England got their Deaf ICC Championship account off to a winning start as they defeated Pakistan by 16 runs at the ICC Academy Oval in Dubai.
Debutant Alun Evans starred with the bat in the 50-over fixture after Pakistan opted to field first having won the toss.
Evans was one of three players to make their England Deaf debut in today’s game, with Lancashire’s Luke Hughes and Essex player Dean Bedford also featuring for the first time.
England found themselves under pressure early on when opener Umesh Valjee was dismissed by Adnan Ghani in the first over. James Schofield then joined Evans at the crease and the pair proceeded to post a second-wicket stand of 61.
Evans was eventually dismissed for 76 to end a memorable first innings for his country.
Captain Paul Allen added 26 off 40 deliveries and England finished up 191 all out on the last ball.
Pakistan showed intent from the start in their innings with Mudasser Nazir scoring 55 and Qammer Naveed notching up 45 but Jimmy Dixon was destructive with the ball for England, taking four for 22.
Dixon’s man-of-the-match display and a brace from both Allen and Matt Clinton, along with a wicket each for Stephen George and Bedford, secured the win as Pakistan were bowled out for 175.
England captain Allen was impressed by his team’s performance: “I’m delighted with the win and I think the boys showed great character in defending 191.
“Alun Evans played exceptionally well to get 76 and Jimmy Dixon bowled superbly to get four wickets for 22 to ensure the victory.
“We still have room for improvement and are looking forward to our next match against India on Saturday.”
England Deaf team v Pakistan
Paul Allen – captain
England 2016 Deaf ICC Championship fixtures
9 March: England Deaf v South Africa, ICC Academy Oval 1, Dubai (abandoned due to bad weather)
10 March: England Deaf v Pakistan, ICC Academy Oval 2, Dubai (England win by 16 runs)
12 March: England Deaf v India, ICC Academy Oval 1, Dubai
14 March: Third v fourth play-off, ICC Academy Oval 1, Dubai
14 March: Final, ICC Academy Oval 2, ICC Academy Oval 2, Dubai