By a staff reporter
Kathmandu – Pakistan have presented Nepal with a target of 343 runs in the Asia Cup 2023 opener. Pakistan, who won the toss and opted to bat, managed to put 342 runs on board at the loss of six wickets, playing the whole 50 overs with brilliant performances by skipper Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed.
World number one batter and Pakistan skipper Babar Azam played a stellar innings of 151 runs with 14 fours and four sixes while Iftikhar Ahmed scored a quickfire ton, managing to score an unbeaten 109 in 71 deliveries with 11 fours and four sixes. It was Iftikhar’s maiden international ODI ton, while Babar got to his 19th ODI century.
Nepal made a decent start in the powerplay, sending both openers back to the dugout. Karan KC sent Fakhar Zaman back to the pavilion on 14 runs in the sixth over. He was caught behind by Aasif Sheikh. Imam-ul-Haq was run out with a direct hit by skipper Rohit Paudel in the next over. He made five runs off 14 deliveries.
After the fall of two wickets, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan put on a partnership of 86 runs in 106 deliveries before the latter was run out by Dipendra Singh Airee on 44 runs. Agha Salman made five off 14 deliveries and was sent back to the pavilion by Sandeep Lamichhane.
Babar Azam, who was still at the crease and looked set, partnered with Iftikhar Ahmed to put 214 on board runs for the fifth wicket. Babar was dismissed in the final over by Sompal Kami. Shadab Khan scored four runs in two deliveries and was dismissed in the final ball of the innings.
Sompal took two wickets giving away 85 runs in the process in ten overs. Karan took one wicket for 54 runs in nine overs while Sandeep Lamichhane took one wicket for 69 runs in ten overs.