Dawid Malan propelled England to a series-clinching victory in the seventh T20I as Pakistan suffered a crushing 67-run defeat in Lahore.

After England posted 209-3, Pakistan made 142-8, showing dismally little interest in the chase after losing three early wickets. It meant Moeen Ali's tourists won 4-3 in their first series in Pakistan for 17 years.

Malan played a terrific innings as England topped the 10-runs-an-over rate, with the left-hander cracking 78 not out from 47 balls, the sixth time that Malan has scored more than 75 in a T20I. Pakistan were generous in the field, including a let-off for Malan at the start of the penultimate over when Mohammad Wasim dropped a steepler.

With Ben Duckett clubbing 30 from 19 balls and Harry Brook clearing the ropes four times in 46no from 29 balls, it meant Pakistan faced a tall order.

It immediately looked beyond them when captain Babar Azam (4) and fellow opener Mohammad Rizwan (1) fell in the opening eight balls of the reply, and Iftikhar Ahmed (19) did not last long either.

Pakistan were nowhere near the required run rate from the early stages, and their lack of urgency made it a subdued contest, with the result meaning they have now lost five and drawn two of their seven T20I multi-game series against England. Shan Masood top-scored with 56 for the beaten hosts.

Willey joins England elite in passing landmark

Needing two wickets to reach 50 in T20I matches, David Willey (2-22) reached that target by removing Iftikhar and Wasim. It made him the fifth England player to reach 50 T20I wickets, after Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann.

Wasim woe

Wasim went for 0-61 from the four overs he sent down, including giving up 20 runs in the 20th over. Those were his most expensive figures in a T20I, with this his 15th match in the format. The previous most runs he had conceded in a four-over stint came when he took 2-44 against West Indies in Karachi last December.

Phil Salt is "grateful for the backing" he has received after starring for England in their eight-wicket victory over Pakistan.

Having struggled in his previous five innings in England's seven-match T20I series, when managing just 59 runs, Salt hit a blistering 88 not out from 41 deliveries on Friday.

Salt reached a half-century in 19 balls – the third-fastest by an England player in the format – as the tourists levelled up the series at 3-3 in Lahore.

That set up a decider on Sunday, when Salt will have another chance to underline his credentials to retain his spot at the top of the order at the upcoming T20 World Cup.

"I'm very grateful for the backing I've got from my team-mates and the management. It's very clear the way they want me to play," the 26-year-old said.

"The way I play is aggressive and I want to win as many games as possible while I'm in an England shirt. 

"The first few games haven't gone to plan – I've been finding ways to get out, hitting fielders or whatever – but it's nice to come up with a performance like that in a big game.

“It's always a challenge at the top of the order when you feel like you're playing well but you're picking out fielders and finding ways to get out.

"It was definitely [my best T20 innings] and it was nice to do it with the series in the balance."

With Jos Buttler due to return from injury in time for the World Cup, Salt is realistically in competition with Alex Hales over partnering the white-ball skipper.

"You need competition. The best sides in the world have competition and you can't get away from that – it's the same in any sport," Salt added.

"Everyone is trying to put their best foot forwards and show the coaching team and the team-mates how good they are.

"I'm not looking too far into the future; I'm just focused on the next game in a couple of days' time."

Salt's destruction of the Pakistan attack came after home captain Babar Azam had hit an unbeaten 87 to set England a target of 170 for victory.

Babar became the first Pakistan batter to reach 3,000 T20I runs during his half-century, doing so in the absence of the rested Mohammad Rizwan.

He is the fifth men's player to reach that milestone in the format and the joint-quickest to do so alongside India great Virat Kohli.

Reflecting on what was ultimately a disappointing day for his side, however, Babar said: "After losing a couple of early wickets, we thought 170 was a good score. 

"Maybe we were 10 runs or so short, but the way Salt batted in the first four or five overs, they took the game away from us. 

"The way they used the powerplay was the turnaround today. I think the middle-order needs to step up, they need to take responsibility."

