Passionate celebrations began in the Pakistan cricket team‘s dressing room on Friday as they crushed Quinton de Kock’s South Africa in Karachi by 7 wickets. With the win, the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the 2-Test series.
Azhar Ali and Fawad Alam carried their bats on Day 4 as Pakistan chased the 4th innings target of 88 at a canter. Alam, who scored a determined 109 in the first innings, fittingly hit the winning boundary off Keshav Maharaj.
In the video uploaded by the Pakistan Cricket Board, smiles and handshakes can be seen galore in the hosts’ camp.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) January 29, 2021
It was a near-perfect team performance from Pakistan. They first restricted the visitors to an under-par 220 in the first innings. Spinners Yasir Shah and Nauman Ali were the stars of the show with 3 and 2 wickets respectively. They were well supported by Shaheen Afridi (2-49) and Hasan Ali (1-61).
In the second innings, Kagiso Rabada and Maharaj led the fightback for visitors by skittling the top 4 wickets for just 27 runs. However, 35-year-old Alam stood in their way like a rock and negotiated the crucial phase along with wicketkeeper Mohammed Rizwan.
Alam’s hundred included 9 fours and 2 sixes as he helped Pakistan to a decisive 158-run lead. The Proteas only did marginally better in the second innings with 245 runs. At one moment, young guns Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen looked threatening with a 127-run partnership for the 2nd wicket.
However, seasoned campaigner Shah joined the party with back-to-back wickets. Left-arm spinner Ali took over and ended the innings with a magnificent five-wicket haul on the ever-deteriorating pitch.
A glimmer of hope shone again for the visitors in the 4th innings when Anrich Nortje removed both the openers quickly. But that was soon gone as well, as Babar Azam and Azhar Ali came in all guns blazing to help Pakistan scale down the total.
This was Azam’s first win as Test captain. Rawalpindi will host the 2nd Test between Pakistan and South Africa starting on February 4th.