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T20 World Cup: Tournament review

England came out on top to be crowned T20 World Cup winners in Melbourne, beating Pakistan by five wickets in a tense, low-scoring affair.

In doing so, the Three Lions became the first men's team to hold both the T20 and 50-over World Cups at the same time, having fought back strongly from a shock defeat to Ireland during the Super 12s.

Beaten finalists Pakistan also recovered superbly from losses in their opening two Super 12s games to make it all the way to the final, before being denied a repeat of their 1992 50-over World Cup heroics.

So, what were the key areas where the tournament was won and lost?

Leg-spin remains a key weapon

When Twenty20 cricket entered the world in 2003, many pundits predicted that spin bowling would become something of a lost art.

However, the exact opposite has come to pass, with leg-spinners becoming key figures for any side hoping to enjoy success in the shortest form of the game.

England have had Adil Rashid as something of a constant with the white ball for a number of years, and while he struggled for wickets in this tournament, his influence remained crucial.

When the pressure was on, Rashid conceded just 16 from four overs in the win over Sri Lanka, before going for just 20 in the semi-final crushing of India.

He finally got some rewards in the final as he picked up 2-22, taking much of the momentum away from Pakistan during the middle overs.

The beaten finalists had a leg-spinner of their own who enjoyed a fine tournament, with Shadab Khan taking 11 wickets at exactly 15 and an economy rate of 6.34.

Sri Lankan ace Wanindu Hasaranga was the leading wicket-taker across the whole of the competition, ending up with 15 wickets to his name.

Top-order strength an absolute must

Batting depth is often mentioned as a major benefit for teams hoping to succeed, but in truth power towards the top of the order is more important.

During the Super 12s stage and beyond the narrowest margin of victory when chasing was the four-wicket wins for India and England, meaning that a strong tail has little or no meaning in this format of the game.

England openers Jos Buttler and Alex Hales both contributed in excess of 200 runs to the cause, while Pakistan pair Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan may have misfired at times but came to the party when it mattered in the semi-final victory against New Zealand.

India powered through to the last four on the back of a tournament-leading 296 runs from Virat Kohli - coming in at number three - only to run in to the Buttler-Hales combination in prime form during a stunning ten-wicket win in Adelaide.

In contrast, both hosts Australia and South Africa struggled for runs at the top of the order and missed out on the knockout stages as a consequence.

Proteas unable to shake chokers tag

South Africa went into the tournament fancied by some to finally shake the monkey of not having won a major international tournament off their back.

However, it was to be the same miserable story for the Proteas in the end, as a 13-run defeat to the Netherlands in Adelaide saw them miss out on a semi-final spot and allow Pakistan to progress alongside India from Group 2.

How do South Africa avoid a repeat of this failure? That is a question that has been asked a number of times, with six semi-final losses in six appearances at the 20-over and 50-over World Cups an unwanted record.

West Indies worryingly weak

South Africa may have issues that they need to address, but the West Indies appear to be in a massively worrying state of decline.

The loss of a number of quality performers to franchise T20 cricket around the globe has seen the Windies become a pale shadow of their former selves.

Champions in the shortest form in both 2016 and 2012, they also reached the semi-finals in both 2014 and 2009.

However, this time around they fell at the initial group stage, finishing bottom of the pile in Group B following a defeat to Scotland and a nine-wicket humbling at the hands of Ireland.

The Irish would go on to prove that mixing it with the big boys is more than possible as they defeated England in the Super 12s, while Afghanistan came within a handful of runs of downing hosts Australia.

The Dutch dumping South Africa out of the competition also showed what is possible, while Zimbabwe also deserve a mention for their thrilling one-run victory over eventual runners-up Pakistan in Perth.

Where next for the West Indies is a huge question and most cricket lovers would love to see the former powerhouses of the game start to drive back towards the top of the sport.

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