Twitter Reactions: Ajaz Patel spins New Zealand to an unbelievable victory in a thriller
Azhar Ali tried his best with the number 11 Abbas but the visitors were just too superb throughout the day.
Updated - Nov 19, 2018 4:06 pm
What a Test match it was! A low-scoring game was witnessed in Abu Dhabi as New Zealand made a meal of the 175-run target on the fourth day. The Kiwis scripted a sensational turnaround as Pakistan collapsed from being comfortable at 147/4 to 155/8. It soon became 164/9 and then started the mind games of taking a single off the fourth or fifth ball of the over.
The enthralling contest continued with Mohammad Abbas managing to keep the opposition at bay even as New Zealand tried their best. The last wicket fought the battle for close to ten overs but Ajaz Patel pinned Azhar Ali in front of the stumps eventually as the hosts fell agonisingly short of the target by just four runs.
Pakistan resumed the fourth day at 37/0 needing only 138 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and many would’ve backed them to do so. But given their unpredictability, few were hopeful of the Kiwis coming back in the game. The latter happened in the first half hour of the day as Imam ul Haq, Mohammad Hafeez and Haris Sohail were sent back in the space of seven balls.
They were suddenly reduced to 48/3 and New Zealand were back in the game. But the hosts’ two of the best Test batsmen were in the middle. Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq weathered the early storm and employed some brilliant footwork against the spinners Ajaz Patel and Ish Sodhi who were bowling beautifully. They played the whole session with caution and to stay three down with the lunch. However, Wagner struck to take the edge of Shafiq’s bat in the last over of the session.
At 130/4, Pakistan were in the driver’s seat and surely with 46 runs needed, they weren’t going to blow away this time. To increase the assurance, Babar Azam also played a couple of delightful shots to bring the required runs down to less than 40. But there was still a twist in the tail. Azam and Azhar were involved in an ugly mix-up and the former had to lose his wicket.
This is where the Kiwis sniffed a chance. Ajaz bowled a wonderful delivery to Sarfraz Ahmed who tried to sweep across the line only to glove it to the wicketkeeper BJ Watling. Though the umpire didn’t give it out, they took the review and made him overturn the decision. Bilal Asif then found the worst possible time to become the hero with an ugly slog needing 22 runs to win. Wagner then set up Yasir Shah nicely to make it 155/8 and New Zealand were favourites to win the game.
But Azhar Ali churned out the most valuable boundary of his career and the required runs came down to 12 runs. Once again Pakistan looked to be winning but Hasan Ali had other ideas. Like Asif, he also wanted to become a hero with a pure batsman playing well at the other end. He also heaved the ball and connected only for the substitute fielder Tim Southee to take the catch in the deep.
But it was Ajaz Patel’s maiden five-wicket haul which stunned Pakistan as he pinned the defiant Azhar Ali to seal the game. This turned out to be Pakistan’s smallest defeat in terms of runs in Tests. New Zealand have now taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Here’s how Twitter reacted during the enthralling day:
Great game of cricket. Test match cricket is a fascinating format. Congratulations New Zealand on a remarkable win! Well fought Pakistan, IA the team will bounce back from here.
Well done hassan ali and Yasir Shah, great bowling!
— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) November 19, 2018
— Brendon McCullum (@Bazmccullum) November 19, 2018
Wow what a turn around! Pakistan doing a Pakistan to lose,some epic collective brainfades #PakvNZ
— zainab abbas (@ZAbbasOfficial) November 19, 2018
— CricTracker (@Cricketracker) November 19, 2018
One of the best Test matches of this decade… What drama, intrigue, fun! Pakistan, without you cricket, wouldn't have been so thrilling & exhilarating! Congrats, Black Caps for holding the nerves… @BLACKCAPS #PAKvNZ
— Navneet Mundhra (@navneet_mundhra) November 19, 2018
Two ties and four wins by lower than five runs in the history of Test cricket.
12 other one-wicket wins.
This result would join this list of 19 results in the history of Tests.#PAKvNZ
— Suneer (@suneerchowdhary) November 19, 2018
Pakistan have just out-Pakistaned themselves.
— Lawrence Booth (@the_topspin) November 19, 2018
Narrowest Test victory margins by runs:
1 WI beat Aus Adelaide 1993
2 Eng beat Aus Birmingham 2005
3 Aus beat Eng Manchester 1902
3 Eng beat Aus Melbourne 1982
4 NZ beat Pak Abu Dhabi 2018
— Andrew Samson (@AWSStats) November 19, 2018
Crowdfunder for a new set of emojis based entirely on Mickey Arthur's facial expressions. #PakvNZ
— Vithushan Ehantharajah (@Vitu_E) November 19, 2018
Find me footage of a Pakistan cover fielder letting one through his legs and it going to the boundary, AT ONCE. #PAKvNZ
— Ben Jones (@benjonescricket) November 19, 2018
WHAT. A. FINISH. 👏👏👏
New Zealand beat Pakistan by FOUR runs in a Test finish for the ages! #PAKvsNZ
— Fox Cricket (@FoxCricket) November 19, 2018
— Rick Eyre on cricket (@rickeyrecricket) November 19, 2018
Don’t you just love Pakistan Cricket .. so so unpredictable .. 130 for 3 needing a further 45 to win the Test & lose by 4 .. Test cricket is alive & kicking .. We have witnessed some great games over the last few months .. Pitches are the key ..
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) November 19, 2018
New Zealand win by four runs – 5th smallest margin of victory by runs in Test history. What a match! #PakvNZ
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) November 19, 2018
— Russel Arnold (@RusselArnold69) November 19, 2018
What a fantastic test match to be calling @jecfranklin @SteelyDan66 Both @BLACKCAPS & @TheRealPCB played in great spirit. Congrats to NZ and what a series we have in store. #PakvNZ #testcricket #aliveandwell #victory
— Simon Doull (@Sdoull) November 19, 2018
I daresay that *neutral* Test has drawn a better and bigger reaction than anything involving Aust team at home so far this season #PAKvNZ
— Daniel Brettig (@danbrettig) November 19, 2018
What a Test match win for @BLACKCAPS !!!!!!!!!
— Luke Ronchi (@ronchi04) November 19, 2018
With 29 needed and six wickets in hands to losing the test by 5 runs. Poor show by lower middle order of team Pakistan. But, that’s how they have always behaved in 4th innings.
— Faizan Lakhani (@faizanlakhani) November 19, 2018
It is not for nothing that Pakistan have the reputation of being unpredictable and fragile in chases. Well on course to winning, then run-outs and slogs…..130-3, then147-4 needing 176 and lose by 4.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) November 19, 2018
A test match to remember for a long time. An outstanding effort from New Zealand to win this after being out of the game for so long. Their never-say- die attitude is so wonderful and Test Cricket is well and truly alive #PakvNZ
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) November 19, 2018
— Junaid khan 83 (@JunaidkhanREAL) November 19, 2018
From 147/4 to lose chasing 176 required a special effort not just from NZ but from Pakistan. Only Pak can provide such thrillers out of easy victories. Well done to NZ and bad luck Pak #PakvNZ
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) November 19, 2018
This is actually unbearable to watch.
— Jimmy Neesham (@JimmyNeesh) November 19, 2018
Test cricket is GOLD. #Cricket
— Daniel Alexander (@daniel86cricket) November 19, 2018