Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

Fine Catch From Clarke As Lions Make Winning Start To 50 Over Series

Fine Catch From Clarke As Lions Make Winning Start To 50 Over Series

Joe Clarke and Ross Whiteley were part of the England Lions side which defeated Pakistan 'A' by five wickets in the opening 50 over clash in Dubai today.

The Worcestershire duo had bit-part roles in the Lions triumph in the first game of the best of five series.

Clarke took two catches during the Pakistan 'A' innings after they had been put into bat by skipper James Vince and were dismissed for 192 in 47 overs.

He held onto chances offered by Umar Siddiq (18) and Bilal Asif (11).

Clarke caught Siddiq at short extra cover off Craig Overton and then pulled off a fine catch at deep mid wicket to dismiss Asif off Jake Ball.

The 19-year-old went into bat at number six and made six from 14 balls with one boundary before he was caught behind.

Whiteley was at the wicket when victory was secured and finished four not out from seven balls with one four.

Vince led from the front as the Lions bounced back from a double injury blow.

Jamie Overton was ruled out for the whole series with a foot injury, and Liam Plunkett was also unavailable for the opener because of a thigh strain. But they responded with an excellent bowling and fielding display.

Vince then top-scored with 70 from 83 balls and Sam Billings, who will also link up next month with England’s T20 squad in South Africa, added a restrained unbeaten 35 to steer the Lions home with five wickets and almost nine overs to spare.

Surrey’s Tom Curran, who made such a positive impression as the Lions sealed a T20 series against Pakistan A before Christmas, made the first breakthrough with the new ball and returned to claim the last two wickets for figures of three for 29 from eight overs.

One of the wickets was an athletic caught and bowled and Curran also took a diving one-handed effort at backward point to give Tom Westley the first of two wickets in eight probing overs of off-spin which included two maidens. Ball also took two wickets.

It was a day of mixed fortunes for the Overton twins. Before Christmas Craig had been ruled out of the T20 series with an elbow injury, while Jamie played in four of the five matches.

Now it is Jamie who will head home early with soft tissue damage in his right foot, while Craig marked his first List A Lions appearance for two years by taking two for 33.

Vince and Dawid Malan gave the Lions a perfect start in reply with an opening stand of 103 in 21 overs.

Malan, another who impressed in the T20 series, stroked five boundaries before edging a cut at the left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz to go for 41 from 62 balls.

The impressive Nawaz then bowled Westley for a golden duck and when Vince was given run out in the 28th over, the Lions had slipped to 125 for three.

But Billings and Liam Dawson steadied the ship with a fourth-wicket stand of 43, and although Dawson fell for 29 when he picked out deep square leg with a hook, Billings sealed the win with only his second boundary.

The series continues on Friday.