Skipper Babar Azam hit a pleasant 151 whereas Iftikhar Ahmed smashed his maiden ODI century as Pakistan thrashed minnows Nepal by 238 runs within the opening match of the Asia Cup in Multan on Wednesday. Babar and Iftikhar performed pivotal roles in powering Pakistan to 342 for six after opting to bat. Babar (151 off 130) was concerned in two essential partnerships after a sedate begin — first stitching 86 runs with Mohammad Rizwan (44 off 50) after which sharing a whirlwind 214 runs for the fifth wicket with Iftikhar (109 not out off 71 balls) — to take Pakistan to an imposing complete.
Babar adorned his knock with 14 fours and 4 sixes, whereas Iftikhar, who was at his harmful greatest, struck 11 boundaries and 4 hits over the fence.
This was after Pakistan made an unimpressive begin to their innings as they misplaced each the openers early.
It was at all times going to be a Herculean process for Nepal and it turned out to be so.
Kushal Bhurtel made a courageous begin to Nepal’s chase with consecutive boundaries off Shaheen Shah Afridi on the opening two balls, nevertheless it was shortlived because the ace left-arm made an outstanding comeback to dismiss him and Nepal skipper Rohit Paudel within the final two balls of the over.
Naseem Shah then bought into the act within the subsequent over and induced an outdoor edge from Aasif Sheikh which was pounced by Iftikhar within the first flip as Nepal slipped to 14 for 3.
Aarif Sheikh (26) and Sompal Karmi then tried to regular the ship with a 59-run fourth-wicket stand, earlier than Haris Rauf went via the defence of the previous.
Rauf then dismissed Nepal’s top-scorer Sompal (28) an over later to scale back the Himalayan nation to 82 for five.
Thereafter, wickets fell like 9 pins as Nepal batters failed to supply any resistance, ultimately bundling out for 104 in 23.4 overs.
Leg-break bowler Shahdab Khan cleaned up Nepal’s tail to return with spectacular figures of 4 for 27.
Earlier, whereas Fakhar Zaman (14) confirmed intent initially however failed to hold on as he was brilliantly caught by a diving Nepal wicketkeeper Aasif Sheikh off the bowling of Karan KC within the sixth over.
Pakistan suffered yet one more blow quickly when Imam-ul-Haq was discovered in need of the crease whereas making an attempt a single that was not for the taking. A direct throw from Nepal captain Rohit Paudel ended his innings.
Babar was then joined on the crease by wicketkeeper-batter Rizwan and the duo stabilised Pakistan’s innings.
While Babar performed the function of an anchor, Rizwan confirmed his attacking instincts through the 86-run stand for the third wicket which got here off 111 balls.
But the beginning of their partnership was removed from rosy because the duo struggled to maintain the scoreboard ticking initially with Pakistan reaching 50 within the twelfth over.
The Pakistani duo saved the scoreboard ticking with rotation of strike and hit the unhealthy balls to the boundary to carry up the staff’s 100 within the twenty second over.
Just when he was trying threatening, Rizwan fell to a direct hit on the non-striker’s finish by Dipendra Singh Airee searching for a fast single. Rizwan paid the value for not grounding his bat, one thing not acceptable on the highest stage.
While Babar saved one finish regular, Salman Agha (5) failed to hassle the scorers a lot, falling prey to Sandeep Lamichhane.
Babar introduced up his fifty with a double within the twenty ninth over.
But Iftikhar’s arrival gave the much-needed increase to Pakistan’s innings as he performed aggressively from the onset.
Iftikhar’s strategy appeared to have impressed Babar in addition to he too opened up his arms thereafter and located the boundaries at will.
Babar introduced up his ton off 109 balls within the forty second over.
The duo, particularly Iftikhar, toyed with the Nepalese bowlers because it rained fours and sixes at will from there on. Iftikhar introduced up his maiden ton off simply 67 balls.
Babar fell simply seven runs in need of his private greatest rating.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Topics talked about on this article