Kieswetter and Lumb lead Lions victory
England Lions 158 for 5 (Kieswetter 81, Lumb 58*, Sidebottom 2-30) beat England 157 for 6 (Wright 42, Rashid 3-22) by five wickets
Michael Lumb struck two boundaries from the final two balls as England Lions gave their senior colleagues a rude awakening at the start of their tour of UAE. Alongside a dashing 81 from Craig Kieswetter, Lumb ensured that Adil Rashid's crucial three wicket burst didn't go to waste as the Lions completed their fourth win in five games on tour.
Having qualified to play for England on Tuesday, Kieswetter issued another stark reminder of his talent and pushed his case for a spot at the top of England's order. Opening with Lumb, he started watchfully and was fortunate to be given a life while on 4, when Stuart Broad dropped a simple chance at mid off. While Kieswetter was still finding his feet, Lumb was more expansive, clubbing his way to 40 from 29 balls, before a Broad bouncer struck him in the face and forced him to retire hurt.
Despite losing captain Andrew Gale and Ian Bell soon after, Kieswetter held his nerve, running hard and picking off the occasional boundary to keep the required rate in check. He reached his third fifty of the tour but England bowled better in the latter stages, picking up wickets and squeezing the scoring rate.
With 33 needed from the final 18 balls it looked like England would sneak a victory but Kieswetter counterattacked and Lumb returned after Michael Carberry fell to Ryan Sidebottom to pick up from where the opening partnership had left off. They took the score to within 13 of victory, when Sidebottom struck the crucial blow to remove Kieswetter.
It left Lumb with a daunting task of 14 needed from Luke Wright's final over with Peter Trego on strike. Trego went first ball, caught by Joe Denly, but did manage to return the strike to Lumb. He struck a boundary from the second ball and a two off the third to bring up his fifty before finishing it in style with two boundaries.
It was due reward for the Lions after Rashid removed Paul Collingwood, Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan in three overs to leave England floundering at 68 for 5. It was timely a reminder to the selectors after he was replaced by James Tredwell for the senior tour to Bangladesh.
Having struggled in South Africa this is an important tour for Pietersen and after struggling for timing early on he struck a couple of boundaries including one straight down the ground off Rashid. The next ball he tried to repeat the shot but was caught in the deep by Chris Woakes as England stumbled.
It took two bristling innings, first from Matt Prior and then Luke Wright, to save them from real embarrassment. Prior timed the ball sweetly during his innings of 33 before he was stumped off Steven Finn. It was an important innings for Prior who will feel the pressure of Kieswetter, especially after his runs today, creeping up on his place.
Wright endured a Test tour of drinks-carrying in South Africa, but enjoyed being back in the thick of the action. He was severe on all the bowlers, slashing five fours and heaving two sixes over the legside boundary in his 21-ball 42.
It lifted England up to a competitive total but with Kieswetter's power at the top of the order for the Lions meant it wasn't enough. Speaking after the game, Kieswetter told reporters that his upbringing playing hockey in South Africa has shaped his approach to opening the batting in cricket.
"I played field hockey when I was younger and that probably comes into the technique a bit," he said. "Usually I just swing from the hip as hard as I can. I like to think I can hit the ball hard but I don't like to see myself as a slogger. In other forms of the game, like 50 overs, I'd like to think I can bat through and help win games. You have to weigh up a brand new ball against the field restrictions but I quite like the fact that there are only two men out (of the ring) in the first six overs."