Phil Salt hit a blistering 88 as England beat Pakistan by eight wickets on Friday to level up their seven-match T20I series at 3-3 in Lahore.

Pakistan recovered from a slow start that saw them 15-2 at one point to post 169-6 at the Gaddafi Stadium, thanks in large to the brilliant Babar Azam (87 not out).

But England made easy work of the chase as they reached 100 from seven overs to set up a decider on Sunday.

Without in-form Mohammad Rizwan, Pakistan initially struggled as Mohammad Haris (7) and Shan Masood (0) fell early on, leaving Babar to do much of the leg work.

Haider Ali (18), Iftikhar Ahmed (31) and Asif Ali took their side to 136-4, but the latter upper cut to Reece Topley for nine runs and Mohammad Nawaz (12) followed soon after.

Babar's 87 did at least give England something to think about, but Salt and Alex Hales put on an opening partnership of 55 off 23 balls, before the latter was removed for 27.

Salt reached his half-century off just 19 balls en route to an unbeaten 88, including the decisive shot as England posted 170-2 to level things up.

Babar brilliance not enough

Pakistan were without run machine Rizwan but Babar stepped up with 87 runs off 59 balls, which included three sixes and seven fours.

Babar surpassed a milestone 3,000 T20I runs in the process, yet it was not enough to steer the hosts to an unassailable series lead.

England ease to victory

The tourists were set 170 to avoid a third successive T20I defeat to Pakistan for the first time ever and had no trouble in reaching that target.

Only once before – against New Zealand in November 2019 (6.4 overs in a game reduced by rain to 11 overs) – have England previously reached 100 from seven overs.

Salt played a key part in that as he underlined his credentials to partner Jos Buttler at the upcoming T20 World Cup.

England stand-in captain Moeen Ali described his team's batting performance as "disappointing" after their six-run defeat to Pakistan, who now lead the seven-match T20I series 3-2.

Mark Wood (3-20) removed half of Pakistan's top six as England bowled out the hosts for 145 runs in 19 overs in Lahore, a reasonably low score considering Mohammad Rizwan top-scored with 63 off 46 balls.

However, England were unable to chase Pakistan's total down despite Moeen making a half-century off just 35 balls, not aided by finding themselves 31-3 after five overs.

And Moeen was frustrated with his team's display, telling reporters: "Of all the games so far, this was the most disappointing, the way we batted in particular.

"Obviously I'm disappointed we didn't chase those runs. I feel we're a better team than that. You have to see the situation of the game, and the conditions.

"All we needed was one partnership, a 60-70 run partnership would have won the game. We want to play this brand that is attacking but you also have to see the situation of the game and the conditions, things like that."

Moeen also spoke of his admiration of Rizwan while also reserving praise for Pakistan's debutant seamer Aamir Jamal, who bowled superbly in the last over to restrict England to seven runs when 15 would have won them the match.

"He's [Rizwan] a brilliant player, so hard to stop and so busy. He's somebody we can learn a lot off," Moeen added.

"He saw the situation and adapted today. He took the risks when he needed to and played properly when he needed to.

"[Jamal] was on debut, nervous, but he bowled really well.

"Two big hits and you’re done. I got one but unfortunately couldn't manage to get the other one. Sometimes you've just got to give it to him, it was a good last over."

Debutant Aamir Jamal helped Pakistan to a six-run victory over England in an absorbing contest as the hosts opened up a 3-2 lead in the seven-match T20I series.

The hosts were all out for 145 in 19 overs in Lahore, with Mark Wood (3-20) leading the way for England, who fell just short despite Moeen Ali's half-century off 35 balls.

Jamal claimed his maiden international wicket on just the second ball of his career and, under immense pressure, the youngster held his nerve to steer Pakistan to a tense win.

Wood's fierce pace had put England in command as he removed half of Pakistan's top six, with Babar Azam (9), Haider Ali (4) and Asif Ali (5) failing to reach double figures.

