Babar Azam explains surprise declaration in Karachi; fans react to Pakistan skipper's call

The Pakistan skipper got the social media buzzing after the most shocking declaration that gave New Zealand a sniff towards an unlikely victory. 
 
Babar Azam

Babar Azam shocked everyone with a last-minute twist in the Karachi Test against New Zealand. The Pakistan skipper declared only 137 runs ahead in the third-innings with an hour or so left in the final day's play even after his lower-order men had fought for their lives to secure a draw from a position of strife. 

Middle-order linchpin Saud Shakeel played out 108 balls for his unbeaten 55 and battled along, first with Mohammad Wasim, who played a resilient knock of 43 and then with Mir Hamza and his stoic 3* off 34 deliveries. All this while, Shakeel would've felt the aim is crystal clear for his team: bat till the very end and ensure series parity heading into the next Test in Multan. 

But then his eyebrows would've risen in shock seeing Babar alongside few other Pakistani players signalling declaration from the balcony. The call was made despite minutes remaining before the play entered the last hour, which may have given New Zealand a chance to aim for the glory if not for the bad light that ultimately ruined their chase at 61/1 in 7.3 overs. 

Babar Azam later on explained that he wanted to "take a chance" and see how New Zealand may react to his move. That they reacted with an onslaught, which if not for the bad light may have resulted in a Pakistan loss and be an egg-on-the-face moment for the skipper, only fuelled anger amongst Pakistani fans who were watching the final bit of the proceedings and took a sigh of relief when the light proved insignificant to continue play. 

Fans react to Babar's shocking declaration call 

"We said we'd go after a result. We took a chance, you never know. It's cricket. Anything can happen. Saud and [Mohammad] Wasim Junior's partnership was vital for us because it brought us into the game," Babar told the press after the Test. 

"That put the idea in my head that we could declare. You all will have enjoyed it as well, and it surprised everyone. It was in our mind we'd take a chance because anything can happen."

"We sent a message in, just before we declared, to tell the batters to assess the conditions and play according to those. At times you have to take brave decisions and take chances. As a team and captain, I try and do that. You plan for a result, even if you can't guarantee it," he added. 

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Taking a punt, however, could easily have spoiled all the good work that Shakeel and Pakistan's lower-order did to rescue them from a vulnerable spot. New Zealand coasted along during their little run-chase Tom Latham smashing an unbeaten 35 off 24 balls.

Here is how the fans reacted: 

The Kiwis were only 77 short of a remarkable win when the play was called off. Given the rate at which they were batting, it wouldn't have needed more than 9-10 overs for them to get there.