UAE XI v England Lions, Dubai January 16, 2016

Overton's assault can't save Lions

ESPNcricinfo staff

UAE XI 223 for 8 (Patil 50, Plunkett 3-29) beat England Lions 222 for 9 (Vince 58, Overton 57*) by two wickets
Scorecard

Jamie Overton's big-hitting 50 was followed by an injury scare © Getty Images

England Lions had a setback ahead of their forthcoming one-day series against Pakistan A when they lost narrowly to a United Arab Emirates XI in a match that went into the final over.

The Lions looked in control when the UAE XI lost their eighth wicket with 38 still needed from 41 deliveries, but it was their last setback as they squeezed home from the second ball of the final over for an uplifting victory. The spoils in the two games were shared 1-1 after the Lions won the first contest by five wickets.

Rohan Mustafa and the captain Ahmed Raza secured a win with a ninth-wicket stand which will be a major lift ahead of an Intercontinental Cup fixture against the Netherlands next week.

The UAE XI were helped by an injury to Jamie Overton, who had a day of mixed fortunes, smashing a half-century - his 22 off the final over including five consecutive boundaries - but then leaving the field for treatment after bowling only four overs.

Overton's concern over what was described as "a foot twinge" was soon played down, but in his absence the Lions were unable to force victory as they fielded seven bowlers .

Overton hopes to be fit for the start of the five-match series against Pakistan A on Wednesday. "It's nothing to worry about, hopefully," he said. "I felt a bit of pain on my back foot, around the little toe. I could have gone back on if needs be. But it was a warm-up game and I felt like I was bowling all right so I didn't really need to go back out there."

Overton could easily have picked up a wicket or two with the new ball, but Muhammad Kaleem and Mohammad Shahzad gave UAE a sound start which was then built on with Swapnil Patel's 51-ball 50.

Only in the last 15 overs did the Lions attack crank up the pressure, with Liam Plunkett taking three wickets in as many overs in his first game of the tour. Ball took two wickets in consecutive overs, and Plunkett three in three in an impressive first appearance of the tour.

UAE also bowled well, with tall seamer Amjad Javed exploiting the morning dampness to send back Dawid Malan, Tom Westley and Sam Billings in his first four overs.

James Vince stroked 58 from 56 balls, his second consecutive half-century against UAE. But when Ben Foakes went for 29 the Lions were struggling at 141 for 8.

Overton must have hoped his intervention had done enough to turn things around. He signalled his intentions by launching a leg-side six into the midst of a junior football match on an adjacent pitch. "I was a bit wary of the football going on but luckily the ball was in the other half," he said.

He cleared the boundary again before a late rush of boundaries brought his first half-century in an England shirt and also his first in 50-over cricket. It was a reminder of his assault against Yorkshire at Taunton last May when he reached his half-century from only 18 balls in a last-wicket stand of 76 with his twin brother Craig.

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  • CricketingStargazer on January 18, 2016, 13:00 GMT

    The Plunkett question is now moot as he has been called up to replace Steve Finn. I am with the people who wondered why Liam Plunkett wasn't in the squad to begin with, however, having got some competitive cricket (although a loss to the UAE must rate with some of the worst embarrassments that England and its shadow squad have suffered in recent years) will stand him in good stead for South Africa. The Lions squad has always been about (a) developing young talent and (b) having likely reserves for the main squad playing cricket. Lyth, Robson & Bell are not likely to have been called-up if there had been an injury crisis (usually we have 2 or 3 players on alert to stay fit in case they are needed and, if they are with the Lions, so much the better).

  • landl47 on January 18, 2016, 2:21 GMT

    @R_U_4: Well, I agree with you about Plunkett. This will be more useful to him than warming the bench in SA. It's when you say: 'we know what Woakes can do' that we part company. Do we? He's played 5 tests spread over 2 1/2 years. He had a decent game in the first test against SA (it wasn't his fault Amla was dropped off his bowling) where he was the fastest bowler on either side in the match. He had to make way for Anderson, but why would he now make way for Footitt or Plunkett? Compare his FC record at age 26 with theirs at age 30, which is what they both are. For some reason, maybe because he isn't a loudmouth, he's the guy who always has to make way. I think he'll make a fine England bowler once he's given an extended run in the side and his batting isn't a drawback, it's a bonus. Footitt, I'll predict now, will find taking wickets in Div. 1 a whole different ballgame. Plunkett's a decent reserve but no more than that. Give Woakes a chance.

  • Harris652 on January 17, 2016, 14:14 GMT

    @Yorkshire-86 Surely the Lions is about working with players close to England teams in all 3 formats. Lyth , Robson and Bell aren't in contention for ODIs. This was a 50 over match.

  • yorkshire-86 on January 17, 2016, 13:03 GMT

    What is the point of this team selection? Vince, Malan and Westley? Surely the Lions should be about working with players who are close to the Test team? Lyth, Robson and Bell should be the top three for the Lions.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on January 17, 2016, 11:59 GMT

    @FieryFerg (post on January 16, 2016, 20:39 GMT): Would sitting on the benches in South Africa have been any better for Plunkett than getting actual game practice? I'm not so sure. Yes he could have bowled in the nets, and maybe he makes better tea than Jordan/Woakes/Patel (LOL)... But for whatever reason(s) he [Plunkett] seems to be lower in the pecking order than Woakes, and maybe even Jordan. It is a shame as Plunkett's a good, underrated bowler, but England seem obsessed with favouring bowlers who offer something more with batting and/or fielding. Woakes will probably get the nod again for last game even though it's dead rubber and we already know what Woakes can do; I think that's a shame and would rather get a look at Footitt (or Plunkett if he'd been there!).

  • FieryFerg on January 16, 2016, 20:39 GMT

    More proof that Plunkett should have been in SA rather than Jordan and Woakes. If yer face fits, etc...

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