Mohammad Rizwan top-scored for Pakistan with 63 from 46 – his fourth half-century this series – but David Willey (2-23) and Sam Curran (2-23) restricted the home side's total.

Chris Woakes, making his first appearance since March, wrapped things up thanks to a swipe from Haris Rauf (8) as England were set a more-than-gettable target of 146.

However, opener Alex Hales went inside five balls for just a single run and fellow opener Phil Salt (3) pulled a short ball straight into the hands of Rauf soon after.

The tourists struggled for momentum, with Harry Brook (4) and Dawid Malan (36) trapped lbw after Ben Duckett (10) spooned Mohammad Wasim's short ball to Shan Masood.

Curran (17) sliced Jamal's second ball to Wasim as England chased boundaries, with Woakes (10) close behind, but Moeen kept his side ticking along.

England required 15 from the final six balls and would have forced a super over had David Willey cleared the boundary off the last ball, but it was not to be as Jamal held his nerve.

Moeen Ali has voiced his support for a reported proposal from the England and Wales Cricket Board to host Test matches between India and Pakistan.

The two neighbouring nations, who share a complex history, have not played one another in cricket's longest format since 2007.

Pakistan have only recently seen the resumption of home matches for the first time in 10 years.

But the ECB is said to be working on a plan to have India play Pakistan on neutral in England. ESPNcricinfo reports Pakistan are unlikely to take up the offer as the PCB concentrates on hosting matches itself.

It is an idea that appeals to Moeen – an England international of Pakistani descent.

"That would be awesome, brilliant," he said. "It's a shame that they don't play each other unless it's a World Cup or an ICC event because they're two great teams and two massive playing nations.

"With the viewing figures involved, it would be one of the biggest games, and it’s not been done for a very long time.

"It would be great because Pakistan have a really good bowling attack, and India have a great Test side. It would be really good."

Mohammad Rizwan and Haris Rauf starred as Pakistan clinched a three-run victory over England to level their T20I series at 2-2 after a stunning match in Karachi.

Captain Babar Azam and Rizwan combined for an opening partnership of 97 as Pakistan posted 166-4, setting a target that England would have fancied chasing down.

Yet the visitors were unable to get there, despite a determined rally from Liam Dawson, leaving Pakistan to celebrate victory in what was their 200th T20I.

Rauf picked up three prized wickets, including that of Dawson, to take the player of the match award.

After both made just eight in the third match, Babar and Rizwan this time rekindled the form they showed in the second contest of this series when Pakistan swept to a 10-wicket win.

Babar made a handy 36 before being caught by Ben Duckett off Dawson's bowling, but Rizwan ploughed on to reach 88, eventually falling to Reece Topley in the final over.

Shan Masood made 21 and Asif Ali clattered two late sixes in 13no from three balls, as Pakistan pushed up their score.

The home team had work to do with the ball but came out firing, taking early wickets to dismiss Phil Salt (8), Alex Hales (5) and Will Jacks (0) in the first two overs of England's reply, as Mohammad Nawaz and Mohammad Hasnain made inroads.

England found batting rhythm through Duckett, striking three consecutive boundaries, although Nawaz put down a sitter to drop Harry Brook before he dismissed Duckett lbw for 33 in the eighth over.

Captain Moeen Ali made 29 and Brook fell for 34, before Dawson looked like winning it with a gallant effort for England. He reached 34 at breakneck speed, but a brilliant over from Rauf (3-32) halted the fightback as he had Dawson caught before bowling Olly Stone with the next delivery.

It meant England went from 162-7 to 162-9, and Masood ran out Topley in the final over to finish the contest, with three matches remaining in the series as the teams head for Lahore.

Rizwan and Babar set record

Pakistan's opening pair of Babar and Rizwan became the first batting duo to register 2,000 runs as partners in men's T20I cricket, coming into the day with 1,946 and smashing their way through the landmark figure.

The duo also equalled Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul's record of 14 partnerships scoring above 50 in T20Is.

