Pakistan clinching a win against Nepal does not come as a surprise. They were favorites to win the opening event of Asia Cup 2023, even before the match began. Consider the top-ranked team going against a side that is in 15th position. There are chances for an upset, definitely, but Nepal is a team that can give a tough fight at the best.
The opening event was hosted by Multan Cricket Stadium on August 30, 2023, at 3 pm IST. It was the decision of the hosts to bat first. Smart indeed, for the dry pitch yields an average of just above 250 runs only to favor bowlers in the later hours. It is no secret that the side that bats first on the said pitch has the upper hand. The fact that Pakistan decided to leverage it instead of taking up a challenge speaks a different story.
Pakistan were down by 2 wickets in just 7 overs. Tables were turning in the favor of visitors led by Rohit Paudel. Then came Babar Azam, who picked up on the length and pace of deliveries to bring up a total of 151 runs in 131 balls. That was fetched through 14-4s and 4-6s at the strike rate of 115.27.
Rizwan is known to have a great deal of understanding while batting from the other end, especially when their skipper has taken charge. However, a wrong call made him miss the line by a margin for a walkout in the 24th over. Best online betting sites for cricket continued favoring them throughout the innings. Rizwan’s wicket then paved the way for the number 6 batter, Iftikhar Ahmed.
He handed the middle order with the grace of a century at the strike rate of 153.52. Remaining unbeaten, Ahmed made sure that the run board kept moving with no impact on Azam’s wicket in any form.
Sompal Kami managed 2 wickets, followed by Karan KC and Sandeep Lamichhane with a single hit each.
Shaheen Afridi led the bowling unit by picking up 2 consecutive wickets in the first over. Kushal and Rohit departed early against a massive score that only went on to become near impossible under the current chasing scenario.
Aarif Sheikh and Sompal Kami did get comfortable on the pitch, to the extent that there was not a single wicket for 12 overs. The 50+ run partnership was the last ray of hope for Nepal. Haris Rauf was looking for answers as his deliveries were not giving him any wickets. He finally succeeded in the 15th and 17th overs by sending Sheikh and Kami back to the pavilion in their respective overs.
The partnership broke, and what followed was a disaster, not any team ever wants to go through. Pakistan ended up winning the match by a 238-run margin. Nepal collapsed at 104 runs in 23.4 overs.