Pakistan vs New Zealand: Debutant Ajaz Patel hails ‘Kiwi way’ after sealing epic win
Ajaz Patel crippled Pakistan with four wickets after tea. @AFP

Getting a Test debut at the age of 30 was a special moment for Ajaz Patel, but less than four days later when he took the wicket of Azhar Ali to bowl New Zealand to victory by four runs over Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, he underwent the whole gamut of emotions.

The left-arm spinner followed two wickets in Pakistan s first innings with 5/59 in their second, starting the slide with the scalp of Imam-ul-Haq in a period where New Zealand grabbed three wickets in eight balls before lunch. Post lunch, Patel dismissed Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, Bilal Asif, Hasan Ali and Azhar Ali – apart from having a hand in a run out – as New Zealand defended a total of 176 for their narrowest win ever.

Being named Man of the Match was the icing on the cake for Ajaz.

A dream come true for me, winning the game for the country on debut, said the man of the moment. It is the New Zealand way to believe in all things possible. It was the Kiwi way. In the lunch break, we planned to keep it simple the whole time – bowling on middle and off. We tried to follow that I guess. I’ve waited a while for my opportunity – I’m thirty now. I’ve put a lot of work in, and it’s rewarding to get one across the line for the country.

For Ajaz, who came into this Test with 187 first-class wickets at 30.28 apiece, Friday was a sensational day for it showcased his resilience and perseverance. His left-arm spin plugged away at the batting, even when Asad Shafiq used his feet to hit him down the ground and Azhar swept and reverse-swept him for fours.

The crippling spell was his second, one that read 10.4-1-19-4 as Pakistan folded after lunch.

For me my game-plan was pretty simple, said Patel, who plays for Central Districts in domestic cricket. Obviously the scoreboard didn’t look simple but we just kept plugging away. It is a very relaxed environment we have and we don’t try to overdo anything. In terms of pressure on my debut, I have put in a lot of hard work and just leave the rest to the Almighty. It is a great feeling to pull off such wins in the final innings; just a great feeling. At any point, the game could have gone either way, but we just kept sticking in.

The second Test between New Zealand and Pakistan starts November 23 in Dubai.