Dawson drives recovery

England looked to be down and out heading into the final few overs, but Dawson's blistering display with the bat took advantage of some lacklustre bowling to briefly change the tide of the game.

His runs came from just 17 balls and contained five fours and a six, providing a glimpse of a comeback, but he was unable to finish the job.

Mark Wood made an explosive return after maiden Twenty20 International half-centuries for Harry Brook and Ben Duckett as England thrashed Pakistan by 63 runs to take a 2-1 series lead.

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan starred in a record-breaking 10-wicket win for Pakistan at the National Stadium in Karachi on Thursday, but the tourists responded in emphatic fashion at the same venue 24 hours later.

Brook (81 not out off 35 balls) and Duckett (70no from 42) put on 139 in a sublime unbroken fourth-wicket stand to get England up to an imposing 221-3.

Pakistan fell short on 158-8, Wood taking 3-25 in his first match for six months following two elbow operations, with a first T20I half-century for Shan Masood (66no from 40) in vain.

Will Jacks, in for Alex Hales, struck an impressive 40 off 22 balls after Babar put England in, before Usman Qadir (2-48) got rid of the debutant and Dawid Malan (14). 

England were 82-3 when Jacks departed, but Duckett and Brook combined for a match-winning stand to silence the crowd a day after Babar and Rizwan put on a show.

The right and left-hand combination showed the tourists' strength in depth with the bat as the Pakistan bowlers were unable to contain them.

Babar and Rizwan could not repeat their heroics from the previous day, when they put on 203, the hostile Wood dismissing the captain for eight and Haider Ali for just three.

Reece Topley cleaned up Rizwan in a nightmare start to Pakistan's run chase and Adil Rashid took 2-32 as Babar's side never looked like chasing down their target despite the best efforts of Masood.

Brook and Duckett come to the fore

Big things are expected of Brook, who made his Test debut against South Africa at The Oval this month, and the 23-year-old showed precisely why as he made a brilliant maiden half-century for his country.

He struck five sixes and eight fours, timing the ball sweetly as he piled on the runs on both sides of the wicket and facing only 24 balls for his fifty.

Duckett played the spinners superbly, sweeping with authority to bring up his half-century from just 31 balls.

Wood back with a bang

The luckless Wood had been out since March due to more injury woes, but generated blistering pace and looked like he had never been away.

Wood claimed the huge wicket of Babar, caught on the boundary by Topley from a searing delivery, and saw the back of Haider in a breathtaking opening burst, then returning to remove Haris Rauf in the penultimate over.

Babar Azam became the first Pakistan player to score two Twenty20 International centuries as they levelled the series with a record-breaking 10-wicket win over England.

The tourists looked to have given themselves a great chance of going 2-0 up by posting 199-5 at the National Stadium in Karachi on Thursday, but Babar and Rizwan stole the show with a stunning world record stand in a T20I run chase of 203.

Shahnawaz Dahani (2-37) struck twice in as many balls to get rid of Alex Hales (26) and Dawid Malan (0) before Phil Salt fell for 30, with Moeen Ali having won the toss and elected to bat first.

Ben Duckett hit a quickfire 43 and Harry Brook a brisk 31, with stand-in captain Moeen then blasting an unbeaten 55 from only 23 deliveries to set Pakistan 200 to win, Haris Rauf taking 2-30 from his four overs.

Skipper Babar and Rizwan showed their class as they brought up a century stand in just 69 balls, Hales left to rue dropping the wicketkeeper-batter on 23 as he made a third consecutive half-century.

The prolific Babar brought up his hundred in the 18th over and finished unbeaten on 110 from 66 balls in a masterclass, with the in-form Rizwan 88 not out off 51 deliveries as England were left not knowing what had him them.

Babar cleared the rope six five times and hit 11 fours, while Rizwan launched four sixes and five fours as they showed a combination of timing and power.

Babar reaches another milestone in style

The incredible Babar surged past the 8,000-run mark in T20s in his latest masterful knock. He reached that milestone in his 218 innings, with only Chris Gayle (213) needing fewer to rack up 8,000.

