Nepal faced a humungous defeat against Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023 opener on Wednesday. Pakistan bowled out Nepal for a mere 104 runs and bagged a 238-run win at Multan International Cricket Stadium.
Nepal also recorded it’s second-lowest ODI total and biggest defeat in ODI (in terms of runs). They were in early trouble on with a pitiful score of 14/3 as they lost both openers Kushal Bhurtel (8), Asif Sheikh (5), and captain Rohit Paudel (0).
Aarif Sheikh and Sompal Kami (promoted to no.5) rescued the early scarce with a valuable 59 runs for the fourth wicket. Aarif added 26 runs and dismissed in Haris Rauf’s 148 km/h delivery, while Sompal Kami played a matured knock of 28 runs and became Rauf’s victim in his next over.
Only Gulshan Jha (13) could score a double-digit score apart from Sompal and Aarif. Sandeep Lamichhane and Lalit Rajbanshi were dismissed for a duck. Nepal lost the last seven wickets for just 31 runs. They were wrapped up in 23.4 overs.
Shadab Khan was the pick of a bowler for Pakistan, grabbing four wickets. Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf pocketed two wickets each.
Earlier in the first inning, Pakistan posted a big total of 342 runs. Opting to bat first at Multan International Cricket, Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed’s ton helped Pakistan end up 50 overs at 342/6.
Nepal had a good start with a wicket of Fakhar Zaman and Imam Ul Haq early. Fakhar was sent back by Karan for 14, while Imam was dismissed for five following a brilliant direct hit from Rohit Paudel.
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan then shared 86 runs for the third wicket. Rizwan (44) had to walk back after the weirdest run-out, followed by a wicket of Agha Salman, who was dismissed by Sandeep Lamichhane.
Pakistan were 124/4 in the 28th over before Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed shared a mammoth 214 runs stand for the fifth wicket. Babar, who was dropped at 55 by Karan KC on his own bowling, scored his 19th ODI ton. He ended up scoring 151 from 131 with 14 fours and four sixes.
Meanwhile, Iftikhar Ahmed scored his maiden century. He remained not out till the end and scored 109 runs from 71 balls with 11 fours and four sixes.
Sompal Kami picked up two wickets for Nepal (both in the last over) and finished the spell with 10-1-85-2. Karan KC (9-0-54-1) and Sandeep Lamichhane (10-0-69-1) also picked up one wicket each.