Overton's assault can't save Lions

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

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 “afoot 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, Westley and 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.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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