Aaron Finch's half-century and Ben McDermott's composure proved to be decisive as Australia defeated Pakistan by three wickets in Tuesday's thrilling one-off T20I.

Pakistan won the ODI series thanks in large part to the brilliance of captain Babar Azam and his superb 66 propelled the hosts to a competitive 162-8 in Lahore.

Babar's composure at the crease was much-needed for Pakistan, who lost Mohammad Rizwan (23) and Fakhar Zaman (0) in successive balls to T20I debutant Cameron Green (2-16).

Adam Zampa finally drew a stray shot out of Pakistan's skipper, who picked out Nathan Ellis to leave his side on 118-4.

Having already dismissed Iftikhar Ahmed, Ellis – the pick of Australia's bowlers with 4-28 – then did the damage through Pakistan's middle order, getting rid of the dangerous Khushdil Shah (24), Asif Ali (3) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (0), though Usman Qadir's flurry of 18 not out boosted the hosts.

Travis Head quickly set about getting the tourists' chase on its way, scoring a rapid 26 that included four boundaries before he was sent packing by Haris Rauf.

Josh Inglis (24) kept up the pace until Qadir struck, but Australia seemed well set before Marnus Labuschagne, Marcus Stoinis and Green were dismissed in the space of 20 balls.

Yet captain Finch anchored the chase as he returned to form following back-to-back ducks in the ODI series, with his steady innings steering Australia into needing 15 runs from three overs.

A costly start to the 18th over from Haris saw McDermott plunder successive boundaries, though the pressure was back on Australia when Finch found Asif in the deep.

Afridi (2-21) rounded off an excellent spell by bowling Sean Abbott for a duck, yet another poor Haris ball handed McDermott the chance to clip away the winning boundary.

Captains come up big

Babar gave yet another exhibition of how he has risen to the top of the batting rankings in another sensational knock - his 66 coming at a strike rate of 143.47.

Yet it was World Cup winner Finch who took the trophy, as he showed plenty of patience to stay at the crease for 18 overs, showing why interim head coach Andrew McDonald backed him to stay on as skipper.

Historic tour comes to a close

It has been a brilliant match-up between Pakistan and Australia over the last month or so and the tourists will finally return home.

Australia have now won each of their past four T20Is against Pakistan, the first time they have gone on such a run, though this was the first meeting in the format between the teams in Pakistan.

Andrew McDonald has backed out-of-form captain Aaron Finch to lead Australia in the T20 World Cup this year ahead of a one-off match against Pakistan at Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday.

Opener Finch was dismissed without scoring in the second and third ODIs as the tourists suffered a 2-1 loss to a Babar Azam-inspired Pakistan side last week.

The skipper has not scored an international half-century since last July, but Australia interim head coach McDonald says he remains the man to lead his country when they attempt to defend their T20 World Cup title on home soil.

"From my end, there's no conversation around the [prospect] that he won't be there," said McDonald.

"His form can ebb and flow – like most players' can – and his ability to work through these patches has been significant in his career.

"We had the same conversation about David Warner leading into the T20 World Cup last [year], so all these conversations are going to happen.

"Do we think he's still good enough to play this level? One hundred per cent yes. That's as simple as it gets for us and we're building a team around him as captain.

"It's a pretty significant pillar to be discussing about not being at the T20 World Cup. From our end, we think he can still play at this level, 100 per cent."

Finch will be one of only three players who are set to face Pakistan in Lahore that were part of the side that won the World Cup in Dubai last November.

Australia will be looking for a fourth consecutive T20 win over Pakistan, but they will have their work cut out as the hosts have come out on top in 10 of their past 11 home matches in the shortest format.

Babar a class apart

Captain Babar made back-to-back centuries to give Pakistan a first ODI series win over Australia for 20 years.

The irrepressible skipper has made a staggering three hundreds, as many half-centuries and 36 in his past five knocks for his country - demonstrating his class in all formats.

As the top-ranked player in the world in both white-ball formats, Australia must find a way to remove Babar before he is set.

