Pakistan captain Babar Azam led from the front with a captain knock in the opening match of Asia Cup 2023 against debutants Nepal played at Multan Cricket Stadium, Multan on 30th August. He won the toss and decided to bat first.
Pakistan lost an early wicket of Fakhar Zaman by Karan KC with a lovely catch by Asif Sheikh. Babar Azam came to the crease with attacking intent putting pressure on Nepal bowlers. A superb direct hit by Nepal captain Rohit Paudel dismissed Imam UL Haq to leave Pakistan in some trouble. Babar Azam looked in fine touch hitting boundaries and keeping the scoreboard ticking along with Mohammed Rizwan.
Babar completed his fifty off 72 deliveries and kept the momentum going for Pakistan. A brilliant piece of direct throw by Airee resulted in a run-out-off Rizwan. Rizwan and Babar added 86 runs for the 3rd wicket. Salman Ali Agha also went cheaply with a good catch by Bhurtel to put the Pakistan team on the back. The Pakistan captain kept the scoreboard ticking taking singles and hitting boundaries at will.
Babar scored his 19th One-day international century off 109 deliveries and did not allow Nepal bowlers to settle. Ifkthitar Ahmed joined the party with some lovely shots keeping the scoreboard ticking. Babar and Iftikhar smashed the Nepal bowlers hitting boundaries at will.
Pakistan captain Babar reached his 150 off 129 deliveries while Iftikhar Ahmed completed his maiden ODI century off 67 balls. Babar’s brilliant innings ended dismissed in the last over caught by S Jora for 151. Babar and Ifkthar Ahmed added 214 runs partnership for the 5th wicket. Shahbad Khan was dismissed off the final ball as Pakistan amassed 342 for 6 in 50 overs.
Babar Azam posts 2nd highest Induvial score in Asia Cup history
The Pakistan captain surpassed Younis Khan and Mushfiqur Rahim’s 144 to become the 2nd highest individual score in Asia Cup history. Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed registered the third-highest partnership in 50 over Asia Cup tournament. Iftikhar Ahmed also scored the fourth fastest century with Shahid Afridi scoring off 53 deliveries against Bangladesh in 2010, Sanath Jayasuriya off 55 deliveries against Bangladesh in 2008, Suresh Raina 66 balls against Hong Kong in 2008.
They broke the record of Ajiyanka Rahane and Virat Kohli who registered on 26th February 2014 at Fatullah. It was a superb partnership that steadied them to a winning situation. Pakistan’s previous highest Asia Cup total was 343 for 5 against Hong Kong at SSC, Colombo on 18th July 2004.