England struggled to beat Middlesex by 12 runs in their opening warm-up match ahead of the 20 million dollar Stanford 20/20 showpiece next weekend.
Kevin Pietersen's side made just 121-4 off their 20 overs with the skipper failing at the crease making just five runs before falling to Muarli Kartik.
Owais Shah, playing against his county teammates, top-scored with 39 not out with a six and two fours after Ian Bell and Matt Prior had struggled to put on 43 for the first wicket which took the best part of eight overs.
Andrew Flintoff hit his team's only other six in a quickfire 16 off 17 balls.
In the end, England were indebted to their seam attack for putting the brakes on Middlesex with Test player Andrew Strauss making only eight and recent import Neil Carter making just 11 off 27 deliveries.
Ed Joyce (33) and Dawid Malan (41) kept the innings moving with a stand of 62 in nine overs, but they were always behind the rate.
Ryan Sidebottom conceded just five runs off two overs and Stuart Broad, 13 off his four.
On Saturday, the Stanford Superstars, who will meet England here on November 1 in the richest cricket game in history, saw off regional Twenty20 champions Trinidad and Tobago by 22 runs in their first warm-up.