Alex Hales celebrated the end of his international exile with a decisive half-century as EnglandThe first match in Pakistan for almost 17 years ended with a win in the first T20.

The opener scored 53 off 40 balls in his first England match since March 2019, when he was dropped for a failed drugs test, and marked the end of his time in the wilderness by leading a six-wicket haul.

England had done well earlier, restricting the hosts to 158 for seven in front of a sellout crowd of 35,000. KarachiNational Stadium, where debutant Luke Wood took an impressive three for 24.

Hales, back in his old starting slot, took his team to within 17 of the winning line and reached seven overs before moving to the middle and the end was in sight. Harry Brook finished with a smooth 42 not out, including a match-winning four in the final over.

Hales’ oft-discussed comeback started modestly, Naseem Shah slipping one to the keeper as he went hard outside. However, he was more assertive in the follow-up, smashing the next ball through cover point for four.

Phil Salthis rival for a place at next month’s World Cup, got off to an even more buoyant start when he hit the ropes off the first ball of the innings, only to be brilliantly caught by Hyder Ali after a medium pull to deep square.

Hales eased a few more boundaries through the covers, back into a familiar groove, taking England to 47 for one at half-time. Hales was involved in a pair of 34-run stands as the target fell steadily, only for Usman Qadir to complete both.

Brooke and Moen led England to victory

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David Malan (20) was caught and dropped just after launching the leg opener for a six and Ben Duckett made an enterprising 21 before falling lbw in the sweep.

One ball earlier Shan Masood dropped Hales to long-on in the 28th over and the new Brook was lucky when an early exit chance was missed. Hales looked relieved to reach 50, a moment that would never have come without Eoin Morgan’s retirement or Jonny Bairstow’s dreaded injury, but seconds later he found a simple hook.

Brook ensured there was no drama, helping himself to seven fours in a blistering 25-ball cameo.

Mohammad Rizwan (68) was sent to Pakistan. Babar Azam (31), earning on a lightning field field. I especially liked them David Willeywho failed to get his usual swing with the new ball as he conceded 26 from two expensive overs at the top.

Lancashire left-armer Wood performed well, conceding just 12 off his first two overs and managing a stifled LBW appeal against Rizwan, but Pakistan slipped past 50 off the last ball of the sixth over.

Wood impressed on his England debut, taking three wickets

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Rizwan welcomed the switch to spin with a ping Moen Ali back over the head for six, but Adil Rashid’s arrival did the trick as the 10th googly skimmed across the surface and bounced Babar to mid-on and off the stumps.

Pakistan never quite got back to their best after the first innings fell apart, scoring 71 for the loss of six wickets in the second half of the innings. Rizwan was the key man, reaching his half-century in 32 balls with a six off Rashid, but Haider was run out by Sam Curran.

England were on top when Rizwan was bowled by Moen, who dropped one down after spotting the batsman’s charge. Wicketkeeper Salt tried to steal another wild off the next delivery, drifting behind Iftikhar Ahmed after a wide call, before clicking the bail and appealing.

He looked displeased when the umpires ruled the ball dead, but didn’t bother. He would still be disappointed with Iftikhar’s total of 28 runs, including three sixes. He was eventually dismissed by Wood, who was entrusted with the final delivery and responded with two late scalps.

The 27-year-old had earlier started his tally by plucking Mohammad Nawaz off the off-stump.

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