New Zealand pulled off a stunning victory in the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. The visitors won by just 4 runs which happened to be the 4th smallest margin of victory in Test cricket. It also proved to be New Zealand’s smallest margin of victory while Pakistan’s smallest margin of defeat in Tests.
Batting first, the Kiwis bundled out for just 153. The skipper Kane Williamson was the top-scorer with 63 runs. The next best scorer was Henry Nicholls with 28. Yasir Shah was the pick of the bowlers with 3 wickets. Pakistan, in reply, could muster 227 with the help of 62 from Babar Azam. Trent Boult bagged 4 wickets to restrict the opposition.
However, New Zealand batted better in the next innings. Half-centuries from Nicholls and BJ Watling propelled them to 249. Hasan Ali and Yasir Shah bagged 5 wickets each. As a result, Pakistan had a target of 176 runs. Even though, it wasn’t too much yet batting last can get challenging at times.
They began well with an opening partnership of 40. But 3 quick wickets brought the opposition back. After 48/3, Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq got together. The duo added 82 runs for the 4th wicket and took the side to 130. It was Pakistan’s game from there on with 7 wickets in hand and just 46 runs to get.
But when it’s Pakistan, you can never be sure. Neil Wagner sent back Shafiq for 45 which triggered a collapse. Babar got run out and it was time for the debutant Ajaz Patel to shine. All of a sudden, Pakistan was languishing at 164/9. Azhar was still fighting alone as he scored a fifty. But when Ajaz got him out LBW, the heartbreaks happened. The left-arm spinner finished with 5 wickets as Pakistan was bowled out for 171.
Smallest margin of victory in Test cricket
|West Indies||1 run||Australia||Adelaide||1993|
|New Zealand||4 runs||Pakistan||Abu Dhabi||2018|
|South Africa||5 runs||Australia||Sydney||1994|
|Australia||7 runs||England||The Oval||1882|
|South Africa||7 runs||Sri Lanka||Kandy||2000|
|New Zealand||7 runs||Australia||Hobart||2011|