Roy onslaught sets up 79-run victory
England XI 174 for 6 (Roy 59, Hales 40) beat UAE XI 95 for 9 (Moeen 4-11) by 79 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
England warmed up for their three-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan later this week with a comfortable, if occasionally rusty, 79-run victory over a United Arab Emirates XI that ended up being an XVII.
The gulf between the sides was Persian in its magnitude, as a UAE squad featuring six uncapped players out of the 17 who took part at various stages of the game was restricted to 95 for 9 in reply to England's 174 for 6. The margin might well have been wider had it not been for a determined 23 from 22 balls from Fahad Tariq, who rescued his side from 61 for 8 before becoming Moeen Ali's fourth wicket of the innings in the final over of the match.
Despite their dominance, it was a lopsided display from England, in particular with the bat, as a new-look middle-order struggled to match the hectic tempo set by Jason Roy and Alex Hales, two of England's batting stars from last week's ODI series win.
The value of prior match experience in these conditions was amply demonstrated in the opening overs of the contest. With form and confidence to fall back on, Roy's innings started out as a homage to Jos Buttler's bruising exploits at Dubai on Friday, as he clobbered nine fours and two sixes to race to 59 from 29 balls, adding 92 for the first wicket with Hales inside the first seven overs.
But then, after bringing up his fifty with the second of his two sixes over long-on, Roy charged down the wicket to the left-arm spin of Ahmed Raza and would have been stumped by half the length of the pitch had he not instead been bowled.
His departure brought a shuddering halt to England's momentum. One over later, a disconsolate James Vince was trooping back to the dressing-room. He had run himself out going for an unwise second run and must fear that his four-ball 2 will represent the sum total of his time at the crease on this trip.
Hales was next to fall for 40, excellently caught at long-off off the legspin of Zaheer Maqsood, who had earlier had the same batsman dropped at deep midwicket on 12 and at 122 for 3 in the 13th over, England's designs on a 200-plus score were starting to be reassessed.
Moeen's 20 from 16 balls, with one four and one six, was a typically serene performance with a familiarly unfulfilling ending, as he was beaten in flight by Imran Haider and bowled by a hint of turn, whereupon the urge to dominate from the outset started to overwhelm the rest of the batting line-up.
Sam Billings was caught behind in Haider's next over, which ended up as a wicket maiden as a frantic Chris Jordan aimed air-shot after air-shot in his first innings since Sussex's County Championship relegation in September.
At the other end, Eoin Morgan, deprived of the strike, kept England ticking with two fours before bunting a full-toss from Mohammad Ayaz to midwicket, as England mustered 174 for 6 in their 20 overs, a decent total when taken as a whole, but an innings of two distinct halves - 92 for 0 in 39 balls, and 82 for 6 in the remaining 81.
It was never likely to be close, however. Jordan quickly made amends for his batting mishaps with two early breakthroughs, plucking out Syed Maqsood's leg stump in his first over before having Mohammed Kaleem caught by Reece Topley at mid-on in his second.
Topley himself bowled Abdul Shakoor for a duck and when Morgan removed Rameez Shahzad with a fine back-pedalling catch off Liam Plunkett, UAE were 31 for 4 and sinking fast.
England's spinners then took up the attack, not least Moeen, who finished with 4 for 11 off three overs. He had at one stage been on a hat-trick, but with the UAE captain Ahmed Raza in his sights, he diffused the tension with an easily negotiated full-toss. It was that sort of a game.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. He tweets @miller_cricket