In their first-ever ODI match against Pakistan at Multan Cricket Stadium, Nepal was defeated by a margin of 238 runs. Chasing a target of 343 runs, Nepal’s batting lineup collapsed, scoring only 104 runs before being bowled out in 23.4 overs.
Sompal Kami emerged as the top scorer for Nepal with a modest 28 runs, but the rest of the team struggled to make a significant impact with the bat. Only Aarif Sheikh, who contributed 26 runs, and Gulshan Jha, with 13 runs, managed to reach double figures. Nepal faced an early setback, losing their opening three batsmen with just 14 runs on the board.
Pakistan’s bowlers put on an impressive display, with Shadab Khan leading the way, claiming four crucial wickets. Shaheen Shah Afridi and Harris Rauf also chipped in with two wickets each, while Naseem Shah and Mohammad Nawaz took one wicket apiece.
In the first innings, Pakistan, after winning the toss and choosing to bat, amassed a formidable total of 342 runs for the loss of 6 wickets in their allotted 50 overs. Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed were the standout performers for Pakistan, both notching up centuries.
Babar Azam’s brilliant knock of 151 runs included 14 boundaries and four towering sixes, coming off just 131 balls. Meanwhile, Iftikhar Ahmed’s magnificent innings saw him score 199 runs, laced with 11 fours and four sixes in just 71 deliveries. Other notable contributions in Pakistan’s innings included Mohammad Rizwan’s 44 and Fakhar Zaman’s 14 runs, while Imam-ul-Haq and Agha Salman were dismissed for five runs each. Sompal Kami from Nepal’s bowling attack managed to secure two wickets, while Karan KC and Sandeep Lamichhane picked up one wicket each.
Nepal’s next group stage match is scheduled against India in Sri Lanka on September 4. In the Asia Cup, Nepal, India, and Pakistan comprise Group ‘A’, while Group ‘B’ consists of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the Super Four stage, where they will vie for the tournament title. Despite Pakistan being the designated host for the Asia Cup, most of the matches are being held in Sri Lanka due to India’s refusal to play in Pakistan. Consequently, the Asia Cup matches are being conducted in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka.