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Pakistan, England tune up with warm-up wins

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Abu Dhabi: Pakistan and England tuned up for their four-match one-day series with comfortable wins against minnows Nepal and Hong Kong respectively in Abu Dhabi today.

Pakistan beat Nepal by 121 runs while England thumped Hong Kong by 163 runs in 50-over games to gear up for the bigger challenge starting later this week.

Pakistan put up a strong 326-6 in 50 overs with half- centuries from skipper Azhar Ali (73) and Shoaib Malink 63 while Mohammad Hafeez chipped in with 49 and Babar Azam notched a 29-ball 43 not out.

Younis Khan (38) and Ahmed Shehzad (35) also made useful contributions.

Ali and Hafeez put on 103 for the second wicket before Ali, who hit seven boundaries and two sixes retired to give other batsmen some practice.

Hafeez knocked three sixes and as many boundaries against some inexperienced Nepalese bowling.

Malik also smashed five boundaries and two sixes.

In reply Nepal could manage 205-5 in their allotted 50 overs with Anil Mandal (61) and Gyanendra Malla (41) making some useful runs.

England rode on aggressive 36-ball 71 by Moeen Ali and 56-ball 64 by opener Alex Hales to post a big 342-8.

Hales and Jason Roy (42) put on a brisk 63 before Joe Root (39) and Jos Butler (38) cashed in on some weak Hong Kong bowling.

But it was Ali who hit the minnows hard, smashing five sixes and four boundaries in a fiery knock.

Hong Kong were bowled out for 173 in 40.2 overs with paceman David Willy grabbing 4-43.

Babar Hayat 78 and Christopher Carter 34 put up some resistance.

Hong Kong is preparing for the World Twenty20 to be held in India in March-April while Nepal is tuning up for Inter- Continental Cup.

Pakistan take on England in the first of four one-day internationals in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday followed by the second match, also at the same venue on Friday.

The third one-day will be in Sharjah (November 17) and the fourth in Dubai (November 20). The sides will also play three Twenty20 internationals.