Lions secure series with second win
England Lions 107 for 2 (Kieswetter 40*, Bell 32*) beat Pakistan A 106 (Riaz 28*, Rashid 3-13) by eight wickets
England Lions stormed to another victory over Pakistan A in the second Twenty20 at Sharjah to wrap up the series with one game still to play. In a repeat of their performance on Friday, the Lions spinners strangled Pakistan A's scoring, with James Tredwell and Adil Rashid combining to take four wickets for just 25 runs in eight tight overs as Pakistan were bowled out for a mediocre 106 one ball short of 20 overs. Craig Kieswetter and Ian Bell's unbeaten 50-run partnership for the third wicket then guided the Lions to their target in the 17th over.
The Lions pacemen found the going tough early in the opening game, but quickly made their mark today after Andrew Gale won his third toss of the tour. Following a one-over experiment with Tredwell, Chris Woakes, the young Warwickshire seamer, dismissed captain Mohammad Hafeez, who has played nine Twenty20 internationals, and Umair Khan in consecutive balls to reduce Pakistan to 14 for 2. .
After a brief recuperation, Aamer Sajjad shovelled Rashid to Gale at midwicket, and two balls later Tredwell bowled Shahzaib Hasan, who top-scored in the previous game, as Pakistan slipped to 39 for 4. With the bowlers restricting the scoring, the Pakistan batsmen were forced into a series of rash shots in an effort to get the momentum going, and in the process wickets continued to tumble.
Rashid had Kashif Siddiq and Asad Shafiq stumped, and after two more wickets in quick succession to Sajid Mahmood and Steve Kirby - the second courtesy of a diving catch by Woakes at third man - Pakistan were floundering at 68 for 8. Wahab Riaz, as he did in the first game, decided to play some shots but the end was nigh. Naeem Anjum perished in the late dash for runs, caught in the deep off Mahmood by Michael Lumb, who was also involved in the final wicket, his long throw to Woakes catching Yasir Shah short of his ground.
In reply England made a promising start with Steve Davies and Kieswetter unleashing an array of elegant strokes which disheartened the geed-up Pakistani fielders. Davies looked in particularly good touch with successive boundaries that pierced the covers off Tanvir Ahmed while Kieswetter carried on from the first Twenty20 match where he made an unbeaten 77 by powerfully driving Hafeez for a brace of fours.
There was a slight stutter after Davies lost his middle stump to Riaz and Lumb attempted to loft Rehman over the infield only to be athletically caught by a leaping Shah at midwicket. The Lions were faltering at 57 for two, but Ian Bell was calmness personified as he and Kieswetter brushed the threat aside. Bell rotated the strike to keep the score ticking over, as well as striking a four and a six, while Kieswetter went to a patient 40 as victory was secured with 23 balls remaining.
The Lions head to Abu Dhabi tomorrow to prepare for the third and final Twenty20 match against Pakistan A which is followed by a Twenty20 match against England on February 17.