McDermott and Head vying for opening spot

Either Ben McDermott or Travis Head look set to open with Finch in the only T20 match before Australia head home.

There was good news for the tourists when Ashton Agar and Josh Inglis returned negative COVID-19 tests, while Marnus Labuschagne and Cameron Green are in contention to make their T20I debuts.

Babar Azam hailed Pakistan's "historic" series win over Australia after scoring another century in a nine-wicket victory.

Pakistan bowled Australia all out for 210 before comfortably chasing down their target, thanks largely to the efforts of top-order batsmen Babar (105 not out) and Imam-ul-Haq (89 not out).

Babar also recorded triple figures in Pakistan's second ODI victory on Thursday, and his consecutive centuries proved decisive in the hosts beating Australia in back-to-back home ODIs for the first time since 1982.

Writing on Twitter after his crucial haul, Babar referred to his team-mates as "superstars" and thanked Pakistan's fans for their support in Lahore.

"A historic series win for Pakistan," wrote Babar, who has now plundered 16 ODI career centuries.

"[I] couldn't have asked for more from my pack of superstars, excellent performances from Imam, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Haris Rauf.

"To all our fans, thank you so much for your massive support!"

Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq posted: "This is historical, winning the ODI series against Australia 2-1 at home.

"Some phenomenal performances [were] witnessed by the batsmen and bowlers. Keep supporting our great Pakistan!"

Before failing to remove either Babar or Imam as they struggled with the ball, Australia lost their highest run-scorer of the series, Travis Head, to the first delivery of their own innings, leaving skipper Aaron Finch to bemoan a failure to set their hosts a more difficult target.

"We didn't get enough runs," Finch told reporters. "When you go three down in the first few overs, it's always going to be hard to get a big total."

Aaron Finch stated that inexperience is no excuse for Australia not to target victory in their one-day series against Pakistan.

Australia edged out a hard-fought Test series 1-0, in what was an emotional tour for a variety of off-field reasons.

Three ODIs, originally scheduled to be held in Rawalpindi only to be moved to Lahore due to political unrest in Pakistan, now await before a solitary Twenty20.

The results will factor into the World Super League, with Australia sitting in seventh place, three spots above Babar Azam's team.

Australia have only played four ODIs since December 2020, and the last of those was back in July against West Indies.

They are also without some key names. Steve Smith has been ruled out due to an elbow injury, while Kane Richardson has been left at home to nurse a hamstring issue. Test captain Pat Cummins will not feature, and neither will Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, David Warner or Glenn Maxwell.

On Monday, meanwhile, Finch was dealt a further blow by news of a hip injury for Mitchell Marsh, who will miss the first match, and that wicketkeeper Josh Inglis had tested positive for COVID-19. Yet the T20 World Cup-winning skipper was in no mood to make excuses.

"Our goal 100 per cent is to win this series," Finch told reporters.

"We still feel like we have a squad to do that even though it is inexperienced. At times that can be a blessing because you have guys who can play freely and express themselves.

"It's about trying to build the depth of the squad and build experience in players. It's a really good opportunity. With every decision we make there is one eye towards the 50-over World Cup and to tie everything back to that is really important."

 

Cameron Green, who impressed in the Tests but has played just one ODI, will replace Marsh in the first ODI, while Alex Carey is set to slot in behind the stumps.

"Cam will play and probably bat in that middle-order role," Finch said. "We've seen he's a super talented cricketer. He's someone who has been quite consistent in his Test career, his impact with the bat and ball can't be understated. Really excited for Cam to get that opportunity."

Finch closing in on Warner and Waugh

Finch has not been in the best of form as of late. He last played an ODI in December 2020, against India, while he only scored above 10 on two occasions in the five-match T20 series against Sri Lanka earlier in 2022.

However, the 35-year-old is only one century away from equalling Warner and Mark Waugh on 18 ODI tons, which would put him joint-second on Australia's all-time list, behind Ricky Ponting, who is way ahead on 29.

Finch at least heads into the series knowing Australia have a fine record against Pakistan in 50-over matches, having won 15 of their last 16 such meetings, including triumphing in their last nine on the bounce, with the sole defeat coming in January 2017.

Australia also like playing in Lahore, winning four of their seven ODIs at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Finch's hopes of improving his place in the Aussie record books are also boosted by the fact that Australian batters have scored nine ODI centuries since the start of 2020, which is second only to South Africa (10) in that timeframe.

 

Another milestone approaches for Babar 

Finch's counterpart Babar batted well in the Test series, scoring a brilliant 196 in the second match and amassing 122 runs across his two innings in the final game, albeit to no avail.

The Pakistan captain needs just 15 runs to become the 15th player from his country to register 4,000 in ODIs. Should he manage it in his next innings, he will become the second-fastest batter to reach the milestone (82 matches), after Hashim Amla (81).

Babar and Pakistan will have to watch Adam Zampa closely. The spinner is just three wickets away from becoming Australia's 18th bowler to take 100 in 50-over cricket, while his best figures against Pakistan were 4-43 in March 2019.

The hosts, too, are blooding new players. Uncapped duo Asif Afridi and Mohammad Harris have been called up, while Abdullah Shafique, who scored 397 runs across six innings in the Test series, is in line for his ODI debut.

Australia were only crowned T20 World Cup champions in November, but their home series against Sri Lanka is the start of their preparations for a title defence.

The holders will host the next World Cup, which is to take place in October and November this year.

Meanwhile, a three-match T20 series against New Zealand planned for next month had to be scrapped due to COVID-19 concerns, but the immediate focus is on hosting Sri Lanka.

There has, of course, been plenty of off-field upheaval in the last week with coach Justin Langer resigning, but there is no better way for Australia to put that recent disturbance behind them and begin a new era than by consolidating their place at the pinnacle of the shortest format with a convincing series victory.

The series takes in five matches, starting in Sydney on Friday and also visiting Canberra and Melbourne.

Aaron Finch will be unable to call on two of his key performers from last year's World Cup run, with David Warner and Mitchell Marsh rested after their Ashes exploits.

That means that Ben McDermott has earned a recall, and Josh Inglis comes into the line-up at number three for a debut.

"The first series after the World Cup win, so it's really exciting to have a lot of new guys around the side as well and I guess quite a bit of pressure on after winning the World Cup," Finch told reporters.

"It does raise expectation. But we feel as though we've played some really good T20 cricket recently, so we're excited about that."

History on Australia's side

Australia have won their last five men's T20I matches against Sri Lanka, their longest active winning streak against any Test-playing nation in this format. 

Finch's team have also tasted victory in their last four T20Is. They last won more matches in a row in this format between February 2019 and February 2020, a streak of eight wins that included beating Sri Lanka on three occasions.

The series starts at the Sydney Cricket Ground, where Australia have won five of their eight men's T20I matches (L3).

However, these three losses have been suffered in their last five matches at this venue, and this will be the first time they take on Sri Lanka at the SCG.

But Sri Lanka have only one win from their previous four T20Is played away from home. They had won all four of their matches prior to this run in this format, though.   

Hazlewood and Zampa out to do the damage

Adam Zampa was a star of the World Cup and he has fine form against Sri Lanka, with no player having taken more wickets in this fixture than the spinner's 16. Indeed, he has more wickets in this format against Sri Lanka than any other team.

Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka are two exciting batsmen for the tourists, but they will be up against a formidable bowling attack spearheaded by Test captain Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. 

No player has more wickets during a powerplay in T20Is since the beginning of 2021 than Hazlewood, who has 14 dismissals to his name during this period.

Wanindu Hasaranga took 2-22 against Australia in Dubai and could be a dangerman, but Sri Lanka's fielding let them down last year. Indeed, since the start of 2021, they have a catch success rate of just 75 per cent in T20Is, the poorest of all the Test-playing nations.

Looking to take advantage of any sloppiness will be Finch. The Australia skipper has topped the scorecard 18 times in T20Is since the beginning of 2015, seven more occasions than any of his team-mates. In fact, only three players have a better record for their respective countries among Test-playing nations in the shortest format (Rohit Sharma – 23, Paul Stirling – 19 and Virat Kohli – 19).  

