Mahmood stars as Lions spoil Perth opening

Cricket





Saqib Mahmood in action for Lancashire © Getty Images

England Lions team held their nerve to beat a strong Perth Scorchers line-up and become the first ever winners at the new multi-sports stadium.

The Lions were given the honour of playing the first match at the 55,000-capacity Perth Stadium which is due to stage England’s ODI against Australia in the New Year.

After a difficult few days for England cricket, there was finally cause for some satisfaction as the Lions beat a Scorchers team who are preparing to launch their defence of a Big Bash title they have won three times in the last four years.

The Scorchers included England’s ODI regular David Willey, as well as Australian internationals Hilton Cartwright, Andrew Tye, Ashton Agar and Adam Voges.

Lions captain Keaton Jennings said: “It’s been an intense few days for all of us but winning a game always puts some smiles back on faces. It was an awesome experience for all of us playing in the Coliseum they’ve created here, and I thought the boys did really well to beat a very strong and experienced Scorchers side.”

The Lions managed 160 for 6 in this Twenty20 affair on a pitch that Jennings assessed as “not easy to bat on” and ran out winners by 12 runs as Scorchers ended on 148 for 9, their challenge cut short by Lancashire’s promising young quick bowler Saqib Mahmood who finished with 4 for 14.

The Lions return for a Day-Nighter on Wednesday.

A consistent Lions batting display helped see off Willey, who ended with 3 for 32 from his four overs, with Liam Livingstone top-scoring with 36 from 30 balls.

Mahmood then gave the Lions’ defence the perfect start when he trapped the dangerous Josh Philippe lbw with the first ball of the Scorchers’ reply. He later returned to skittle the lower order as Agar was bowled for a duck, and Willey holed out at deep midwicket.

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