England Lions 159 for 3 (Kieswetter 77*, Bell 48) beat Pakistan A 157 for 7 (Shahzaib Hasan 57) by seven wickets
Craig Kieswetter underlined his potential with an unbeaten 77 off 52 balls as England Lions completed a comprehensive seven-wicket victory in their first Twenty20 match against Pakistan A. Ian Bell made 48 as he added 115 for the third wicket with Kieswetter as the Lions made light work of their chase and won with 14 balls to spare.
Kieswetter launched the pursuit in style as he pulled Tanveer Ahmed for six and added three further maximums in his innings including one that landed in the stands above the changing rooms. His effort ensured the Lions comfortably overcame the loss of two wickets in two balls after Wahab Riaz bowled Steven Davies and Michael Lumb.
Kieswetter qualifies for England next week having completed his four-year qualification period after moving from South Africa and is tipped to challenge for a place in the full Twenty20 and one-day line-up in the near future. Bell, meanwhile, is trying to earn a one-day recall and his 44-ball innings provided calm support, allowing Kieswetter to play his shots, before he fell with eight runs needed for victory.
The Lions spinners had earlier played a key role in restricting Pakistan A as James Tredwell and Adil Rashid bowled their combined eight overs for 38 after the pacemen had found the going tougher. Steve Kirby bowled a single over that cost 13 and Sajid Mahmood's four overs went for more than 10 an over.
Shahzaib Hasan, who has played four Twenty20 internationals, top-scored for Pakistan A with 57 off 55 balls but no one could stay with him for very long as the innings stuttered along. Rashid impressed with his control as he had Umair Khan caught at deep midwicket and bowled Aamir Sajjad round his legs.
Hasan's innings was ended by a sharp piece of fielding from Kieswetter, who was playing as a specialist batsman, when he swooped from mid-off to complete a run out. Pakistan A were given a late boost as Ahmed and Naeem Anjum crashed 42 off the final 14 deliveries, but it still wasn't enough to seriously challenge the Lions.
"It was a good win - the boys played well. Its always good to get off to a good start and I'm pleased with the way it went," Andrew Gale, the Lions captain, said. "We didn't bowl that well up front but Chris Woakes pulled it back nicely and then the spinners tied them down. They bowled with great control and variation. I was pleased with them both. I thought they were 20 or 30 short.
"Craig Kieswetter and Steve Davies set the tone which was important. Both Bell and Kieswetter timed their innings really well. Craig was exceptional is deciding when to take their bowlers down. He played good cricket shots and showed how mature he is. We can improve. We haven't nailed it up front with the ball or at the death so we will sit down and review that and look where to improve. "