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T20 World Cup: Four players who could define the final

Pakistan and England meet in the T20 World Cup final in Melbourne on Sunday, with both sides packed with potential matchwinners.

The opening partnerships of both sides excelled as New Zealand and India were sent packing in the semi-finals and how those four batters perform at the MCG could well be crucial to the final outcome.

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan had struggled for runs during the group stage, but contributed 57 and 53 respectively as the Black Caps were seen off by seven wickets.

Jos Buttler and Alex Hales then made an even bigger impact, taking England to 170 without loss as India were destroyed by ten wickets, with skipper Buttler unbeaten on 80 and Hales ending up 86 not out.

However, there are also plenty of quality performers with the ball among the ranks of both finalists and we take a look at who might make the difference with both bat and ball at the MCG.

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

Batters

Pakistan - Babar Azam (player of the match - 8/1)

Classy right-hander Babar has excelled for Pakistan across all three formats of the game in the last few years, however, he was coming under pressure to perform after struggling during the group stage in Australia.

Having made 0, 4, 4, 6 and 25, the 28-year-old was back at his elegant best in the semi-final, making 53 from 42 balls as he and Mohammad Rizwan put on 105 to set up a successful chase of 153 with five balls to spare against New Zealand.

Prior to the tournament getting under way, Babar had been in superb touch, especially in the seven-match series against the opponents on Sunday.

He made 110 not out as hosts Pakistan made 203 without loss to win the second match of seven and also contributed an unbeaten 87 in a losing cause in the sixth clash between the two sides.

Overall, Babar has played 15 T20 internationals against England and has made 560 runs at an average of 50.90 in that time, so his threat to the Three Lions bowling attack is very well established.

England - Alex Hales (player of the match - 7/1)

Opening batter Hales has emerged from the international wilderness to show exactly what he can bring to the table in the shortest form of the game.

Having seemingly been frozen out for good, the elevation of Buttler to the captaincy saw Hales return to the fold and he has made the most of a possibly unexpected opportunity to shine.

The powerful right-hander started off slowly with scores of 4, 0, 19 and 7, before sparking into life with 52 and 47 respectively in crucial victories over New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

He then moved up another gear by smacking 86 not out in the semi-final trouncing of India in Adelaide, hitting seven sixes from the 47 deliveries he faced.

Should he clear the ropes twice more in the final, he would become the leading six-hitter in the entire tournament, including the initial group phase, in which England did not feature.

The only cautionary note is that he has made just one half-century in nine previous T20 innings against Pakistan, averaging just 20.66.

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Bowlers

Pakistan - Shaheen Shah Afridi (player of the match - 9/1)

Still only 22, left-arm paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi is a massive danger with the new ball, extracting swing both ways to bother even the best of opening batters.

He has taken nine wickets in his last three matches, including taking 4-22 in the vital group stage win over Bangladesh.

Afridi also claimed 3-14 against South Africa, including the key early wickets of Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw

Against New Zealand he got rid of the explosive Finn Allen when he had made just four and Pakistan will be aware that trying to get rid of Hales and Buttler as early as possible will probably be key to their chances of taking the trophy.

England - Adil Rashid (player of the match - 16/1

England will be desperately hoping that pace ace Mark Wood is fit again to feature on Sunday, having missed the semi-final crushing of India due to what was reported as "general body stiffness".

Should Wood be ruled out, however, Chris Jordan showed against India that he is a more than useful replacement, but an added burden is sure to fall on veteran leg-spinner Adil Rashid's shoulders.

Wickets have proved hard to come by for Rashid so far in the tournament, but he still offers a great deal of control in the middle overs which has been key to several victories.

Against Sri Lanka he took 1-16 from his four overs and followed that up with 1-20 against India, putting the brakes on when needed on both occasions.

He may not have taken more than a single wicket in any of his last 11 T20 outings, but he remains a crucial part of the England bowling unit.

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