England Lions defeat Pakistan A to claim T20 series

Monday 15th February 2010

England Lions, including Kent“s James Tredwell (pictured with Luke Wright), eased to a comfortable eight wicket victory over Pakistan A in Sharjah to wrap up the Twenty20 series 2-0 with one game to spare.

After winning the toss – his third of the tour – and electing to bowl first, captain Andrew Gale sprung a surprise by throwing the new ball to Tredwell who conceded just four runs in what proved to be a one over experiment.

Chris Woakes replaced Tredwell with immediate success, the Warwickshire seamer taking two wickets in as many balls to reduce Pakistan to 13 for two. He first lured Pakistan skipper Muhummad Hafeez to drive to Gale at mid-off, then next ball banged in a short ball which Umair Khan top-edged to Steve Davies at short fine leg. Woakes and Steve Kirby were disciplined during the power-play and restricted Pakistan to just five an over until Hassan cracked two boundaries in the seventh over to boost the total to 40 for two.

The introduction of spinners Rashid and Tredwell completely undermined the Pakistan innings as England took three wickets in as many overs. Rashid struck first in the eighth over when Aamir Sajjad shovelled to Gale at midwicket where the captain took an excellent tumbling catch. The economical Tredwell then bowled the dangerous Hassan before Rashid tempted Kashif Siddique down the track with Kieswetter completing a smart stumping to leave Pakistan 45 for five. The Rashid-Kieswetter partnership combined again in the 12th over as Pakistan slipped further into the mire, Asad Shafiq the latest batsmen to give way to temptation when a more cautious approach might have been wise.

Mahmood then became the third bowler to strike in his first over when Tanvir Ahmed hoiked to Michael Lumb at deep midwicket. Gloucestershire’s Steve Kirby, was celebrating in the next over, the 16th, when a diving Woakes pulled off a stunning catch at third man to dismiss Abdur Rehman as Pakistan threatened to crumble at 69 for eight.

Wahab Riaz, as he did in the first game, decided to play some shots but the end was nigh. Naeem Anjum perished in the late dash for runs, caught in the deep off Mahmood by the reliable Lumb who was involved in the final wicket, his long throw to Woakes catching Yasir Shah short of his ground.

In reply England made a promising start with Steve Davies and Kieswetter unleashing an array of elegant strokes which disheartened the geed-up Pakistani fielders. Davies looked in particularly good touch with successive boundaries that pierced the covers off Ahmed while Kieswetter carried on from the first Twenty20 match where he made an unbeaten 77 by powerfully driving Hafeez for a pair of fours.

England Lions suffered a setback when Davies lost his middle stump to Riaz but new batsman Lumb relieved any pressure by driving his first ball serenely for four. 30 year old Lumb cracked two more boundaries but on reaching 13 attempted to loft Rehman over the infield only to be athletically caught by a leaping Shah at midwicket.

Pakistan sniffed blood with England Lions faltering on 57 for two but Bell was calmness personified as he and Kieswetter brushed the threat aside. The Warwickshire man rotated the strike to keep the score ticking over while Kieswetter played a patient innings. Victory was secured with 23 balls remaining.

England Lions now head to Abu Dhabi to prepare for the third and final Twenty20 match against Pakistan A which is followed by a Twenty20 match against England on 17th February.