He also now holds the record for the most centuries as Pakistan captain with 10 ahead of the great Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Moeen fireworks in vain, Duckett catches the eye

While England were unable to make an impact in the field due to the brilliant of Pakistan's openers, they impressed with the bat.

Moeen hit four sixes and as many fours, while Duckett looked in great touch before he departed when well set, hitting seven boundaries.

Alex Hales described his return to the England team as "a dream come true" that "felt like a debut again".

After not being selected for more than three years, the big hitter made a hugely successful comeback in the international game against Pakistan in Tuesday's T20I opener.

Hales scored 53 runs off 40 deliveries and built a vital 55-run partnership with youngster Harry Brook as England chased down Pakistan's total of 158 to win by six wickets with four balls to spare.

The Nottinghamshire opener has continued to impress in franchise cricket in recent years, but he had not featured for his country since a recreational drugs ban ahead of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, which England won.

However, with Jonny Bairstow injured and Jason Roy in poor form, Jos Buttler brought Hales back into the fold for this tour.

And speaking after the opening victory, Hales was understandably delighted with his return to the international stage.

"It's a very special feeling to be back out on the park for England," he said. "Three years felt like forever. To go out and score fifty on my return, in a winning team, is the stuff dreams are made of.

"Guys have said in the past that it was never down to cricket why I missed the three years. That was never in doubt. But there were always nerves and pressure coming back after three years.

"It felt like a debut again... it feels like a dream come true to come back and contribute with a half-century in a winning team."

Of his performance, Hales added: "[It] was all about getting over the line. I wasn't quite at my fluent best, but to get fifty and steer us in the right direction meant a lot.

"There are lots of times in T20 where you don't quite feel on top of your game and you're a little bit scratchy. But the deeper you take it, the more fluent the innings becomes.

"I got a couple of boundaries away towards the end and killed the game with Harry.

"I was trying to hit boundaries; it just didn't quite happen for some reason. I didn't have quite as much strike as I would have liked. I didn't quite manage to get going in the powerplay, but that can happen.

"I still managed to dig deep and steer us in the right direction for the win."

With the T20 World Cup around the corner, Hales will look to impress in this series against Pakistan to secure his position as one of England's premier limited-overs openers. 

This series marks the first time in 17 years England have played in Pakistan, with white-ball captain Buttler no doubt impressed with how his side started despite his absence as all-rounder Moeen Ali led the tourists in Karachi. 

England celebrated the start of their first tour of Pakistan in 17 years with victory in the first of seven T20Is on Tuesday, with Luke Wood and Alex Hales leading the way.

Wood shone on his T20 debut for England with three wickets, while Hales marked his first appearance since March 2019 with a half-century.

The hosts flew out of the blocks to reach 109-1, Mohammed Rizwan scoring 68 off 46 balls, but they added only 49 runs thereafter to finish 158-7, Wood restricting the impact of the lower order by removing Mohammad Nawaz (4), Iftikhar Ahmed (28) and Naseem Shah (0).

England were slow to get going, Phil Salt caught by Haider Ali for just 10 with Dawid Malan (20) and Ben Duckett (21) also quickly dismissed, but a rhythm was found with Alex Hales and Harry Brook in to bat.

Hales struck 53 from 40 balls to put England back in the hunt before he too was caught by Haider, leaving stand-in captain Moeen Ali to come in and help chase the final 17 runs with more than three overs left to play.

It was Brook who hit thew winning runs, though, carving a high full toss over extra cover to bring up his seventh boundary in his 25-ball 42 to propel England to a six-wicket victory.

Hales shines on return

After a three-year absence from the international fold, Hales shone on his return in Karachi to hit a half-century and received a warm reception from the home crowd due to his Pakistan Super League involvement.

