Melbourne on Sunday.

Jos Buttler's side are hoping to emulate the class of 2010 and win the competition for a second time, but standing in their way are a determined Pakistan side who are also looking to claim their country's second World T20 crown, having triumphed in the 2009 event.

WhatPakistan v England, World T20 Final
WhereMCG, Melbourne, Australia
When08:00, Sunday, 13th November
How to WatchSky Sports Cricket & Main Event, Channel 4
OddsPakistan 13/10, England 8/13

Sensational semi-final win

After England's stunning 10-wicket victory over India in the semi-final, which was arguably their greatest-ever T20 performance considering the stage and opponents, Buttler's men are 8/13 to come out on top.

Pakistan, who have improved significantly as the tournament has progressed, are 13/10 to win a clash that it's hoped will not be too badly affected by the rain that is forecast in the Melbourne area on Sunday.

However, showers and therefore interruptions are likely and, after organisers added more time to the scheduled hours, the minimum length of the game must be 10 overs per side with Monday also being held in reserve to fulfil the final if necessary.

It's not been a smooth passage for either side to the final with England finishing second in their Super 12s group behind New Zealand after beating Afghanistan, the Black Caps and Sri Lanka, covering for a shock defeat against Ireland, while the Australia match was abandoned.

Pakistan recover from awful start

Pakistan looked to be heading for an early exit after losing their first two games against India and Zimbabwe, but Babar Azam's side have recovered superbly.

Crucial wins over the Netherlands, South Africa and Bangladesh combined with a shock win for the Dutch over South Africa saw them through to the semis, where they then overcame New Zealand by seven wickets.

England's position as pre-match favourites is backed up by their entertaining 4-3 series win in Pakistan just prior to the T20 World Cup, but the Green Shirts will hope to be inspired by a predicted sell-out 90,000-plus crowd at the MCG, in which they are expected to have the vast majority of support.

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Key England duo doubtful

Buttler is still sweating on the fitness of fast bowler Mark Wood and batter Dawid Malan, who both missed the semi-final win with injury, and the duo remain serious doubts even though Wood reportedly enjoyed a good nets session on Saturday.

The skipper revealed Wood and Malan would be given time to prove their fitness to make the final, saying: "It's not too many days since not being fit enough for the semi-final, but we'll give them every chance possible."

If England are to become the first men's white-ball side to hold both World Cup titles simultaneously and follow on from their 50-over triumph in 2019, their brilliant batting line-up are likely to hold the key.

Alex Hales has accrued 211 runs from just five matches and was 86 not out in the semi, while Buttler has managed 199 runs in the tournament so far, with his 80 not out also vital in the last-four victory.

Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes and Liam Livingstone are among the others for England who will be ready to put in big performances with the bat if required.

Afridi heads Pakistan bowling threat

Buttler is wary of Pakistan's feared bowling attack, though, and he admitted in the build-up that "Pakistan are a fantastic team" who he says "have a very long history of producing excellent fast bowlers and I see the team that we're up against as no different".

Left-arm paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi, fellow fast bowler Haris Rauf and leg-spinner Shadab Khan are among their chief threats with the ball, with Afridi and Khan both picking up 10 wickets in the competition so far, while Rauf has six to his name.

Afridi seems good vale at 10/3 to be Pakistan's top team bowler, while Buttler is 3/1 to be England's top-scoring batter as the skipper hopes to lead by example and fulfil what he says would be an "incredibly special" achievement of lifting the trophy for his country.

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