England Physical Disability lost by five wickets to Pakistan in a tense first of three Twenty20 internationals between the sides in Dubai, two of which are being played today.
Facing opponents who beat them in both limited-overs formats at the same location two years ago, EPD posted 130 for nine as Ollie Barton top-scored with 28.
Despite two wickets for Steve Braithwaite, captain Hasnain Alam’s 30 and 43 from Rao Javed helped Pakistan reach their target with three balls to spare at the ICC Global Cricket Academy.
The second game is later today and the third tomorrow, with all three being streamed live on the ECB's YouTube channel.
England captain Jimmy Williams chose to bat first on a green wicket and Alex Hammond, opening alongside fellow international debutant Iain Nairn, managed a boundary in the first over to settle his nerves. However, Nairn was lbw to Jahanzaib Tiwana in a 17-ball second over that featured 10 wides.
Hammond and Callum Flynn, England's most consistent batsman, kept scoring at around eight an over throughout the first six. Flynn hit a couple of well-timed, well-placed boundaries but played on for 15 to end a partnership of 35, the highest of the innings.
The introduction of spin made scoring more and more difficult and between the 10th and 15th overs England managed to compile only 26 runs, losing three wickets in the process.
With the score 89 for six at the beginning of the 16th over, Barton’s aggressive approach lifted England to a reasonable total.
The reply was explosive to say the least, Jordan Williams' first ball of the innings being dispatched to the boundary to set the tone. A similar fate awaited Fred Bridges’ opening delivery, only this time it went for a maximum. Prolific duo Matoob Qureshi and Hasnain were the batsmen to profit.
Despite Pakistan’s early impetus, England looked organised and their fielding was quicker and stronger than in the past. They were rewarded in Braithwaite's first over when Qureshi drove early and was sharply caught at short cover.
Although Hasnain continued to show his class as he unfurled two exquisite cover-drives to keep Pakistan slightly ahead of the required rate, Altaf Ahmed fell in Braithwaite's next over - lbw to a rising ball.
Wicketkeeper Danesh Ahmed was the next to depart when he was smartly caught behind by Liam Thomas close up. The big wicket of Hasnain then came when he drove uppishly at off-spinner Dan Reynaldo and was comfortably caught at cover by Flynn. That made it 85 for four with seven overs remaining.
Bridges returned to bowl two very tidy overs and, with support from Reynaldo, it left Pakistan needing 31 runs from four overs.
Tiwana was going well with his score on 28, although he was lucky to survive when he spooned a ball into the air only to find an empty space.
Tiwana finally went to a good catch from Barton, but by then just six were required from eight deliveries.