Asia Cup 2023: Pakistan vs Nepal, 1st ODI - Who Said What?

Pakistan defeated Nepal by 238 runs in the Asia Cup 2023 opener.

By Koustav Sengupta

Updated - Aug 30, 2023, 22:27 IST

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In the opening match of the Asia Cup 2023, Pakistan demolished Nepal to win the match by 238 runs. The home team had a relatively poor start with both Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq failing to put up a show but it was Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed who stepped up and changed the complexion of the game. Their partnership of 214 runs helped the Men in Green post 342 runs on board and that eventually sealed Pakistan’s fate.

When it came to the chase, ace pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi picked up two wickets in the first over while Naseem Shah picked up one in the second. After a very poor start, Aarif Sheikh and Sompal Kami tried to stabilize the situation but could not hold the fort as Haris Rauf picked up two wickets while Shadab sent four batters back to the pavilion. Courtesy of their incredible show, Pakistan picked up an easy victory in the end.

Talking Points from the 1st match between Pakistan and Nepal:

Babar Azam leading from front

Skipper Babar Azam was at his sensational best as the cricketer hit 151 runs. This eventually is the highest individual score by a captain in the history of the competition. Nepal bowlers looked clueless against him as the Babar managed to register his 19th century in ODI cricket.

Iftikhar Ahmed records in maiden ODI ton

Iftikhar was the perfect assistant Babar needed. Following two early dismissals, Pakistan needed something special with the bat and that’s exactly what Babar and Iftikhar delivered. The latter hit a scintillating century as a courtesy of their performance, Pakistan hit 342 runs on board.

Fakhar Zaman’s poor form continues

In the three-match series against Afghanistan, Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman hit only 59 runs but despite so, the team management kept faith in him against Nepal. Against a relatively weak opponent, he was expected to make a mark but that didn’t happen and ahead of some big matches, this is a massive headache for Pakistan.

Losing captain Rohit Paudel said:

We started well with the ball, but both set batters took the game away from us. We have batted better before and we missed out today. Wicket taking balls were not there in middle overs, but credit to Babar for the way he batted, credit to Pakistan. Learning from the game would be we need to improve bowling in death overs, as a group we need to step up with the bat.

Winning captain and Player of the Match Babar Azam said:

When I went in, the ball wasn't coming on properly, so I was trying to build an innings with Rizwan. Then we had a different phase, sometimes Rizwan gave me confidence, sometimes I gave him belief. Iftikhar also played a great innings when he came on. When he came in, I told him to play his natural game and he was comfortable after 2-3 boundaries. A couple of overs we weren't up to the mark, but the way our pacers started and then the spinners were brilliant. This win will give us the confidence, India Pakistan will always bring high intensity, we will try our best.

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