Vince and Curran star in Lions victory
England Lions 194 for 5 (Vince 70) beat Pakistan 192 (Alam 51, T Curran 3-29) by five wickets
England Lions took the opening match of their one-day series against Pakistan by five wickets with an efficient all-round display in Dubai. The captain James Vince starred with a brisk 70 as England chased down 193 with nearly nine overs to spare after success in the field had been shared around.
Tom Curran claimed 3 for 29, including Pakistan A's top-scorer Fawad Alam with a sharp caught and bowled, while there were two wickets apiece for Jake Ball, Tom Westley and Craig Overton as the absence of Jamie Overton and Liam Plunkett due to injury was covered impressively.
The chase was given an ideal start as Vince and Dawid Malan added 103 in 20 overs before Mohammad Nawaz stuck in consecutive deliveries. Vince could not take the chance for three figures when he was run out, meaning England had lost 3 for 22 in seven overs, but any danger of a collapse was averted by Sam Billings and Liam Dawson who took their side close to victory.
Curran had made an early breakthrough after England had opted to bowl first when he removed Sami Aslam, then when Ball and Overton struck in consecutive overs Pakistan A were 49 for 3.
Engalnd's fielding was impressive with Curran holding a terrific catch at backward point to remove Abid Ali before grabbing the return catch off Alam later in the innings, while Joe Clarke was alert at deep midwicket to take the chance offered by Bilal Asif.
The spinners had a key role to play, the combined 18 overs between Westley and Liam Dawson returning 3 for 70 as Pakistan A struggled to lift the tempo amid a regular fall of wickets. Their highest partnership was the 37 added for the sixth wicket between Alam and Mohammad Hasan.