Australian batsman Usman Khawaja says Test skipper or white-ball skipper Aaron Finch needs to come out and explain Justin Langer's exit as head coach.

Khawaja, who returned to the Test side during the Ashes after more than two years outside the team, was named in Australia's squad for next month's Pakistan Test series.

The 35-year-old admitted he was sad for "the person" when Langer resigned as Australia head coach amid a messy exit with talk of a player revolt.

Langer spent almost four years in the head coaching role but resigned on Saturday, rejecting a six-month contract extension.

The 51-year-old's exit comes after leading Australia to a 4-0 Ashes triumph and a stunning T20 World Cup victory which has raised eyebrows, yet there have been rumblings of internal issues.

"I just came back in the team two months ago. I've been a little bit out of it, a little bit disconnected, but there's obviously a lot of ex-players coming and talking about the playing group," Khawaja told reporters on Tuesday.

"At some stage, one of the captains, probably Finchy or Patty, will probably have to stand up and answer some questions just to get rid of all the speculation that's going around. To just put an end to it all."

Khawaja said Langer had tried to take on player feedback and insisted "always got along with him".

But several key members of the Australian side, including Cummins, failed to publicly back Langer for a contract extension in the lead-up to Saturday's announcement.

"It's part of speculation which I don't think is really healthy. I just don't want to add to it," Cummins said on Thursday when asked about a contract renewal for Langer.

"That's Cricket Australia's job. It's not my job. I've really loved my time working with JL and we've had an evaluation process. I've been part of that, a lot of other players and staff have been part of that.

"Just like when we get evaluated. I've got huge respect for JL, really like working with him. But it's not my call."

Aaron Finch has hailed Adam Zampa as the player of the tournament after Australia beat New Zealand by eight wickets to claim a first T20 World Cup title.

David Warner claimed the official Player of the Tournament award after a scintillating performance with the bat, hitting 53 from just 38 balls in the final to finish as the second-highest run-scorer in the competition, his tally of 289 bettered only by Pakistan captain Babar Azam's total of 303.

However, Finch believes Zampa's contribution was even more important and heaped praise on the 29-year-old, who took 13 wickets in total.

Sri Lanka's Wanindu Hasaranga (16) was the only bowler to take more wickets in the tournament than Zampa, who also recorded the best figures in a single game (5-19).

"[Zampa was the] player of the tournament for me, controlled the game, got big wickets, super player," Finch said after the game. 

"Can't believe people wrote [Warner] off a couple of weeks ago, it was almost like poking the bear. Mitch Marsh, what a way to start, put pressure on from the start.

"Matt Wade came in under an injury cloud and got the job done. He came in in the semi-final alongside Marcus Stoinis and did the business."

Finch revelled in Australia's historic triumph and pointed to their eight-wicket victory over Bangladesh on November 4 as the turning point for their successful campaign.

"This is huge, to be the first Australia team to [win the T20 World Cup]," Finch continued. "So proud of how the guys went about the campaign.

"[The Bangladesh game certainly was the turning point], backs were against the wall. We had to fight and certainly did that, had some great team and individual performances."

Aaron Finch claims there has been no talk in the Australia camp of securing an elusive T20 World Cup title ahead of the final against New Zealand on Sunday.

Australia have never been crowned world champions in the shortest format, losing to England in their only other final back in 2010.

The Black Caps stand in the way of Finch's side and a historic maiden title at the Dubai International Stadium after both sides pulled off brilliant semi-final run chases.

Australia beat Pakistan by five wickets and New Zealand defeated England by the same margin to set up an eagerly awaited trans-Tasman showdown.

Captain Finch revealed there have been no discussions between the players of Australia finally getting their hands on the trophy.

The opening batter said: "We haven't actually spoken about it as yet. We are just committed to turning up and playing some really aggressive and good cricket. 

"We understand that T20 cricket can be fickle in its nature at certain periods of time and you have to embrace the challenges of it, whether it's a final or whether it's a one-off game in any kind of series, I think they all mean a lot. We are just excited to get under way.

