Shafiq chalks up 4,000 runs as Pakistan eyes victory

Pakistani batsman Asad Shafiq, left, plays a shot as New Zealand cricketers Henry Nicholls looks on during the fourth day of the first Test cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 19, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 19 November 2018
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Shafiq chalks up 4,000 runs as Pakistan eyes victory

  • Shafiq is the 11th Pakistani batsman to score 4,000 or more runs in Test cricket
  • Pakistan, set 176 to win the match, were 100-3 with just half an hour before lunch on the fourth day

ABU DHABI: Middle order batsman Asad Shafiq chalked up 4,000 runs in the five-day format Monday as Pakistan edged close to victory in their first Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi.
Shafiq took a single off left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel to reach 24, making him the 11th Pakistani batsman to score 4,000 or more runs in Test cricket.
Pakistan, set 176 to win the match, were 100-3 with just half an hour before lunch on the fourth day. Azhar Ali was at the crease on 20.
Pakistan are hoping the pair continue their solid run to force a 1-0 win in the three-match series.
Shafiq and Azhar rescued Pakistan during their 52-run unfinished stand for the fourth wicket after high drama at the start of the day, when Pakistan lost three quick wickets in the space of just eight runs and as many balls.
Opener Imam-ul-Haq was trapped leg-before to a full length ball by Patel in the fifth over of the day. Imam made 27 with four boundaries.
His fellow opener Mohammad Hafeez then miscued a drive off leg-spinner Ish Sodhi’s next over and was caught at covers for ten.
Haris Sohail followed three balls later, caught and bowled off a Sodhi full toss for four.


‘If home crowds can’t help you, nothing can’, says golf star Rory McIlroy

Updated 17 July 2019
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‘If home crowds can’t help you, nothing can’, says golf star Rory McIlroy

  • The world number three is the bookmakers’ favorite to lift the Claret Jug for the second time on Sunday
  • British Open returns to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951

PORTRUSH, United Kingdom: Rory McIlroy said on Wednesday that he is not feeling extra pressure this week as the British Open returns to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951, and is hoping home fans can help him end a five-year major drought.
The world number three is the bookmakers’ favorite to lift the Claret Jug for the second time on Sunday, despite not having claimed a major title since the 2014 PGA Championship.
He said in the past he struggled being the focus of attention at Irish Opens, although he did win that tournament in 2016.
“I think it’s probably easier this week because it’s such a big tournament,” said McIlroy, who opens his title tilt at Royal Portrush at 0909 GMT on Thursday alongside US Open winner Gary Woodland and England’s Paul Casey.
“You’ve got the best players in the world here, and I don’t feel like I’m the center of attention.
“I’m here to enjoy myself. Hopefully it doesn’t take another 68 years for the tournament to come back here. But at the same time, I mightn’t get an opportunity to play an Open Championship here again.
“I’m really just treating it as a wonderful experience and one that I really want to enjoy.
“I’m going to love being out there and having the crowds and having the support. If that can’t help you, then nothing can.”
McIlroy fired a course-record 61 on the Dunluce Links at the age of just 16 in 2005, and is one of three Northern Irish major champions in the field along with Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke.
He said his first memories of Portrush came as a child when watching his father play.
“I remember chipping around the chipping green, being seven or eight years of age, my dad out playing on the Dunluce,” added McIlroy, who played a practice round on Tuesday.
“Portrush ... At least the golf club, has been a big part of my upbringing. It’s sort of surreal that it’s here.
“Even driving in yesterday, when you’re coming in on the road and you look to the right and you’ve got the second tee... I don’t know who was teeing off, maybe (American player) Tony Finau and someone else, (it was) sort of strange to see them here.
“But it’s really cool.”
Since McIlroy’s record the course has been renovated, with the seventh and eighth new holes.
But the 30-year-old said he did not have to spend too much time preparing on the course, such is his familiarity with it.
“I had dinner booked with a parent on Saturday night at 8:00, thinking I’m going to have to spend some time around the greens and just prepare.
“And I got on the road back home and rang them and said, ‘Can we move dinner up?’ Because I finished early. There’s no difference. It’s the same golf course.”
McIlroy has been in strong form this year, winning twice, including the Players’ Championship, and posting 11 top-10 finishes.
He also finished in a tie for second at the Open at Carnoustie last year.
“I think it’s probably the most consistent period of golf I’ve ever played,” the 2014 champion said.