Old-timer Sarfaraz Ahmed, ex-captain of Pakistan, made a comeback like pheonix in the Test Series against New Zealand. After Pakistan ended up losing to England in their previous Home Test Series, Azhar Ali retired from International Cricket and Sarfaraz Ahmed got a chance to be part of the playing XI. He scored runs in the first Test and in Karachi Test, the second, he scored an incredible 4th innings century, saving Pakistan from jaws of defeat.
Pakistan started the 5th day with 0/2 on board. Imam-ul-Haq (12), Babar Azam (27), Shan Masood (35) got out quickly reducing Pakistan to 80/5. Sarfaraz Ahmed and Saud Shakeel came together and put on 123-runs partnership. Saud Shakeel scored 32 runs off 146 balls at a strike rate of 21.91% in a 319 runs chase. This cost Pakistan, the match as Sarfaraz Ahmed scored at a faster clip with strike rate of 67.04%.
Agha Salman scored 30 runs off 40 balls and Sarfaraz Ahmed completed his century. The old-timer tried hard but fell with 32 runs more to get as 9th wicket after scoring 118 runs off 176 balls. He hit 9 fours and 1 six. But Naseem Shah (15) and Abrar Ahmed (7) survived as bad light forced umpires to stop play with Pakistan at 304/9, still 15 runs behind. New Zealand couldn’t continue or force to get that one last wicket. Pakistan survived from the scare of the defeat to New Zealand at home due to experienced Sarfaraz Ahmed playing a knock of his lifetime. Michael Bracewell (4/75), Ish Sodhi (2/59), Tim Southee (2/43), Matt Henry (1/69) took wickets for New Zealand against spirited Pakistan.
Pakistan senior cricketer and wicket-keeper, Sarfaraz Ahmed has been announced as Player of the Match. He said, “I was part of the team for four years and despite not getting chances here I was continuing to play well elsewhere. Wanted an opportunity from Allah and got it. I was very tensed in the first Test, but the boys and captain gave me confidence. When 140 runs were left, the management said that you need to keep trying to score when the ball is there to hit. But then two wickets fell, and so we changed our style of play. If those two wickets didn’t fall then the result could’ve been something else. It is a fourth-innings century so it is special, probably my best. Karachi crowd has always supported me. And always supported the team. Request them to come for the ODIs too.” New Zealand bowlers couldn’t really get through Sarfaraz Ahmed and Pakistan escaped defeat ending up with two draws in this Test Series.
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