"I think the New Zealand side, they have got a huge amount of quality and they have shown that over a long period of time now. I think they have been the best powerplay performing team with the ball in this tournament, so that's going to be a challenge. 

"They have got obviously Daryl Mitchell, who played a great knock in the last game against England. Martin Guptill, class and power. And then you've got Kane Williamson, who is all class as well as a top three.

"They have got match-winners right throughout their innings, and with the bat and ball, Ish Sodhi and Mitch Santner have showed their class in the past as well. It's a game between two sides that are really similarly matched I think, and yes, it will be a great game."

 

Finch says he has no concerns about the former of Steve Smith, who only made five against Pakistan after being dismissed for only one in his previous knock in a loss to England.

 "No, not concerned one bit about his form," he said. "He's a world-class player and he's someone in big games has showed how valuable he is. He's been hitting the ball as well as I've seen for a long time, so no, no concerns there whatsoever."

Kane Williamson is excited by the prospect of New Zealand pulling off a dream double when they face Australia in the T20 World Cup final on Sunday.

The Black Caps beat India to win the inaugural World Test Championship in June and they will contest a third consecutive ICC final at Dubai International Stadium this weekend.

New Zealand had never reached a T20 World Cup final before defeating England with a magnificent run chase on Wednesday and captain Williamson is urging his side to rise to the occasion when they do battle with their trans-Tasman rivals.

He said in a press conference on Saturday: "It'd be some achievement [to do the double],

"But where it stands at the moment is there's a game of cricket to play and for us it's focusing on that and focusing on our cricket and looking to go out there and implement the things that are important to us.

"These sort of events are of focus in the calendar and it's a really exciting opportunity to be here now and looking forward to the match tomorrow."

Australia also chased down a big total to upset Pakistan and moved into their second World Cup final in the shortest format, having lost to England in 2010.

Skipper Aaron Finch says Australia always had the belief they could defy the odds and go all the way to the final.

He said: "It wasn't unexpected. We came here with a clear plan to try and win this tournament. We always felt that we have the depth and quality to do that.

"A lot of people had written us off from the start, so it has been really impressive the way we have gone about our business. Everyone has prepared really well and had match-defining performances at some point, the guys are up and about for tomorrow."

 

Conway blow hands Seifert unexpected chance

It was a memorable day for New Zealand when they knocked England out in midweek, but one of mixed emotions for Devon Conway.

The wicketkeeper-batsman made 46 before he was stumped giving Liam Livingstone the charge and he reacted by punching his bat, inflicting further pain on himself by breaking his hand.

Conway will miss the final as a result of that furious response to his dismissal, so Tim Seifert comes into the side.

Seifert has big shoes to fill, as Conway has been a revelation in his short international career so far. The left-hander scored 129 runs at an average of 32.25 in his first T20 World Cup.

Stand-in keeper Seifert made only eight in his only appearance of this tournament against Pakistan after coming in at seven in the order. He averages 24.24 in 33 T20I knocks.

 

Warner silencing the doubters

Questions were raised about David Warner's place in the Australia side ahead of the tournament after he was dropped by Sunrisers Hyderabad during the Indian Premier League.

The opener has shown his class in the United Arab Emirates, making 236 runs from six innings at an average of 47.20 

Only Matthew Hayden (265 in 2007) and Shane Watson (249 in 2012) have scored more for Australia in a single edition of a T20 World Cup.

Warner’s 35 boundaries in the campaign (28 fours, 7 sixes) are the joint-most by any player in the tournament (level with Mohammad Rizwan and Jos Buttler).

Australia showed the strength of their batting line-up in a five-wicket win over a Pakistan side that had won every match to cruise into the last four, Matthew Wade blasting a brilliant 41 not out off 17 balls and Marcus Stoinis making an unbeaten 40 after Warner's rapid 49.

Aaron Finch lauded the depth of his Australia squad as they dug deep to beat Pakistan and advance to the T20 World Cup final, led by Matthew Wade's late show.

Australia were set 177 to win after putting Pakistan in to bat in Thursday's second semi-final.

