Azhar Ali scores 57th half-century on NZ A v Shaheens’ opening day

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WHANGAREI, December 17 (Online): Pakistan Shaheens’ Azhar Ali’s 57th first-class half-century and New Zealand A’s Ed Nuttal’s five-wicket haul were the highlights of day one of the four-day first-class contest between the two sides at Cobham Oval on Thursday.
Azhar made 58 off 172 balls in Shaheens’ 194 after they were asked to bat. The former Test captain hit three fours and stitched a 49-run stand for the third wicket with Imran Butt, who was the next best scorer in the innings with 27.
Shaheen’s captain Rohail Nazir made 21 off 37 on the back of four fours before he became the sole wicket of Matt Henry.
The New Zealand A bowling attack was led by Nuttal, who took five wickets for 54 runs. The left-arm pacer accounted for both openers – Shan Masood (eight) and Abid Ali (seven) – which reduced the visitors to 17 for two in 7.1 overs before Azhar and Imran put up a brief resistance.
Nuttal’s next wickets were Fawad Alam (three), Amad Butt (13) and Azhar.
Right-arm pacer Nathan Smith was the other notable bowler with three wickets for 29 runs.
In reply, New Zealand A were dealt a blow as Mohammad Abbas induced a leading edge of Henry Cooper’s blade to be safely caught by Imran in the slip cordon on the last ball of the second over.
The hosts had managed 23 for one in the 10 overs they faced from Sohail Khan (5-1-18-0) and Abbas (5-3-4-1) and trailed by 171.
Rachin Ravindra and Ken McClure, both not out on 11, will resume New Zealand A’s innings on the second morning of the match.
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Scores in brief
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Pakistan Shaheens 194 all out, 73 overs (Azhar Ali 58, Imran Butt 27, Rohail Nazir 21; Ed Nuttal 5-54, Nathan Smith 3-29)
New Zealand A 23-1, 10 overs (Rachin Ravindra 11 not out, Ken McClure 11 not out; Mohammad Abbas 1-4)

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