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Asia Cup 2023: Group A, PAK vs NEP: Babar, Iftikhar 214-run stand hands Pakistan big win

Asia Cup 2023: Group A, Pakistan vs Nepal: Babar Azam's 151, Iftikhar Ahmed's 109 and Bowler's combined 5-60 are top performances. Pakistan beat Nepal by 238 runs and move to the top of the Group A table.

Asia Cup 2023: Group A, Pakistan vs Nepal: Babar Azam's 151 helps Pakistan beat Nepal | Walking wicket (Images: ©TheRealPCB/Twitter)
Babar Azam scored 151 in Asia Cup opener (Images: ©TheRealPCB/Twitter)

Brief Scores: Pakistan 342/6 (Babar 151, Iftikhar 109*, Sompal 2/85) beat Nepal 104 (Sompal 28, Shadab 4/27, Rauf 2/16) by 238 runs.


Player Of The Match: Babar Azam (151 runs in 131 balls)


Top-ranked One Day International (ODI) side Pakistan locked horns with debutants Nepal, who played their maiden edition of the Asia Cup in 2023 during the tournament's first game at the Multan Cricket Stadium in Multan.


Both teams are meeting each other for the first time across formats. Pakistan, hosting its first multi-nation competition since 2008, has won seven of the last 10 ODIs at this ground.


Talking point: Middle Order contributed heavily to Pakistan’s total

One of the main concerns for Pakistan going into this tournament was their middle order. Still, the way Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed contributed with their respective centuries would give the team so much trust in competing. They were under pressure in patches but came out with brave batting.



Babar-Iftikhar centuries helped Pakistan register a huge 238-run victory

On winning the toss, Pakistan captain Babar Azam decided to bat first on a flat track on a warm afternoon. Sandeep Lamichhane led Nepal’s bowling, while Pakistan added left-arm spinner Mohammed Nawaz beside their fierce-looking pace attack.


Opting to bat first, Pakistan didn’t begin well, losing both the openers on a low score. They found themselves at 25/2 in the seventh over before an 86-run stand between Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan rescued them to 111/3 in the 24th. The mammoth 214-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Babar and Iftikhar Ahmed, both of whom made respective centuries, fired Pakistan to 342/6 in their allotted 50 overs.


Chasing a huge target, Nepal slipped early, losing three quick wickets at just 14 on the board. The 59-run fourth wicket stand between Aarif Sheikh and Sompal Kami comforted them before Pakistan again showed their skill to bundle out Nepal for just 104 runs, winning the opener by 238 runs.



A look at the top three performances from the game between Pakistan & Nepal in Multan

Babar Azam’s record daddy hundred saves Pakistan from early Trouble

Coming on the crease during the sixth over, Babar Azam began with a boundary clipped towards mid-wicket to get off the mark. With Pakistan losing two early wickets, he partnered Rizwan for an 86-run stand where he mostly focused on taking singles and doubles.


Finally, he broke the shackles by cutting Dipendra Singh through backward point for a boundary before flicking the same bowler behind square for the same result. With a couple of runs, he got to his eighth 50+ score in 12 ODIs this year. After the dismissal of Rizwan, Babar changed gears to smack Lality Rajbanshi for two fours in the deep mid-wicket fence before punishing Sandeep Lamichhane behind the stumps for a boundary.


With another couple of runs, Babar recorded his 19th ODI century in 109 balls before smashing Gulsan Jha beyond deep square for a six. He nailed Sompal Kami for two consecutive fours before hoisting him over long-off for a six. Lamichhane was clubbed for two back-to-back sixes by Babar to reach his second 150+ ODI score. He was finally dismissed on 151 in 131 balls with the help of 14 boundaries and four sixes to have 5353 ODI runs in 104 games now.


Asia Cup 2023_ Group A, Pakistan vs Nepal_ Iftikar Ahmed's 109 helps Pakistan beat Nepal _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©TheRealPCB_Twitter)
Iftikar added 214-runs for 5th wicket with Babar (Images: ©TheRealPCB/Twitter)
Iftikhar Ahmed showed fierce character in his maiden ODI century

Coming at 124/4, Pakistan needed a steady but aggressive knock from Iftikhar Ahmed, who cut Karan KC through backward point for a boundary. He pulled Sompal Kami over cow corner for a six before lifting Lamichhane in the same area for a four.


Since the 43rd over, he went in a hostile mood, sweeping Dipendra over deep mid-wicket for a six. He cut Lamichhane for another boundary behind the square, besides whacking Sompal for another six over a long-on region.


Iftikhar used all his muscle to smoke Karan KC into the mighty sky for a 97-meter-long six over long off before reaching his maiden ODI century in just 67 deliveries with a boundary in the short third position. He remained unbeaten on 109 runs in 71 balls at a strike rate of 153.52, shouldering on 11 fours and four over boundaries to now have 402 runs in 15 ODIs.


Asia Cup 2023_ Group A, Pakistan vs Nepal_ Pakistan pacers took 5-60 and beat Nepal by 238 runs_ Walking wicket (Images_ ©ICC_Twitter)
Afridi took 2 wickets in first over against Nepal (Images: ©ICC/Twitter)
Shaheen, Rauf, and Naseem breathe fire with a combined figure of 5/60

Nepal’s main challenge was to tackle the fiery Pakistan bowling attack, and they found the real threat of extra pace. In his poor first over, Shaheen Shah Afridi somehow managed to get the edge of Kushal Bhurtel down the leg side on his score of 8.


On the next ball, Afridi trapped captain Paudel before the stumps on a first-ball duck. Naseem Shah found the outside edge of Aasif Sheikh on five as the slip fielder grabbed a dolly catch.


Haris Rauf broke the good-looking 59-run stand, sending back Aarif Sheikh on 26, who made room only to see his stumps going all over the place. In his next over, Rauf, with his extra pace, found the outside edge of Somal Kami on 28 before Rizwan grabbed an excellent catch behind.


The combined figures of 5/60 in 15 overs of fast bowling blew away the Nepal batting.



Stats and records from Pakistan vs Nepal game, Asia Cup 2023
  • Babar Azam becomes the quickest to reach 19 ODI centuries in 102 innings, going past Hashim Amla (104 innings).

  • With 19 ODI centuries, Babar Azam is just behind Saeed Anwar (20) for most ODI centuries for Pakistan.

  • Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed’s 214-run stand is the highest fifth-wicket stand for Pakistan in ODIs.

  • Iftikhar Ahmed’s 67-ball ODI century is the fifth joint fastest for Pakistan.

Points table scenario and what’s to come

With this huge win, Pakistan gets two crucial points, with their net run rate (NRR) reaching +4.760.

Sri Lanka will take on Bangladesh on August 31 at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy.



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