PAK vs NZ: New Zealand Edges to win Over Pakistan as Bad light forces to Draw 1st Test 

Fifty from Imam-ul-Haq, Saud Shakeel, and Ish Sodhi took Pakistan to safety before a surprising declaration left New Zealand with a 138-run goal. Pakistan 438 (Babar 161, Agha 103, Sarfaraz 86, Southee 3-69) and 311 for 8 December (Imam 96, Shakeel 55*, Sodhi 6-86) drew with New Zealand 612 for 9 December (Williamson 200*, Latham 113, Conway 92, Abrar 5-205) and 61 for 1 December (Latham 35*, Abrar 1-23).

In the penultimate hour of the first Test in Karachi, Babar Azam made an unexpected declaration that set New Zealand a target of 138. After making the call, Babar was all grins, although it was an odd action. While a Pakistan victory was unlikely, a New Zealand victory could not be ruled out, even if a draw was the most probable outcome. Michael Bracewell was promoted to open with Devon Conway in New Zealand. Despite being down for three, Conway and Tom Latham continued pushing for the goal.

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Bad light forces a stalemate in 1st Test for New Zealand

Pak vs NZ New Zealand Edges to win Over Pakistan as Bad light forces to Draw 1st Test 

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At one point, New Zealand required 83 points from nine overs. Babar was apprehensive, but the fading light lighted up his face again when the game was called off with 7.3 overs remaining and the target 77 away. Earlier, Ish Sodhi’s first five-wicket haul had Pakistan on the verge of their sixth consecutive loss in the format. With over 50 overs remaining, they were 206 for 7 – effectively 32 for 7 – but Saud Shakeel and Mohammad Wasim scored 71 for the eighth wicket to take them out of trouble.

Wasim seemed to be batting much more easily in the last session. He even smacked Bracewell over beyond long-on for a six, and a three off the following ball extended Pakistan’s advantage to 100. To keep New Zealand in the game, Sodhi had him LBW with a flipper. After a few overs, New Zealand had a chance to run Mir Hamza out when he raced down the track from the non-end, the striker’s only to be called back by Shakeel. Ajaz Patel, on the other hand, was unable to retrieve the throw.

Pak vs NZ New Zealand Edges to win Over Pakistan as Bad light forces to Draw 1st Test  (1)

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But, outside from that, Hamza hung tough with Shakeel, facing 34 balls for his undefeated 3. Shakeel achieved his half-century with a six-off Ajaz, and Babar quickly summoned his troops back. Sodhi had dominated the day up to that point. After trapping Babar lbw with a googly in the morning session, he added three more wickets after lunch to the one he got the night before. Pakistan were 100 for 4 after Babar’s wicket, but Imam-ul-Haq and Sarfaraz Ahmed rescued them with an 85-run fifth-wicket partnership.

New Zealand Edges to win Over Pakistan in 1st test

Sarfaraz reached his second half-century of the match after lunch, but he was out on the following ball. Sodhi’s ball was short and wide, but Sarfaraz toe-ended his cut into the wicketkeeper’s hands.
Pakistan may have sent Salman Agha ahead of Shakeel to retain the left-right combination. Agha had struck a century in the first innings, but this time Sodhi got one through early. The greatest setback for Pakistan occurred in Sodhi’s next over.

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Imam had come down the track throughout his innings to counter Sodhi’s spin from the rough outside off. He was on 96 when he used his feet again, but this time Sodhi sneaked in a googly, leaving him stranded so far down the wicket that even a tiny delay in the stumping by Tom Blundell didn’t help. Imam was enraged with himself. He shattered a chair with his bat on his way back to the pavilion and then tossed his bat away. At that point, a New Zealand victory seemed imminent, but Shakeel and Wasim held the visitors at bay, even when they seized the second new ball.

Tim Southee produced a chance in the second over of the day in the morning when Imam drove at a full ball and got an outside edge. However, there was no slip, and the resultant boundary brought Imam to his half-century. But it didn’t take long for New Zealand to get their first wicket of the day. Bracewell removed night watcher Nauman Ali lbw in the following over. After repelling the first few deliveries, Babar came in at No. 5 and took full advantage when Bracewell erred on the shorter side.

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In a 12-run over, Pakistan’s skipper rocked back and pulled the offspinner to the square-leg boundary twice. That spurred Southee to bring in Sodhi, who dismissed Babar with his first ball of the day. The Pakistan captain chose to have the on-field decision reviewed, but it was in vain. Sarfaraz began vigorously. Following two consecutive fours off Southee, he struck three boundaries in Ajaz’s opening over of the day. When Ajaz moved over the wicket, Sarfaraz ran to the leg side and sliced him over covers to get to 25 from 15 balls.

After that, Ajaz began bowling far outside leg, and Sarfaraz was content to pad him away with the odd reverse sweep. Imam continued to contribute from the other end. In the 57th over, when the partnership had reached 50, Neil Wagner was put into the attack for the first time in the innings. He began by bowling around the wicket and even had Blundell step up to the stumps for an over, but Imam and Sarfaraz saw him out to lead the side to lunch. Sodhi took the lead after the break, but Pakistan managed to hold on for a draw.

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