His exile in 2019 after failing a drugs test led to captain Eoin Morgan stating he had 'lost the trust' of the team but the performance on Tuesday will have gone a long way in rebuilding that relationship, with Hales showing the potential to be a key player at the T20 World Cup.

Rizwan reaches landmark

Rizwan required 57 runs against England to become the fourth player to hit 2,000 for Pakistan in T20Is and did exactly what was required.

Hitting the landmark on Tuesday, Rizwan tied with Babar Azam as the fastest player to do so, having taken 52 innings.

England has seen its fair share of historic moments as of late, and the trend will continue when the men's national cricket team plays a first match in Pakistan since 2005.

The first of seven T20Is takes place in Karachi on Tuesday, with England facing a Pakistan team that lost to Sri Lanka by five wickets in the final of the Asia Cup earlier this month.

It is expected that a sell-out crowd of 35,000 will be on hand to take the moment in, and England vice-captain Moeen Ali is "honoured" to be leading his team against in the country of his birth, with regular skipper Jos Buttler missing for the opener with a calf injury.

"Being captain, regardless of who it's against, is a great honour," he said at a press conference. "But to do it in Pakistan, coming back after so long... on top of that, having family who migrated from here back in the day, it's amazing to lead the England side. It's awesome.

"I'm somebody that wants to play cricket in every cricketing nation. Pakistan and Zimbabwe were the two I've really wanted to tour. It's amazing that we're here. It's a big thing for England to come to Pakistan."

With the T20 World Cup on the horizon, both teams will be looking to prepare with a strong showing in this series.

England are unbeaten in their last five men's T20I matches against Pakistan away from home, winning four and drawing one.

However, they have not played them outside of England since November 2015.

Despite heartbreak in the recent Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka, Pakistan are in strong form, having won four of their last five men's T20Is on home soil, with their only defeat coming in their most recent clash against Australia in April.

They have a 100 per cent winning record in the seven T20Is played at the National Stadium in Karachi. At no other venue have Pakistan won more games in the format without registering a single loss, which does not bode well for the tourists given the first four games of the series will be played there.

England come into the series having begun a new white-ball era, with head coach Matthew Mott and freshly installed captain Buttler, who took over following the retirement of Eoin Morgan.

Moeen is taking his role as vice-captain seriously, though, and wants this tour to be the "starting point" as England look ahead to the World Cup in Australia.

"It's important we don't put pressure on ourselves and say 'we are going to win the World Cup'," he said. "I don't think we're favourites now. We are one of the better sides, but not favourites.

"This summer was quite poor for us. We didn't play very well at all. This is going to be the starting point. You are going to see a real change in the way this side plays and goes about things."

If they can match the change in fortunes of their Test side, England could be about to put on a show in Pakistan. Either way, the fact they are once again playing in the country feels more significant than any result that could occur over the next seven games.

Shadab looking to climb the ranks

Pakistan vice-captain Shadab Khan is hoping for a historic series of his own.

He currently sits on 81 wickets in T20Is, and needs just five more to become the outright second-highest wicket-taker for Pakistan in the format, with Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul on 85 each.

Safe hands the key for England

T20Is can often be decided by the fine margins, such as competence in the field. To that end, England have managed a catch success rate of 89 per cent in the format in 2022, the highest such rate for any full member side of the ICC this year.

England have caught 47 of the 53 chances presented to them in this span.

Interim England captain Moeen Ali says Jos Buttler is unlikely to feature on their tour of Pakistan, as he works to be fit for the T20 World Cup next month.

Buttler succeeded Eoin Morgan as England's white-ball skipper earlier this year following the latter's retirement, having played a pivotal role in their 2019 World Cup success in the fifty-over game.

But a recurrence of a long-standing calf issue while playing in The Hundred has left him nursing a knock just weeks away from the start of this year's short-form tournament in Australia.

England will warm up with a mammoth seven-match series over the next fortnight against Pakistan, with Moeen handed the armband in Buttler's stead, and he has now revealed that he does not know if his team-mate will figure.

