Pakistan won the opening match of the Asia Cup in Multan by 238 runs, thanks to the centuries of Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed. The hosts dismissed Nepal for just 104 runs in 23.4 overs, with an outstanding spell of leg-spinner Shadab Khan and pace bowling combination Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah Afridi.
The victory gives Pakistan the perfect start and preparation for their upcoming matchup against India in Pallekele. Since India declined to tour Pakistan, the Asia Cup is being played on a hybrid model this year, with Sri Lanka hosting nine matches and Pakistan hosting four.
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Babar Azam helped Pakistan defeat Nepal by 238 runs in the 2023 Asia Cup
The victory gives Pakistan, who climbed to the top of the ODI rankings last week, the perfect start to the competition.
Pakistan destroyed Nepal
In the opening match of the Asia Cup on Wednesday in Multan, Pakistan hammered Nepal by 238 runs thanks to punishing hundreds from the No. 1 batters in the world, Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed.
As Pakistan built up 342-6 in 50 overs, the captain Azam hit a 131-ball 151 for his 19th ODI hundred, and Ahmed scored an unbeaten 109 in 71 balls for his first.
The hosts quickly dismissed Nepal
The hosts then dismissed Nepal for just 104 runs in 23.4 overs, with leg-spinner Shadab Khan grabbing 4-27 and the pace bowling combination of Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah Afridi taking 2-16 and 2-27.
Only three players, Sompal Kami (28), Aarif Sheikh (26), and Gulsan Jha (13), reached double digits while battling Pakistan’s renowned bowling attack.
Match in brief
However, Pakistan’s first innings effectively ended the match. Iftikhar Ahmed’s first ODI century and Babar’s impressive 151 runs together set a lofty goal for Nepal. Both in batting and bowling, Nepal struggled, but their fielding effort was poor, which must have deeply disappointed skipper Rohit Paudel.
Shaheen Afridi took two wickets in the first over to give them a quick advantage, and Naseem also struck quickly. Sompal Kami and Aarif Sheikh were able to form a partnership for Nepal, but Haris Rauf’s incredible speed ultimately proved to be their demise.
Nepal faced a learning curve because they appeared utterly outmatched in every facet of the game. After that, Nepal’s wickets started to fall quickly, thanks to Shadab, who put in an outstanding performance by taking four wickets while only giving up 27 runs.
The perfect start for Pakistan
The victory gives Pakistan, who last week surpassed India to take the top spot in the ODI rankings, the perfect start and preparation for the high-profile matchup against India in Pallekele on Saturday.
About Asia Cup 2023
Since India declined to tour Pakistan due to political unrest, the Asia Cup is being played on a hybrid model this year, with Sri Lanka hosting nine matches and Pakistan hosting four. Group A includes India, Pakistan, and Nepal, while Group B contains the current champions Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.