New Zealand claim 2-1 series win over Pakistan with dramatic victory in Abu Dhabi

High fives all round for the Kiwis who won the crunch Test in the UAE capital to claim the three-match series. (AFP)
Updated 07 December 2018
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New Zealand claim 2-1 series win over Pakistan with dramatic victory in Abu Dhabi

  • Black Caps bowl hosts out for 156 to win first away series against Pakistan in 49 years.
  • Pakistan let first innings lead slip for second time in series.

ABU DHABI: Debutant Will Somerville grabbed three key wickets to guide New Zealand to their first away series win over Pakistan in 49 years with a crushing 123-run win in the third and final Test on Friday.
The off-spinner took three for 52 and was aided by fellow spinner Ajaz Patel’s three for 42 as Pakistan came up well short after being set a daunting 280-run target in 79 overs.
They crumbled to 156 in 56.1 overs on a weary pitch at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
The victory gave New Zealand a 2-1 series win after they had taken the first Test by a narrow four-run margin at the same venue. Pakistan bounced back with an innings and 16-run win in the second Test in Dubai.
New Zealand’s last away series win against Pakistan was a 1-0 victory in matches played in Pakistan in 1969.
It was the Black Caps’ fifth Test series win in their last six played since November 2016. They beat Pakistan, Bangladesh, the West Indies and England — all at home — with the single loss came against South Africa.
Somerville, who took four for 75 in the first innings to finish with seven wickets in the match, broke a stubborn 43-run sixth-wicket stand between top scorer Babar Azam (51) and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, who made 28.
Patel ended Azam’s 114-ball resistance before getting the last wicket when he dismissed Hasan Ali for four, sparking celebrations among the New Zealand players.
Pakistan were again let down by sloppy batting.
They were off to a disastrous start when Mohammad Hafeez, in his last innings before he retires from Test cricket, was bowled by fast bowler Tim Southee for eight.

MATCH-TURNING INNINGS

Medium pacer Colin de Grandhomme had first-innings centurion Azhar Ali caught behind for five before Somerville’s double strike pushed Pakistan to 55 for five at lunch.
Somerville had Haris Sohail caught off a tentative push in the slip with his third ball of the first over for nine and next ball had first innings centurion Asad Shafiq caught behind off the glove.
In the last over before lunch Imam-ul-Haq, watching four wickets fell at the other end, gave an easy catch to forward short-leg off Patel for 22.
Earlier, New Zealand declared their second innings on 353 for seven after some 45 minutes of batting with Henry Nicholls remaining unbeaten on 126 and Kane Williamson dismissed at his overnight score of 139.
That 212-run stand between Williamson which brought New Zealand back into the game on Thursday, was finally broken with the very first ball of the day.
Medium pacer Hasan Ali trapped Williamson leg before and even a review did not prolong the New Zealand skipper’s innings.
But his 283-ball knock, containing 13 boundaries, turned the match.
Nicholls took a sharp single to complete his third Test hundred and finished with 12 hits to the ropes during his 266-ball knock.
De Grandhomme struck two boundaries and two sixes as New Zealand added 81 runs in 45 minutes, ensuring they set up a daunting target for Pakistan.
Leg-spinner Yasir Shah finished with four for 129 and debutant paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi took two for 85.


River edge out Boca after extra time to win Copa Libertadores

River prevailed 5-3 on aggregate after the first leg finished 2-2. (AFP
Updated 10 December 2018
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River edge out Boca after extra time to win Copa Libertadores

  • River Plate came from behind to beat bitter Argentine rivals Boca Juniors 3-1 in extra time
  • The fixture postponed on three occasions and then relocated from Buenos Aires to Madrid

MADRID: River Plate won the Copa Libertadores by beating their fiercest rivals Boca Juniors 3-1 after extra time on Sunday, bringing an end to a final tainted by violence and moved more than six thousand miles away from Argentina.
Boca took the lead through Dario Benedetto but Lucas Pratto equalized before Juan Quintero and Gonzalo Martinez scored in extra time, aided by Wilmar Barrios being sent off, to win a fittingly dramatic contest for River.
It means River prevailed 5-3 on aggregate after the first leg finished 2-2 and the club reclaim the trophy they had last won in 2015, lifting it for the fourth time in their history.
“The only thing I feel is sadness for not winning the cup and giving it to the people of Boca,” Boca coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said.
“It is difficult to say to people that we haven’t won, especially those that made so much effort to come from Argentina.”
Postponed on three occasions and then relocated from Buenos Aires to Madrid, the supporters of these two great clubs showed in the Santiago Bernabeu why this fixture had been billed as one of football’s greatest ever.
Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin were among the 62,200 in attendance.
But, despite the bouncing huddles in the streets, the plumes of blue and red smoke, the swinging scarves, fluttering flags and fans that were chanting in their seats three hours before kick-off, there was nothing to extinguish the lingering sense of regret.
There was no repeat of the scenes that cast a shadow over Argentinian football and saw the original game at River’s El Monumental on November 24 postponed, when around 50 fans attacked Boca’s team bus and left some of their players injured.
Madrid, which will also host the Champions League final in June, was chosen in part because of its record of hosting major events and the security, which included around 2,500 police officers, did its job before kick-off.
Fans were separated into zones either side of the stadium and had to go through checks even to enter the area immediately surrounding it.
The shame was only that the operation was not as thorough 15 days ago and that a minority decided to take advantage.
Both clubs were allocated 25,000 tickets, with 5,000 of those reserved for residents of Argentina. The fear had been most of those buying would be tourists and neutrals, but the atmosphere suggested different.
Both teams had initially refused to play in Spain’s capital but as the losers, Boca’s sense of grievance will now become more entrenched.
They felt River were responsible for the chaos two weeks ago and should have forfeited the trophy. They took their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but the appeal was rejected on Saturday.
When the players shuffled out two hours before kick-off to inspect the pitch, they held up their phones to capture the thousands already inside and the view of a stadium most of them had never played in before.
The cheers grew louder when they came out for kick-off. Then there were whistles as the teams swapped ends and each were greeted by their opponent’s fans behind the goal.
Jonatan Maidana was playing for Boca when they last won the Copa Libertadores 11 years ago and, now in the red and white of River, he almost gave his former club an early lead, slicing just over his own crossbar.
The game lacked quality but came alive one minute before half-time. Nahitan Nandez’s superb pass split two River defenders and Benedetto kept a cool head, guiding into the corner, before taunting the beaten Gonzalo Montiel.
River had been inferior but improved. Their first real attacking move was also a brilliant one as Leonardo Ponzio and Quintero exchanged passes before the latter pulled back for Pratto to sweep home.
The game meandered toward full-time and seemed destined for penalties until Barrios was shown a second yellow card for a tackle on Exequiel Palacios and soon after, Quintero struck.
It was a goal worthy of winning the tournament, as he collected 25 yards out, glanced up and whipped the ball in off the underside of the crossbar.
Leonard Jara almost snatched a late Boca goal but his shot nicked the outside of the post. Then, with Boca’s goalkeeper Esteban Andrada up for a corner, River added the final touch.
Martinez ran the ball into the empty net and River’s substitutes and staff were already pouring onto the pitch to begin the celebrations.