Yasir Shah waves more magic as Pakistan beat New Zealand in Dubai to set up winner-takes-all clash

Having taken eight wickets in the first innings Yasir took another six in the second to give the hosts a chance of series glory in the UAE. (AFP)
Updated 27 November 2018

Yasir Shah waves more magic as Pakistan beat New Zealand in Dubai to set up winner-takes-all clash

  • Leg-spinner records match figures of 14 for 184 the second best match return ever for Pakistan in Test cricket.
  • Series decider starts in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

DUBAI: Leg-spinner Yasir Shah followed his extraordinary first innings performance with a six-wicket haul as Pakistan beat New Zealand by an innings and 16 runs in the second Test in Dubai on Tuesday to level the series 1-1.
The 32-year-old, who took eight for 41 on Monday, had figures of six for 143 in the second innings for a match haul of 14 for 184.
New Zealand — following-on after being dismissed for 90 in the first innings — were bowled out for 312 soon after tea on the fourth day.
“I came to know yesterday (about Imran Khan’s record) so it’s an honor that my name will come with him,” said Yasir.
“I haven’t bowled as well as this, especially with the pitch offering turn and bounce like it did. We wanted to put the disappointment of the first Test behind us and set up the series.”
Yasir’s figures are the second best match return ever for Pakistan in Test cricket, bettered only by former captain and current prime minister Imran Khan who took 14 for 116 against Sri Lanka in Lahore in 1982.
They are also the best by a Pakistani bowler against New Zealand, beating Waqar Younis’s 12 for 130 in Faisalabad in 1990.
Medium-pacer Hasan Ali was also at his best, taking three for 46 as Pakistan gained a measure of revenge for losing the first Test by four runs in Abu Dhabi last week.
Resuming on 131 for two and needing a further 197 to make Pakistan bat again, the New Zealand batsmen, led by Ross Taylor (82), Henry Nicholls (77) and Tom Latham (50), dug in to make things tough for the Pakistani bowlers.
Taylor smashed Hasan’s first ball of the day to the cover boundary to reach his 29th half century in Tests, a welcome return to form having scored just 21 runs in the three innings of this series.
Latham completed his 15th Test fifty but was dismissed the following ball, a little edge behind off Hasan, television umpire Ian Gould confirming that Sarfraz Ahmed had taken the catch cleanly.
Harry Nicholls came to the crease and set about frustrating the Pakistan bowlers, adding 52 with Taylor for the fourth wicket and 57 with BJ Watling for the fifth.
Taylor tried to take the attack to the bowlers, hitting seven boundaries and a six in his 82 but grew impatient after being tied down. An attempted sweep off Bilal Asif ended in a top edge that looped to deep backward square leg where Yasir took a comfortable catch.
Yasir trapped Watling leg before for 27 to end another frustrating the stand and get into the Kiwi tail. De Grandhomme made just 14 and Sodhi was bowled behind his legs for four, unwisely trying to sweep Yasir from well outside off-stump.
Nicholls stood firm amid the wreckage, striking Bilal Asif for a straight six, before Yasir nipped one between bat and pad to bowl him for 77.
It was a brave stand from Nicholls but as skipper Kane Williamson later admitted, the damage had been done in the first innings when New Zealand lost all 10 wickets for just 40 runs in 14 overs.
“We batted better in the second innings,” said Williamson. “But that session yesterday, Yasir put us under tremendous pressure and put the ball in the right areas and got us for 90. That low first innings total was always a factor.”
The end came swiftly as Yasir picked up the last two wickets in the space of four balls, Neil Wagner caught at midwicket — another man trying to sweep — and Trent Boult feathering an outside edge to Sarfraz behind the stumps.
The third and final Test starts in Abu Dhabi from Monday.


Scenarios for a potential return of the Premier League

Updated 01 April 2020

Scenarios for a potential return of the Premier League

  • One option is for clubs to converge on a neutral location in which all remaining games are played behind closed doors

LONDON: English football's major stakeholders will meet on Friday to discuss their options to rescue a season derailed by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Premier League campaign has been postponed until at least April 30 because of the pandemic, but the chances of a return in May look bleak.

AFP Sport takes a closer look at the various scenarios that are likely to be considered in the talks over if and how to finish the season:

One option is for clubs to converge on a neutral location in which all remaining games are played behind closed doors, with only essential personnel and broadcasters allowed to attend.

There is believed to be growing support among clubs for this plan, with nine rounds of matches potentially in line to be staged in June and July.

Fixtures would reportedly be played in one or two locations in the Midlands and London.

That could mean players and coaches being quarantined away from their families in World Cup-style camps to avoid infection, with stadiums, hotels and training facilities undergoing a deep clean.

A radical upturn in testing for the virus in the UK over the next two months is the key to this plan for a number of reasons.

Firstly, to ease players' concerns of contracting COVID-19 while playing, but also to avoid criticism of privileged professional players being tested with mild or no symptoms if that is not available to the general public and in particular frontline workers.

FASTFACT

Given the massive impact of the virus on society in general, it is seen in some quarters as morally inappropriate for football to return too soon.

If the curve of cases is not significantly flattened come the summer the optics for the Premier League to have medical officials at nonessential events would also not be good.

Given the massive impact of the virus on society in general, it is seen in some quarters as morally inappropriate for football to return too soon.

Instead of rushing back to action, waiting until the virus is completely under control before play resumes is the preferred strategy in this scenario.

With the virus reportedly set to peak in the UK in June, that could mean remaining in sporting lockdown until August or September.

Waiting would allow the current season to be completed in full, ensuring the Premier League does not have to repay an estimated £750 million ($930 million, € 842 million) to television companies for breach of contract.

But it would have a huge knock-on effect for next season, potentially leading to a shortened schedule in 2020-21 in a bid to be ready for the delayed European Championship.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane believes the campaign should be canceled if it cannot be finished by the end of June.

"Playing into July or August and pushing next season back, I don't see too much benefit in that," Kane said.

"Probably the limit for me is the end of June. If the season's not completed by the end of June we need to look at the options and just look forward to next season."

In what would be the worst-case scenario for the Premier League, some clubs reportedly want to abandon the current season immediately.

Senior figures in English club football believe there is "no place for sport at the moment,"  according to a recent report in the Athletic.

FA chairman Greg Clarke reportedly told the Premier League earlier this month he does not believe the season will be completed.

Declaring the season over could trigger legal action from a host of clubs, regardless of whether or not the standings are allowed
to count.

Liverpool need only two more wins to confirm their first league title since 1990 and hold a 25-point lead over Manchester City.

Canceling the season would scupper their hopes of ending a 30-year title drought, unless it was agreed to declare them champions anyway.

Manchester United, Wolves, Sheffield United and Tottenham, all currently outside the top four, would surely claim they had been unfairly been denied a chance of Champions League qualification.

Aston Villa would be relegated along with Norwich and Bournemouth, but Dean Smith's team would point to the game in hand that would lift them above Watford to safety if they won it.

In the Championship, the current top two are Leeds and West Bromwich Albion and they would be furious if a 'null and void' ruling robbed them of a lucrative promotion.