Pakistan A 149 for 3 (Iftikhar 66*, Azam 53*, Ball 2-27) beat England Lions 145 for 6 (Malan 51, Asif 2-27, Yamin 2-29) by seven wickets Scorecard
An unbroken century stand between Iftikhar Ahmed and Babar Azam helped Pakistan A to a seven-wicket win in the first unofficial T20I against England Lions at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
Dawid Malan top-scored with 51 from 44 balls, including three fours and three sixes, for the Lions and they looked to be in control when Pakistan A slipped to 25 for 3 in the fifth over. However, Iftikhar and Azam, both of whom featured in the recent ODI series against England, successfully regrouped with unbeaten half-centuries as they finished off the chase with an over to spare.
Jake Ball claimed the scalps of Shahzaib Hasan and Sohaib Maqsood in the space of three balls after Reece Topley had found Fakhar Zaman's edge in the opening over of the innings. But with canny strike rotation and selective hitting, particularly against the spin pairing of Liam Dawson and Stephen Parry, Pakistan A's fourth-wicket pair turned the tide.
Iftikhar struck two fours and three sixes in 66 not out while Azam finished unbeaten on 53, with six fours and a six.
With the World Twenty20 looming in March, the Lions fielded four members of the team that beat Pakistan 3-0 last month - and it would almost certainly have been a fifth had it not been for the decision to allow David Willey to take up an offer to play for Perth Scorchers in Australia's Big Bash League.
James Vince, who impressed in each of his three innings for the senior team, fared less well as the Lions captain on this occasion. He fell in the second over of the match for 2, bowled by the impressive Aamer Yamin, who delivered a similar knockout to Jason Roy in Sharjah last week to claim a wicket with the first ball of his T20I career.
Tom Westley made 11 from 17 balls before being stumped off the bowling of Bilal Asif, but the arrival of Sam Billings at No. 4 helped to kick England's innings into action. He made 31 from 21 balls, with three fours and a six, and added 47 for the third wicket with Malan in the space of 6.1 overs.
Two overs later, Billings became Bilal's second victim as he holed out to midwicket but Ross Whiteley ensured that the Lions' tempo was maintained in the closing overs with two sixes in a 15-ball 22. His stay was ended by a Rumman Raees slower ball, and Raees then added his second with the penultimate ball of the innings to remove Joe Clarke for 15.
The second of the five-match series will take place under lights in Dubai on Thursday.