Pakistan was winning Abu Dhabi test and then decided to take a U-Turn
What a bizarre batting performance by Pakistan on the fourth day of the first test match at Abu Dhabi, when they need only 139 more runs to win the game with all ten wickets in hand. They gifted their wickets to the bowlers of New Zealand and they failed 4 runs short of 176. At one stage; they were cursing at the moment when Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali were at the crease and winning it and then decided to take a U-turn. Pakistan also missed an opportunity of taking a huge lead in the first innings after dismissing them on 153; in the first innings, Pakistan could only manage 74 runs lead. Pakistani bowlers once again did their job by taking opposition’s wicket cheaply in both innings, but it was their batting who led them down. Black Caps spinner Ajaz Patel stars on debut by taking 2-64 and 5-59, including the prized wicket of Azhar Ali, the top scorer for Pakistan with 65 and the last man out.
Day-1 (Pakistan won the day by getting 10 wickets of NZ)
Toss won by New Zealand’s skipper Kane Williamson and decided to bat first on a batting pitch; Ajaz Patel made his Test debut and Pakistan had preferred Hasan Ali over Mir Hamza. It was Mohammad Abbas, who provided Pakistan with an early breakthrough, outside edge to the keeper and Jeet Raval went for 7. Pakistan introduced Yasir Shah who provided them two quick scalps Latham for 13 and Ross Taylor for 2 leave NZ 39 for 3. Nicholas and Williamson put a good show by getting together a 72 runs partnership. After the dismissal of Nicholas (28) and Kane Williamson (63) at 123 for 5, New Zealand lower order was unable to put partnerships and the whole team went back to the hutch at 153 runs only. Yasir Shah picked up 3 wickets, while Abbas, Hasan and Haris picked up 2 scalps each. Pakistan lost their both openers in the span of two overs; at stumps Pakistan were 27 for 2.
Day-2 (New Zealand fought back, not allowed Pakistani batsmen to put a huge lead)
Azhar and Haris, started Pakistan’s second day in an impressive style, they both put 64 runs partnership, but worried part of that partnership was the batting of Azhar Ali who got as many as three lives in 22 runs innings. Azhar Ali is struggling to score runs in the ongoing year, becoming a worst-ever year for him, as his average is below 16 in 11 innings. Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail fall in successive overs. Babar Azam fought hard with the lower order of Pakistan’s batting department, who finished with 62 runs and became Boult’s fourth scalp. Patel, Grandhomme and Wagner wrapped up Pakistan’s innings by taking quick wickets. Pakistan’s final lead, as a result, stands at 74. New Zealand started off their innings with a panic attack as they lost the wicket of Tom Latham on the first ball he faced from Hasan Ali. Later on, Raval and Williamson steadied the ship and finished the day with 56 for 1, trail by 16 runs only.
Day-3 (Pakistan took quick wickets and scored freely chasing 175)
New Zealand recovered brilliantly from previous day’s first ball out of Latham, Williamson and Raval put 86 runs partnership, broken by Yasir Shah’s beautiful delivery w
hich took off stump of Williamson. Taylor tried to give some impetus to the slow progress of Black Caps run scoring, he hit Yasir Shah for few quick boundaries but unable to answer the in-dipper of Hasan Ali and trapped in front the stumps, Followed by Raval’s wicket dragged New Zealand on the back foot. Nicholas Joined by BJ Watling at the crease, they both put a match-winning partnership of 112 runs, both scored 55 and 49 respectively. At 220 New Zealand was 4 down, they lose the next four wickets for only 7 runs. Ninth wicket added more 22 runs to 249, Ish Sodhi and Boult were the final victims of Hasan Ali’s bowling who completed his first fifer along-with Yasir Shah’s five wickets in the inning. Pakistan set to chase down 176 runs, started brilliantly as Imam was hitting every next delivery for boundaries. They finished the day at 37 for no loss.
Day-4 (NZ spinners turn the table and won the game)
Pakistan’s opening pair has to score a major chunk of the runs on the fourth day, but they failed to continue their dominance as they did it during the dying period of the previous day. With the span of eight deliveries, they lost three wickets (Imam, Hafeez and Haris) left Pakistan from 40 for no loss to 48 for 3. A consolidated 82 runs partnership gave Pakistan a strong contender of winning the test match, but NZ spinner Ajaz Patel and company had other ideas. From 130 for 3 to 147 for 5 to 171 all-out, Pakistani batsmen looked irresponsible with their shot selections and poor execution of their batting skills. Here want to mention the role Wagner took the vital wicket of Asad Shafiq and Yasir to make a job easy for others, he bowled brilliantly along with Patel and Sodhi. Sodhi also did his job efficiently by picking up the wickets of Hafeez and Haris Sohail. Ajaz Patel on his debut picked up a fifer, enabled New Zealand to register their narrowest test match win.
Player of the Match: The debutant Ajaz Patel was awarded as the player of the Match due to his brilliant left arm spin bowling in both innings.
Ajaz Patel: “For me my game plan was pretty simple. Obviously the scoreboard didn’t look too simple but we just kept plugging away. We as a unit believed that we could do something special and it all went our way. In terms of pressure on my debut, I have put in a lot of hard work and I felt like I was ready and just left the rest to the Almighty. I only looked to hit my areas and make use of that wicket because it is not every day that we get pitches like these.”
New Zealand 153 all out in 66.3 overs (Kane Williamson 63; Yasir Shah 54/3, Mohammad Abbas 13/2)
Pakistan 227 all out in 83.2 overs (Babar Azam 62; Trent Boult 54/4, Colin de Grandhomme 30/2)
New Zealand 249 all out in 100.4 overs (BJ Watling 59, Jeet Raval 46; Hasan Ali 45/5, Yasir Shah 110/5)
Pakistan 171 all out in 58.4 overs (Azhar Ali 65, Asad Shafiq 45; Ajaz Patel 59/5, Neil Wagner 27/2)
Next Encounter: Second Test Match at Dubai on 24th November 2018.
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