Veteran India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin provided a detailed account of the ‘unusual’ occurrence in the Asia Cup 2023 opener featuring Pakistan and Nepal. Pakistan asserted their dominance over Nepal, securing a commanding victory with a staggering margin of 238 runs in the Asia Cup 2023 opener held in Multan on Wednesday.
The world’s top-ranked batsman, Babar Azam, displayed his prowess with an exceptional 151 runs, while Iftikhar Ahmed contributed an unbeaten 109*. Both players notched remarkable centuries; Babar’s 19th ODI hundred came from 131 balls, and Ahmed achieved his maiden century, propelling Pakistan to a formidable total of 342/6 in 50 overs.
The Pakistani bowlers maintained the momentum, restricting Nepal to a mere 104 runs in 23.4 overs. Leg-spinner Shadab Khan secured 4/27, while pace bowlers Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah Afridi each took 2 wickets, completing the commanding victory.
Nevertheless, the home team encountered an unstable beginning when they chose to bat first, experiencing quick dismissals of Fakhar Zaman (14) and Imam ul Haq (5). Following these initial setbacks, a partnership between Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan seemed to be gaining traction as they approached their forties.
However, an unforeseen and rather unconventional run-out abruptly concluded Rizwan’s innings. While attempting a single during the 24th over, Rizwan’s seemingly nonchalant running between bases led to his demise.
Ashwin responded to Mohammad Rizwan’s run-out against Nepal
The height of the throw made it harder to evade for Rizwan but for someone who generally dives to make his ground all the time while running between the wickets, this is a rare instance of him ducking for cover and the only reason is that he isn’t wearing his helmet.
He loves… pic.twitter.com/asBSX6rf9n
— Ashwin 🇮🇳 (@ashwinravi99) August 30, 2023
The Pakistani wicketkeeper-batsman couldn’t ground his bat quickly enough, resulting in his dismissal due to a precise throw from Nepal fielder Dipendra Singh Airee. Babar Azam’s dissatisfaction was evident too, as he expressed frustration by tossing his cap when the third umpire validated the wicket on the large screen.
Both commentators and fans were astonished by the dismissal, and India’s star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was equally surprised by Rizwan’s lack of attention while reaching the crease. Ashwin questioned why Rizwan didn’t attempt to dive.
“The height of the throw made it harder to evade for Rizwan but for someone who generally dives to make his ground all the time while running between the wickets, this is a rare instance of him ducking for cover and the only reason is that he isn’t wearing his helmet. He loves sweeping against spin and no helmet makes it even more bizarre. #PAKvsNEP,” he wrote.
Rizwan’s dismissal led to another wicket falling a few overs later, as Agha Salman was dismissed cheaply. However, Iftikhar and Babar formed a superb 214-run partnership, rescuing the hosts and making victory seem distant for Nepal.
Having begun the Asia Cup with a win and the wind in their sails, Pakistan will face their arch-rivals India in an anticipated Group A showdown on Saturday. A victory would secure Babar Azam’s team a spot in the Super Fours stage of the tournament.
Team India arrived in Sri Lanka on Wednesday and will contest all their matches there, while Pakistan will travel to the country on Thursday to get ready for the significant match.