"I was actually hoping I'd lose the toss and try to bat first on that wicket," captain Finch said afterwards. "I thought it would be nice to put a total on the board in the semi-final."

The Australia skipper was delighted with how his decision panned out, though, as his team followed New Zealand's example against England and chased down a daunting target with an over to spare.

Finch's men looked to be in trouble when they were reduced to 96-5 in the 13th over, having lost the captain for a golden duck as Pakistan made a rapid start.

But Australia have dangerous options right down their batting line-up and an unbroken partnership of 81 off just 41 deliveries between Wade (41) and Marcus Stoinis (40) stunned Pakistan.

"I thought we were actually pretty sloppy today. We dropped a couple of chances in the field, a couple of really, really tough ones, no doubt," Finch said.

"But I think it shows the depth of our team at the moment, which is really important. You need the support of all 17 players in your squad to get across the line. We played some really good cricket towards the back end."

Wade finished with three straight sixes immediately after being dropped by the hapless Hasan Ali, and he said: "When I got out there with Marcus, he was really confident we'd get them, even though I was a little unsure.

"He found the boundaries early on, and I was happy to chip in at the end. It got down to two a ball, and from there it was: if you got one in your arc, just try to hit it.

"It probably hasn't sunk in yet but I'm just happy I could contribute. I was out of the team a couple of years ago and I'm just glad I got an opportunity and repaid the faith."

Pakistan have taken on all comers in the T20 World Cup and will look to end Australia's hopes of winning a maiden title at the semi-final stage on Thursday.

Babar Azam's side made a statement when they hammered fierce rivals India by 10 wickets in their opening match of the tournament and they have never looked back, winning all five Super 12 games.

Australia qualified as runners-up to England in Group 1 as they strive to win the T20 World Cup for the first time and have come out on top in their previous two T20Is against Pakistan.

Pakistan had won five in a row versus Australia in the shortest format prior to those two losses.

Matthew Hayden stated that he believes being a "warrior of Australian cricket over two decades" can give Pakistan an edge in his role as batting consultant for this tournament.

Pakistan's only T20 World Cup title was won back in 2009 and they were beaten by Australia in a semi-final the following year.

Stats Perform usese Opta data to preview the second semi-final at Dubai International Stadium on Thursday, with the winner facing England or New Zealand at the same venue three days later.

Brilliant Babar leading by example

Pakistan's classy run machine Babar has been outstanding with the bat and his captaincy in this tournament.

The prolific skipper has made four scores of least 50 in this tournament, only the third player to do so in a T20 World Cup. Australia great Hayden (four in 2007) and India captain Virat Kohli (four in 2014) are the other two.

Babar is the leading run-scorer in the competition with 264 from five innings at an average of 66 and a strike rate of 128.15.

Paceman Shaheen Afridi has been magnificent with the ball, forcing a false shot from a batter with 44 per cent of his 120 deliveries – the highest rate of any player at the Super 12 stage to bowl more than a single innings.

Haris Rauf has also made a big impact and is Pakistan's leading wicket-taker with eight to Afridi's six for the only team with a 100 per cent record in the Super 12s.

 

Zampa providing Australia x-factor

Spinner Adam Zampa has been one of Australia's leading lights on their run to the last four.

The tweaker has claimed 11 wickets at an average of just 9.90, with only Sri Lanka's Wanindu Hasaranga (16) having taken more scalps. His figures of 5-19 against Bangladesh are the best in the tournament.

Zampa has finished four of his five innings in the tournament with a bowling economy below six runs per over after having done so only once in his 17 innings prior. 

Paceman Josh Hazlewood has also maintained his outstanding form on the back of an Indian Premier League triumph with Chennai Super Kings.

Hazlewood has taken eight wickets with a strike rate of 11.87, delivering with the new ball time and again, and Australia will be looking for him to make early inroads along with Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc.

 

Aaron Finch believes his Australia team are proving their critics wrong as they prepare to do battle for a place in the T20 World Cup final.

