Asia Cup: Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed smash centuries, help Pakistan thrash Nepal by 238 runs
Captain Babar Azam stood tall to slam a mammoth 151 off 131 balls and was well supported by middle-order batter Iftikhar Ahmed hitting 109 not out off 71 balls as Pakistan thrashed Nepal by 238 runs in the Asia Cup opener, here at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.-
Captain Babar Azam stood tall to slam a mammoth 151 off 131 balls and was well supported by middle-order batter Iftikhar Ahmed hitting 109 not out off 71 balls as Pakistan thrashed Nepal by 238 runs in the Asia Cup opener, here at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Electing to bat first on a dry pitch, Pakistan lost their openers early and had suffered a middle-overs slump. But Babar and Iftikhar shared a sensational 214-run partnership for the fifth wicket, the highest-ever for Pakistan at this position in the ODIs, to make 342-6, setting up a very daunting chase of 343 for Nepal.
Playing in their first-ever Asia Cup match, Nepal were rolled over for 104 in 23.4 overs, to be thoroughly outclassed by Pakistan. Shaheen Shah Afridi had Kushal Bhurtel strangled down the leg and trapped Rohit Paudel lbw on consecutive deliveries of the opening over. Naseem Shah had success as Aasif Sheikh sent a simple catch to first slip.
Aarif Sheikh and Sompal Kami shared a 59-run stand for the fourth wicket before the former was castled by Haris Rauf in the 15th over, followed by Kami nicking behind off him two overs later. From there onwards, the Nepal batting challenge slumped to give Pakistan a big win, with leg-spinner Shadab Khan taking four wickets.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 342-6 in 50 overs (Babar Azam 151, Iftikhar Ahmed 109 not out; Sompal Kami 2-85, Karan KC 1-54) beat Nepal 104 in 23.4 overs (Sompal Kami 28, Aarif Sheikh 26; Shadab Khan 4-27, Haris Rauf 2-16) by 238 runs