Spinning is well and truly sexy again in New Zealand if it already wasn't, thanks to Black Caps tweaker Ajaz Patel.

Patel, making his debut, spearheaded the Kiwis to a four-run victory over hosts Pakistan in the first test of a three-match series at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi not long before midnight.

The 30-year-old Central Districts Stags cricketer helped the Kane Williamson-captained Black Caps do the unthinkable, considering previous sides had crumbled in a heap at just the thought of defending lesser targets against an opposition who are at best mercenaries on foreign soil because of an ICC ban to host matches in their own country following the March 3, 2009, non-fatal bombing of a Sri Lanka tour bus at Lahore.

"Yes, it's a dream come true, isn't it?" said Patel to commentator Danny Morrison after collecting a five-wicket bag in the second innings to finish with 7-123 in bowling 23.4 of the 58.4 overs in the Pakistan innings.

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"I mean debut for New Zealand and putting yourself in a position to win the game for your country so it's a very special feeling," said the bloke whose name rolled off commentators' lips, albeit mutating from Morrison's "Ahjaaz" to "Eejaaz" in the vernacular.

Evidently Pakistan had panicked. Bilal Asif, Yasir Shah and Hasan Ali were looking to clear the ropes as tail enders after seamer Neil Wagner claimed the prized wicket of Shafiq for 45 runs at No 5 to trigger off a collapse.

But top scorer Azhar Ali, at No 3, was a picture of focus as he took Mohammad Abbas under his wings, hellbent on eking out a run an over.

Frankly, it became a battle of undying faith. Patel, a devout Muslim, up against batsmen who also liberally take the name of Allah in trying to accomplish what often appeared to be against insurmountable odds.

Two days were left to play but Pakistan needed 11 runs and New Zealand just a wicket at the 52-over mark.

Even some of the smattering of vociferous fans in the near-empty stadium had been muted, reduced to worshippers opening their palms, rocking in Muslim prayer-like fashion to desperately seek devine intervention.

This time Allah accepted Patel's offerings, as the You Travel Taradale premier club cricketer trapped Azhar leg before wicket for 65 runs.

Defiant, albeit in a state of hopelessness, the once composed batsman found himself at the mercy of the DRS (digital review system) but even the digital gods were unmoved.

The verdict was loud and clear as the Black Caps rejoiced, exchanging man hugs and attempting to lift Patel who had uprooted a stump and with it the man-of-the-match award.

Newly appointed New Zealand coach Gary Stead and his Pakistan counterpart, Mickey Arthur, rode their own emotional roller coasters as they found it difficult to remain seated towards the end.

Just as Williamson had done on the field, Stead had lost his composure jumping up and down to celebrate a historic victory on his debut as national men's coach.

It was not only a great billboard for test cricket but also a snapshot in the shift in attitude from convenor of selectors Gavin Larsen in recognising the importance of spinners to the New Zealand equation.

In reality, New Zealand had taken on Pakistan at their own game in the hosts' backyard to emerge victorious.

That endorsement perhaps best came from umpire Ian Gould, of England, who had offered the match-winning ball to Morrison to gift to Patel, an Aucklander who plies his trade in Hawke's Bay.

Gould had exchanged a few words with the spinner amid the celebrations on the wicket.

Ajaz Patel leads the way off the field as Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson applauds at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, overnight. Photo/Photosport
Ajaz Patel leads the way off the field as Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson applauds at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, overnight. Photo/Photosport

Patel had later alluded to "the New Zealand way" of believing "anything is possible" on a staple diet of simplicity.

"I'd like to think I've waited a while as well, you know, I'm 30 now so I've put a lot of work in to put myself in this position so it's quite rewarding to be able to contribute to really get one across the line for the country," he told Morrison with a grin although longevity is often on the side of spinners.

It is a timely reminder for Stead and Larsen that tweakers are blue-collar workers in New Zealand.

While Patel stole the thunder the contribution of legspinner Ish Sodhi, making the most of white-ball crumbs every summer, shouldn't be overlooked.

Yes, 26-year-old Sodhi was erratic with his line and length at times but even retired Australia great Shane Warne emphasises the discipline and patience required to master the art in his book, No Spin, released last month.

Mitchell Santner, remodelled as an allrounder during Mike Hesson's regime, is bracketed to return after knee surgery but the selectors will have their work cut out.

For Patel it'll no doubt be a case of "leaving the rest to Allah and working as hard as I can". He will hope he won't end up in the mould of veteran and former test spinner Jeetan Patel who Daniel Vettori had eclipsed.

Former national coach Mark Greatbatch had stressed the significance of investing in young spinning talent in the country since the summer of 2009-10. NZ A tours, to an extent, have lent some credence to that.

Wicketkeeper BJ Watling collected the the Power Player of the Match award but it's obvious even he needs more exposure to the likes of Ajaz Patel and Sodhi behind the stumps.

More importantly, as curators around the country prepare the made-to-order drop-in wickets for the international fixtures it'll pay to create strips that offer something for everybody.

The remaining two tests in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it's fair to say, will demand Patel and Sodhi, if not 34-year-old Will Somerville at the expense of Colin de Grandhomme's dart bowling and meagre runs, will soldier on amid a Pakistani resolve to right a wrong.

A wounded Pakistan batman Azhar Ali puts aside his disappointment to congratulate Black Caps left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel in Abu Dhabi, overnight. Photo/Photosport
A wounded Pakistan batman Azhar Ali puts aside his disappointment to congratulate Black Caps left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel in Abu Dhabi, overnight. Photo/Photosport