Nerve-racking, nail-biting and full of excitement, the last Test of 2020 had all the possible ingredients to entertain fans.
Eventually, New Zealand defeated Pakistan by 101 runs, but it wasn’t that easy for the hosts. The visitors exhibited top-class cricket and fighting spirit to push the game deep on the final day at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.
Pakistan started the fifth day with an overnight score of 71/3, and Trent Boult provided the breakthrough straightaway after he nicked Azhar Ali (38) in the second over. The Kiwi bowlers would have anticipated an early finish, but Fawad Alam (102) and stand-in skipper Mohammad Rizwan (60) had some other plans.
While Fawad notched up his second Test century (the first one came way back in 2009), Rizwan smashed his second fifty of the match. Both the batters were looking set to take the game away from Black Caps. However, Kyle Jamieson came for New Zealand’s rescue in the 103rd over when he broke the 165-run stand by trapping Rizwan lbw. Three overs later, Neil Wagner joined the party and dismissed centurion Fawad.
In the match’s final few minutes, tailenders Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah did their best to negotiate more than seven overs, but Mitchell Santner ended the Pakistan hopes of a draw with a brilliant caught and bowled off Naseem in the 124th over.
With the victory, New Zealand have reached the top of the ICC Trest rankings for the first time.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 30, 2020
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) December 30, 2020
Test cricket you beautiful beast #NZvPAK
— Alex Chapman (@AlexChapmanNZ) December 30, 2020
Superb win by New Zealand but cool your jets Black Caps fans… the world Test rankings aren't updated until the series is complete (which the Kiwis still need to win to claim that #1 spot) #NZvPAK
— Alistair Hogg (@alistairjhogg) December 30, 2020
26 – Kyle Jamieson bowled 26 maidens in the #NZvPAK men's Test at Bay Oval; only one @BLACKCAPS pace bowler has made more in a Test on New Zealand soil (Lance Cairns – 29 v India at Eden Park, March 1981). Clinical. pic.twitter.com/GOZiRIOPFr
— OptaJason (@OptaJason) December 30, 2020
How good is this? #NZvPAK
— Andrew Gourdie (@AndrewGourdie) December 30, 2020
Neil Wagner. There aren't enough words#NZvPAK
— Andrew McGlashan (@andymcg_cricket) December 30, 2020
— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) December 30, 2020
Three outstanding Boxing Day Tests to end 2020.
A run-fest in Centurion, attritional cricket at its best in Melbourne and one that went all the way down to the final hour in Mount Maunganui. 👌#AUSvIND #SAvSL #NZvPAK
— Deepu Narayanan (@deeputalks) December 30, 2020
– MOM for Williamson.
– Masterstroke to bring Santner.
– New Zealand number 1 Test team.
– Williamson likely to be number 1 in ICC Test ranking.
What a day for Kane. The Ice cool. pic.twitter.com/afYVSikfoV
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) December 30, 2020
Five Test wins in a row for the @BLACKCAPS 👏
What a team! pic.twitter.com/GwzAHhtniV
— ICC (@ICC) December 30, 2020
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 30, 2020
— Andrew Alderson (@aldersonnotes) December 30, 2020
🏏 What a test match! 5 full days, victory being sealed with only a few overs to go. A lot of hard work, and Neil Wagner bowling for 2 days with a fractured toe. A well fought victory for New Zealand. #NZvPAK
— 🎃million dollar mortgage🎃 (@Yorrike) December 30, 2020
Great fight back good try I don't have complain from that kind of loss well played rizwan in both innings and fahim and fawad also our bowling not up to the mark top order also #NZvPAK
— Yasir Lodhi Pathan (@scorpionyasir1) December 30, 2020
Kane Williamson is a genius and brave captain. Perhaps knowing how conditions ease out in NZ in 4th inns, he gave his bowlers more than 4 sessions to bowl out Pakistan. Declared with target only 373 and went for 60 points in the WTC. #NZvPak
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) December 30, 2020
— Saj Sadiq (@SajSadiqCricket) December 30, 2020
I didn't fancy 5 sleepless nights, but that was a privilege to watch. #NZvsPAK
— Danyal Rasool (@Danny61000) December 30, 2020