Australia headed into the World Cup in poor form in the shortest format, having recorded five successive series defeats, leaving captain Finch and head coach Justin Langer under pressure.

An eight-wicket thrashing at the hands of England in their third game of the Super 12 stage left them on the brink of an exit, but wins over Bangladesh and West Indies proved enough to seal their place in the last four.

Pakistan, the only unbeaten team remaining at the World Cup, stand between Australia and a showdown against either England or New Zealand in Sunday's final.

Finch accepts many commentators may have written Australia off before the tournament started, but he insists the team only had one goal in mind when they arrived in the United Arab Emirates.

"It's just one of those things that in the lead-up to the tournament you tend to hear things or see the odd quote or comment that people have written you off," Finch told reporters.

"It's interesting how the narrative can change really quick. About 10 days ago, our team was too old, and now, we're an experienced team.

"That's just how it all gets portrayed. From day one, I've had a lot of confidence in the way that we've gone about this with the squad that we've got. I don't think that we've exceeded our expectations whatsoever. We came here with a really clear plan to win this tournament, and we're still alive to do that."

 

With Australia hosting the 2022 T20 World Cup, Finch is hopeful their efforts in recent weeks have set them in good stead for the future, even if their attempts to clinch silverware this time around fall short.

"One thing I'm really proud of is how we've started to uncover a little bit more depth in T20 cricket in Australia," he said.

"Some guys who mightn't have got an opportunity in the past if everyone was available, they got a good opportunity to test themselves in international cricket.I think in the long run, over the next two or three years, this period of Australian cricket will help us uncover more talent and more depth, especially in the white-ball format.

"That's something I'm really proud of. Although the results previous to this World Cup hadn't gone our way a huge amount, there was so much learning that we got out of that."

Australia have won their past two T20Is against Pakistan, having lost their prior five encounters in the format, and have won three of their past five meetings at the T20 World Cup.

However, Pakistan have won their past six T20Is – the last time they won more in succession in the format was a nine-game streak from July 2018 to November 2018, which included five straight wins against Australia.

Liam Livingstone hailed Jos Buttler as "the best hitter of a white ball in the world" after he blasted England to an eight-wicket T20 World Cup thrashing of Australia.

England moved to the brink of the semi-finals with a third crushing victory in three games, demolishing their great rivals at Dubai International Stadium on Saturday.

The bowlers once again set up a statement win, Chris Woakes (2-23) outstanding with the new ball as Australia could only post 125 all out.

It might have been much worse for Australia, as they slumped to 21-4 in the seventh over, but captain Aaron Finch hung in there with 44 before Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc provided the sort of lusty blows the top order failed to come up with.

Chris Jordan (3-17), Adil Rashid (1-19) and Livingstone (1-15) were also outstanding in another near flawless performance from Eoin Morgan's side in the field, with the in-form Moeen Ali not called upon to bowl.

Buttler then took centre stage with an explosive 71 not out from 32 deliveries as England reached their target with 50 balls to spare, going two points clear at the top of Group 1 with a far superior net run-rate to their rivals.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler struck five huge sixes as he took the Australia attack apart and Livingstone lapped up a masterclass from his team-mate.

He told Sky Sports: "It was a pleasure watching that Jos innings, the bowlers have been phenomenal, and Mo's been our best bowler and hasn't even bowled today.

"We have great depth in our line-up, then a pleasure to watch genius at work [Buttler]. He's the best hitter of a white ball in the world. A clinic of white-ball hitting."

Finch also doffed his cap to Buttler and vowed that wounded Australia will regroup after dropping below South Africa into third place.

"When we lost a few wickets in the powerplay, we had to hang in there, get to a total we thought would be defendable if we got it right with the ball," Finch said.

"Woakes is a brilliant exponent when there's seam early. We had to bowl them out, no issues there, but Buttler played a hell of an innings.

"We got off to a poor start, but a couple of days off to recharge, we'll dust ourselves off and come back for Bangladesh."

David Warner returned to form with a blistering half-century after Adam Zampa put Sri Lanka in a spin as Australia cruised to a seven-wicket T20 World Cup win.

