Pakistan thrash Nepal to win opening match by 238 runs

Pakistan defeated Nepal by a whopping 238 runs in the opening match of the Asia Cup 2023 at Multan Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

The hosts played a complete match and dominated the visitors in all aspects of the game.

Pakistan continued their excellent form after entering the Asia Cup on a high as they topped the ICC rankings for ODI teams on Saturday after a 3-0 clean sweep over Afghanistan in Sri Lanka.

Shadab Khan took four wickets for his side for just 27 runs and was the key to the Green Shirts’ big-margin victory as the visitors were all out on 104 runs.

Mohammad Rizwan’s blinder behind the wicket and Fakhar Zaman’s stunning catch were the highlights of the second innings of the match.

Shaheen Shah Afridi did what he does best as he sent two Nepali batters back to the pavilion in the first over.

Earlier in the first innings, Pakistan posted a massive total of 342-6 in 50 overs after winning the toss and deciding to bat first.

Captain Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed led the way for Pakistan with brilliant centuries.

Ahmed remained unbeaten on 109 runs in 71 balls with the help of 11 fours and four sixes.

Meanwhile, Azam was dismissed after scoring 151 runs in 131 balls which included 14 fours and four sixes.

Azam, 28, broke former South Africa batter Hashim Amla’s record as he became the fastest player to 19 ODI centuries. He reached this feat in just 102 innings while Amla did it in his 104th.

It must be noted that Babar Azam came to bat after Pakistan had an early collapse as they were 25-2 after Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq lost their wickets.

The 28-year-old stood tall on the crease and formed a crucial 86-run partnership with Mohammad Rizwan before the wicketkeeper batter got run out in a bizarre way. Rizwan scored 44 runs in 50 balls.

After Rizwan lost his wicket, Salman Agha (5) came to bat he, too, did not last long and lost his wicket while attempting a reverse-sweep shot to Nepal’s Sandeep Lamichhane.

After Agha’s wicket, Azam formed a solid partnership of 214 runs in only 131 balls with Iftikhar Ahmed.

Nepal, as a team, and Multan, as a venue, made their debut in the Asia Cup. It was also the first match between Pakistan and Nepal at the top level.

Nepal: Kushal Bhurtel, Aasif Sheikh (wk), Rohit Paudel (c), Aarif Sheikh, Kushal Malla, Dipendra Singh Airee, Gulsan Jha, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Sandeep Lamichhane, Lalit Rajbanshi

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Agha Salman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf

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