"We're not sure," he stated. "He did his calf in The Hundred. He's done it before, so he's just [being] a bit more careful. Maybe at the back end of the tour, he will play one or two games, but we're not sure yet.

"It depends on how he feels. Obviously, with the World Cup in Australia, he's huge for us, and we want him fully fit for the whole competition.

"There won't be any risking him. He will decide if he is going to play in maybe the last one or two games."

England's trip to Pakistan marks a historic series and a particularly special one for Moeen, who is of Pakistani descent, as he gets to lead out the side.

"With my roots being from here and to lead England in such a big and historic series, it's huge," he added. "It's a very proud moment for me and my family, my mum and dad and everybody.

"Of course my family are very happy and my friends and my community, and everybody who I feel like I represent they’re very happy for me. Captaining England in any game anywhere in the world is a huge honour."

England follow their tour of Pakistan with a trio of warm-up games against Australia, before they get their campaign underway against Afghanistan in Perth on October 22.

Alex Hales feared he would never play for England again with his international exile set to end during the T20I series opener with Pakistan.

The explosive batsman has been named in the squad for next month's World Cup in Australia, having last played for England in a T20I fixture against West Indies in March 2019.

Hales was dropped from that year's World Cup-winning squad after testing positive for recreational drugs prior to the tournament, while then white-ball captain Eoin Morgan cited a "complete breakdown in trust" for his continued exile since.

However, the 33-year-old was recalled after an injury to Jonny Bairstow, and could open on Tuesday when England play the first of their seven-matches series in Pakistan.

"[Being left out of the 2019 World Cup squad] was extremely painful," he admitted. "It's your worst nightmare: to be involved in a World Cup squad, missing out on the eve of it.

"It was brilliant to see the team lifting it, but at the same time, it eats at you inside that you should have been part of it, and you weren't.

"I guess that drives you on, to improve as a person and a cricketer and get that spot back that you feel you deserve.

"I did think that the chance would not come again, for sure. At times, I felt like I wouldn't get this chance again.

"I felt like I'd been playing the best cricket of my career over those three years as well, so to get this chance again at this time is something I'm really proud of and something I'm really looking forward to. I feel like I can help push this team forward."

He continued: "I think I have changed. I've definitely matured. I'm comfortably into my 30s now and turning into a veteran. I feel as though I've grown as a person. Where I am at the moment – on and off the field – is probably the best of my career so far.

"I'm treating this as a blank canvas and only looking to the future now. I'm really looking forward to the next two weeks in Pakistan and what the World Cup can bring."

A fine batting effort from Bhanuka Rajapaksa and crucial contributions with bat and ball from Wanindu Hasaranga saw Sri Lanka win the Asia Cup as they beat Pakistan by 23 runs in Sunday's final in Dubai.

Sri Lanka had beaten Pakistan by five wickets in the Super Four on Friday to top the table, but nerves might have been jangling after Pakistan won the toss ahead of the title decider.

Prior to this meeting between two first-time 20-over finalists, 17 of the previous 20 T20I winners in Dubai had been the sides batting second.

And things did not start well for Sri Lanka either, with Kusal Mendis out to his first ball in one of five wickets inside nine overs.

However, after Dhananjaya de Silva had set the table with 28 from 21 balls, Rajapaksa led the recovery with the bat as he hit 71 from 45.

Hasaranga also ably supported with 36 from 21 as Sri Lanka posted a target of 171 that would prove beyond Pakistan.

Sri Lanka's start with the ball was similarly sloppy, with Dilshan Madushanka conceding nine runs before he had bowled a legal ball, but Pramod Madushan turned the tide by taking the wickets of Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman from consecutive balls.

Pakistan, having scored just 37 runs in the powerplay, improved courtesy of a partnership of 71 between Mohammad Rizwan (55) and Iftikhar Ahmed (32) before Madushan (4-34) struck again.

Then it was Hasaranga's turn in a dominant 17th over that had three wickets – including Rizwan's – to set up a straightforward finish that saw Pakistan all out for 147.

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