Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Test Win curated by Pakistan's Young Guns

At the end, Pakistan won quite comfortably by 5 wickets against Ireland, Test Cricket's newest team, but there were some jitters when Ireland had Pakistan reduced to 14-3 during their chase of 160.

It was heartening to witness two batsmen in their early 20s, one of them a debutant, put on a century partnership that steered Pakistan clear of danger and on the course of victory.

Imam Ul Haq, whose selection in the squad was heavily criticized, rose to the occasion in his very first test match and guided Pakistan home with an unbeaten 74.

He shared a 126 run partnership for the 4th wicket with Babar Azam who displayed ample responsibility during his knock of 59, which was cut short due to an unfortunate run out.

There were a couple of other notable performances from Pakistan as well.

Faheem Ashraf, another debutant in his early 20s, and Shadab Khan, still a teenager and playing only his second test, came together at the crease in Pakistan's first innings at the fall of the 6th wicket.

At 159-6, Ireland seemed to be all over Pakistan, but Faheem and Shadab had different ideas. They both batted extremely sensibly.

Faheem was aggressive and displayed a wide range of strokes, while Shadab was more circumspect and showcased immense temperament. Their games complemented each other and they put together a 117 run partnership for the 7th wicket.

Faheem, with a knock of 83 off 115 deliveries, was Pakistan's top scorer in the first innings and if it was not for his partnership with Shadab, Pakistan would have fallen well short of the 310 runs they managed in the first innings.

Undoubtedly there were a number of mistakes that Pakistan made during this test match, but that is for another post.

For now, let us all rejoice a Pakistan test win curated by 4 cricketers who are yet to turn 25!

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