Warner's place in the side had been called into question due to a lack of runs, but the opener silenced his critics a day after his 35th birthday as Australia made it two wins out two in the Super 12 stage.

Sri Lanka posted 154-6 after Aaron Finch won the toss and opted to field at Dubai International Stadium on Thursday, Kusal Perera and Charith Asalanka making 35 apiece before Bhanuka Rajapaksa added an unbeaten 33.

Spinner Zampa flummoxed the Sri Lanka batters, taking 2-12 from his four overs, while Mitchell Starc (2-27) and Pat Cummins (2-34) also did damage.

Josh Hazlewood played a big part with the ball once again without reward and Australia made light work of chasing down their target.

Warner was dropped on 18 but made 65 from 42 balls, and he and captain Finch (37 from 23) laid the platform with an explosive opening stand of 70 from only 6.5 overs.

Wanindu Hasaranga took 2-22, but Australia eased to their target with three overs to spare to join leaders England on four points in Group 1, Steve Smith making 28 not out and Marcus Stoinis unbeaten on 16.

 Zampa bamboozles Sri Lanka after promising start

Sri Lanka were going along nicely at 53-1 at the end of the powerplay, but they lost their way after the excellent Zampa had Asalanka caught on the sweep by Smith.

The guile of Zampa also saw the back of Avishka Fernando after Starc cleaned up Kusal with a searing yorker, as Sri Lanka lost four wickets for 16 runs.

Rajapaksa added some much-needed late runs, with Stoinis expensive, but Australia were left with a smaller chase than they might have been expecting.

 

Warner grateful for late Kusal gift

Warner had been dropped by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League and came into this game having scored only 17 runs in his previous five innings.

His frustrating spell would have continued if Kusal had not put down a simple catch behind the stumps and the powerful left-hander made him pay, hitting 10 fours to set his side well on their way to victory.

Finch was also due some runs and looked in ominous touch – bad news for Australia's rivals – as he cleared the rope twice before playing on to Hasaranga.

Australia captain Aaron Finch has confirmed he will open the batting with the out-of-form David Warner at the T20 World Cup.

Warner has made only two runs in as many innings for bottom side Sunrisers Hyderabad since the Indian Premier League resumed in the UAE, finding himself dropped for a second time in the tournament.

The 34-year-old lost the captaincy before the competition was halted in India due to the coronavirus pandemic and has not played a T20 for his country for over a year.

Finch expects to be ready for Australia's opening game of the T20 World Cup against South Africa in Dubai on October 23 as he recovers from knee surgery and the skipper has given his backing to Warner.

Asked if Warner will be his opening partner, he replied: "Yep, absolutely. He's one of the best players to ever play the game for Australia.

"I've got no doubt that his preparation, while he would love to be playing for Hyderabad no doubt, I know that he's still training away. He'll be good to go."

 

Finch went under the knife in August and has stepped up his rehabilitation with the World Cup fast approaching.

"Over the last couple of weeks my recovery has progressed really well so it's looking more and more likely that I'll be fit and ready to go for them," he said.

"And just in terms of the intensity that I've been able to train, the amount of accelerations, decelerations, putting load through my knee, that's all really positive. So, yeah, I've got no issues.

"I had probably my biggest session in terms of fielding, changing direction, and all that stuff with batting involved as well so that's gone as well as it could. I had a meeting with the surgeon yesterday and he was really happy with where it's at."

Lockdown restrictions have hampered Australia's preparations, but Finch is confident that should not be too much of an issue.

He said: "Training indoors or training just in the nets is no comparison obviously to game intensity so the two warm-up games and the lead-in to the World Cup is going to be really crucial.

"We get out of quarantine, I think there's three days of practice scheduled, and then two warm-up games, so they're going to be really important to get guys up to speed as quick as possible.

"But I've got a lot of confidence in the experience of the group. We've got guys who have come off long lay-offs before. We've got guys who have come off injuries before, and it's not really all that much different when you're trying to get yourself up to speed quickly.

"I think that will play into their hands and might allow us to be a little bit fresher, to be honest."

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