Lions claim England scalp
Craig Kieswetter’s confident 81 led England Lions to a surprise five-wicket win over England in the Twenty20 warm-up in Abu Dhabi today.
Johannesburg-born wicketkeeper Kieswetter, on his second day as an England-qualified player, continued his astonishing form on tour with a boundary-strewn 62-ball knock as the shadow side chased down 158 to win on the final ball.
Michael Lumb hit successive boundaries at the death to secure the result while Adil Rashid, left out of the full squad after a disappointing time in South Africa, also caught the eye with 3-22 in England’s innings.
The Lions’ first six came 13 overs earlier than their opponents’, Lumb hitting Ryan Sidebottom over the top in the third over.
Stuart Broad then gave Kieswetter a life on four, completely misreading a skier at mid-off to deny Sidebottom an important breakthrough.
Lumb made much of the early scoring, launching Tim Bresnan for another mighty six in the fifth over.
Kieswetter joined in with a maximum of his own off Luke Wright, clearing the ropes on the leg-side and equalling the number of sixes in the England innings after only seven of the reply.
By the time 10 overs had gone, the Lions were fully in control on 81 without loss.
England captain Paul Collingwood tossed the ball to the unlikely figure of Joe Denly and the increasingly confident Kieswetter responded with a crisp driven four, his fourth of the day.
Lumb had made 40 when he retired, led from the pitch clutching his face after being struck on the helmet by Broad.
Kieswetter pressed on past 50, striking a second muscular six on the way.
But Andrew Gale, Ian Bell and Michael Carberry all failed to stick with Kieswetter as the first XI hit back, prompting Lumb to return to the crease.
Despite the pain he drilled his first ball back for four and Kieswetter followed with successive boundaries off Bresnan.
Kieswetter fell just before the end, leaving his tally for the tour at 281 runs, and leaving 14 to win off the final over in this match.
It was a target Lumb saw the Lions to with aplomb. Needing eight from Wright’s last two deliveries, the Hampshire left-hander flicked the first four off his legs and followed with another boundary.
Alastair Cook, the appointed captain for England’s impending Test and one-day tour of Bangladesh, who led England as a stand-in in their last Twenty20 international, could not make the England XI today. Denly was given the nod instead.
England started scratchily after winning the toss, Denly departing meekly in the first over at the hands of Steven Finn.
Opening partner Jonathan Trott appeared to find his feet before top-edging Steve Kirby behind for 24.
Rashid removed Collingwood for one in his second over, the captain lofting high into the off side where Chris Woakes held on.
At the halfway stage of the innings, England were a disappointing 55 for three.
Kevin Pietersen looked to break the shackles by hitting Rashid back over his head for four but moments later he mistimed a lofted drive to hand Woakes a third catch in the deep.
Rashid was enjoying himself, having Eoin Morgan lbw two balls later to leave England on a perilous 68 for five.
With five overs to go England had reached 96, and the lively Matt Prior took them past three figures with the first six of the match off Peter Trego.
He survived a caught-behind appeal off what looked like a no-ball to make 33, before Finn returned to account for him.
Wright’s aggressive hitting, including two sixes, helped England to 45 off the final three overs and past the 150-mark.
It was a day for upsets, as in the earlier match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Pakistan A pulled off a seven-wicket win over Pakistan.
Providing Shahid Afridi’s side with practice ahead of Friday's Twenty20 international, the second-string side chased down Pakistan’s 144 with three balls left.
Captain Mohammad Hafeez hit 48 and Asad Shafiq 41 for Pakistan A.