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Pakistan Downs Nepal by 238 Runs in Asia Cup

Pakistan Downs Nepal by 238 Runs in Asia Cup

Pakistan Downs Nepal by 238 Runs in Asia Cup

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Captain Babar Azam scored his 19th century in One Day Internationals (ODIs), while Iftikhar Ahmed scored 109 runs from 71 balls, as Pakistan began the Asia Cup by defeating Nepal, a new entrant, with a commanding margin of 238 runs on Wednesday.

Babar Azam’s innings of 151 from 131 balls, along with his partnership with Iftikhar Ahmed, where they scored a double-century for the fifth wicket, helped Pakistan reach a formidable total of 342-6 after they chose to bat first in the Group A match.

In its first ever Asia Cup appearance, Nepal struggled and managed only 104 runs before getting all out in 23.4 overs. Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah quickly took wickets at the beginning, exploiting the new ball, while Shadab Khan dismantled the lower-order, securing impressive figures of 4-27.

Afridi maintained his reputation for taking early wickets in limited-overs cricket by dismissing Kushal Bhurtel (8), who was caught behind, and immediately after that, he got captain Rohit Paudel out leg before wicket with the following delivery.

Naseem Shah then managed to get a thick edge from Aasif Sheikh’s (5) bat, causing Nepal to stumble to 14-3 in the first two overs. The highest scorer, Sompal Kami (28), and Aarif Shaikh (26) collaborated for a 59-run partnership before Haris Rauf, the fast-paced bowler, dismissed both players consecutively, and Shadab Khan swiftly secured four wickets.

Earlier in the game, Nepal created some nervous moments for the Pakistan team as Fakhar Zaman (14) was caught by Karan Khatri Chhetri, and Imam-ul-Haq was run-out for 5 due to a strong throw from Paudel at mid-on.

However, these initial setbacks didn’t shake the confidence of the highest-ranked batsman, Babar. He first put together a partnership of 86 runs with Mohammad Rizwan (44) and then dominated against Nepal’s spin and pace, forging a rapid alliance of 214 runs from 131 balls alongside Iftikhar.

Rizwan was run-out due to another exceptional fielding effort by Dipendra Singh Airee when the game was midway. Following this, Babar and Iftikhar took control against Nepal’s inexperienced bowlers. Babar paced himself to reach his fifty from 72 balls, while Iftikhar played more aggressively, achieving his first ODI century in just 67 balls.


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The Nepalese fielders displayed moments of brilliance, but they also made several mistakes in the hot and humid conditions of Multan. There were instances where their fielding was subpar. Aarif Sheikh dropped a catch at gully, and Imam-ul-Haq was fortunate not to be dismissed right before he got run-out. Even Babar Azam had a stroke of luck after completing his fifty. The outfield fielding by Nepal was shaky, leading to multiple fumbles and boundary concessions.

Babar achieved his 19th ODI century in his 102nd innings, making it the fastest in ODI history.

The fast bowler Sompal Kami (2-85) and legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane (1-69) were consistently hit for boundaries, including a couple of impressive one-handed sixes by Babar to the backward square leg area.

In the latter part of the innings, both batsmen took control, propelling Pakistan to score 129 runs from the final 60 balls. However, Kami managed to take the consolation wickets of Babar and Shadab Khan in the last over. Babar was caught out at mid-off, and Shadab was bowled clean on the final delivery while attempting a ramp shot.

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is hosting this year’s tournament across two countries, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This arrangement came about because of political tensions between India and Pakistan, leading India to decline playing matches in Pakistan. The ACC agreed to Pakistan’s hybrid model, wherein India, placed in Group A, will play all its matches in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka will host a total of nine matches, including the final on September 17, while Pakistan will host four matches.

Group B comprises Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, with all three teams scheduled to play at least one match in Pakistan. On Thursday, Sri Lanka will face Bangladesh at Pallekele in Sri Lanka, while Pakistan will travel to Sri Lanka to play against India at Pallekele on Saturday.


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