Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in T20 opener

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Danushka Gunathilaka maintained his form with a T20I career-best half-century as Sri Lanka took a 1-0 lead in their three-match series against Pakistan.

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The Sri Lanka opener, who recorded his best ODI innings of 133 against the same opposition earlier in the week, followed it up with another match-winning performance in Lahore.

Gunathilaka’s knock of 57 from 38 balls, including eight fours and a six, laid the foundations of Sri Lanka’s total of 165-5 after they had been put in to bat – and that proved to be more than enough as they triumphed by 64 runs.

Avishka Fernando (33) shared an opening partnership of 84 with Gunathilaka before Banuka Rajapaksha, making his T20 international debut, blazed 32 from 22 balls.

Recalled Pakistan paceman Mohammad Hasnain (3-37) helped to peg the visitors back in the closing stages by removing Dasun Shanaka (17) and Shehan Jayasuriya (2) with successive deliveries.

But the home side were hit by a double blow at the start of their reply when Nuwan Pradeep (3-21) had the dangerous Babar Azam (13) caught behind and then trapped Umar Akmal (0) lbw with his next ball.

Kasun Rajitha (1-20) and Wanindu Hasaranga (2-20) applied the brakes and, although Sarfaraz Ahmed (24) and Iftikhar Ahmed (25) put on 46, they were never able to keep up with the required rate.

Wickets fell regularly and Isuru Udana (3-11) took the last two wickets in as many balls to polish off the Pakistan innings for 101 in the 18th over.

The teams meet again for the second match of the series on Monday, also in Lahore.

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