UAE v Lancashire, Pro Arch Trophy, Sharjah March 14, 2008

Flintoff rested for Lancashire victory

Graham Hardcastle in Sharjah

Lancashire 276 for 7 (Loye 83, Croft 45, Saqib 3-45) beat UAE 198 (Saqib 61, Marshall 3-35) by 78 runs

Mal Loye hits out on his way to 83 © arabian
Andrew Flintoff was made to wait for his competitive comeback from a fourth ankle operation but that didn't bother Lancashire, who opened their Pro Arch Trophy campaign with a comprehensive 78-run victory over UAE in Sharjah.

Flintoff is almost certain to feature in his county's second game, against Essex at the same venue on Sunday after being left out through nothing more than a selection decision. He could even bowl after coming through a week of nets without any problems.

Mal Loye, who was making his own comeback from a slipped disc in his back, claimed the Man-of-the-Match award with 83 off 103 balls as Lancashire compiled 276 for 7 from their fifty overs.

Mark Chilton and Paul Horton notched 33 and 32 respectively, before youngster Steven Croft smashed two huge sixes in a late 45. Croft's fellow allrounder Tom Smith did the same in 15 from 11 balls. UAE captain Saqib Ali impressed with his left-arm spin to claim 3 for 45 from eight overs.

Dominic Cork (2 for 26) and Sajid Mahmood shared three early wickets to paralyse UAE's response, before the new Lancashire captain Stuart Law juggled his bowlers. Simon Marshall, the legspinner, then impressed with 3 for 35. Saqib was able to add to his productive day with a lone stand of 61 in his side's 198 all out.

UAE had given Essex a scare in the competition opener on Wednesday evening, falling ten short of 267. Loye admitted later that Lancashire were expecting a tougher challenge, but were "pleased" with their overall performance.