Dubai: Pakistan's Major Husnain Alam and Matloob Quraishi cracked centuries to steer their country to an exciting 79-run victory over England in the first game of the three-match International Physical Disability Series being held at the International Cricket Council's Global Cricket Academy Oval ground.
Alam, who lost his left foot in a landmine blast, cracked 136 runs off just 105 balls with 19 boundaries and one six while Quraishi, whose right hand had to be amputed following a road accident, hit an unbeaten 113 runs off 110 balls with 12 boundaries. Together they put on 233 runs for the second wicket after opener Altaf Ahmad was trapped in front of the wicket by England skipper James Williams for four.
It was a spectacular batting display from Pakistan after they won the toss and elected to bat.
Pakistan posted a mammoth 285 for 5 in the allotted 40 overs.
The England batsmen took up the challenge and their chase made for a memorable contest. Showing no sign of nervousness and playing positive cricket, England openers Gordan Laidlaw and 16-year-old Callum Flynn put on 72 runs for the opening wicket. Mohammad Kalam, whose right foot was amputed following a road accident, trapped Laidlaw leg before wicket for 23.
Flynn too fell in the same fashion to left-arm spinner Fayyaz Ahmad for 32.
At two wickets down for 74, Shaun Rigby hit 28 runs along with Sam Wyles (11) to see the England total past the 100-run mark.
Amir Ahmad then slowed the scoring rate, trapping Rigby leg before and also getting skipper Williams stumped by wicketkeeper Danish Ahmad for 15.
England still refused to give up and kept up the chase through Mathew Askin, who hit an unbeaten 30, and Liam Thomas who remained unconquered on 23. Though they put on an unbeaten 47 runs for the seventh wicket, England were restricted to 206 for 6.
Though disappointed at England's loss despite the stirring chase, England and Wales Cricket Board national disability manager Ian Martin said the team is raring to come back and win the second game tomorrow.
"It's quite phenomenal and we'd expected some heads to drop but that's not been the case. The atmosphere around the group even after the loss is remarkable. The players are bouncing off each other, there are some strong characters in there and they were all buzzing."