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Lions fall despite Kieswetter efforts

Craig Kieswetter spoke to ECBtv after the four-wicket defeat in Abu Dhabi

England Lions’ hopes of a series whitewash were ended by a narrow defeat in the final Twenty20 match against Pakistan A in Abu Dhabi.

They lost by four wickets off the penultimate ball of the game at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium despite a valiant late fightback in the field.

Set 147 to win after Craig Kieswetter extended his stunning form with a rapid half-century, Pakistan A appeared on course for a comfortable victory as Umair Khan and Aamer Sajjad enjoyed a profitable fourth-wicket stand.

Craig Kieswetter

Craig Kieswetter took his run tally to 198 in four games thanks to a rapid half-century for England Lions in Abu Dhabi today

However, Steve Kirby returned to the attack to remove both in successive overs, for 49 and 23 respectively, before Sajid Mahmood’s run-out of Naeem Anjum off the first ball of the final over left Pakistan A needing six off the last five balls.

Tanvir Ahmed struck the crucial boundary, though, at Mahmood’s expense to clinch a consolation win for Pakistan A following comprehensive defeats in the opening two matches.

Kirby finished with 3-33, and there was a wicket apiece for Steven Finn and Adil Rashid, but the Lions will be left to reflect on a total marginally below par.

No-one could match Kieswetter’s fluency as he compiled a fluent 50 off just 32 balls in a total of 146 for four.

His contribution came on the back of innings of 31, 77 not out and an unbeaten 40 in the Lions’ three contests on tour, and further enhanced his burgeoning reputation ahead of their clash with the England senior Twenty20 side tomorrow.

His fruitful opening alliance with Steven Davies yielded 58 runs inside six overs after Pakistan A won the toss.

Abdur Rehman followed up his dismissal of Davies, caught at mid-on for 17, by having Kieswetter stumped by Anjum shortly after he brought up a stylish half-century. The slow left-armer finished with 2-21 off four overs.

Kieswetter smashed five fours and three sixes, two over long-off - one landed at the foot of the floodlight pylon 40 yards beyond the boundary - while the third cleared the midwicket boundary by some distance.

England’s momentum was checked again when Michael Lumb was trapped in front attempting to sweep Mohammad Hafeez in the over following Kieswetter’s departure, but captain Andrew Gale did his best to ensure the loss of Ian Bell for 17 caused the minimum disturbance.

The left-hander made an unbeaten run-a-ball 36, marshalling a late-innings charge that saw Peter Trego hit a rapid 14 not out, as they added 29 off the last 22 balls to carry England to a challenging total.