With his unbeaten 109 runs in the first match of the Asia Cup 2023 against Nepal, Iftikhar Ahmed led Pakistan to register their first victory of the tournament. Iftikhar Ahmed opens on his maiden ODI century and says “A Century is an achievement for a player”.
Iftikhar Ahmed opens on his maiden ODI century
Pakistan was scheduled to play the first match of the Asia Cup 2023 against Nepal on August 30 at Multan Cricket Stadium. The Pakistan innings were impressive as Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed scored centuries individually to set up a huge score against Nepal.
On winning the toss, Pakistan captain Babar Azam chose to bat first. But the openers were not impressive as they were sent out on low figures within the completion of the seventh over. With Babar Azam and Rizwan’s Partnership score of 86 runs, Pakistan got back into the competition.
After Mohammad Rizwan and Agha Salman’s dismissal, Iftikhar Ahmed was excellent as he scored his first maiden hundred in the ODI on 67 balls. On the other hand, Babar Azam registered his 19th ODI century and led Pakistan to register a total of 342 runs for 6 6-wicket loss at the end of 50 overs.
Iftikhar was happy about his maiden century in ODI and said, “Century is an achievement for a player, obviously I am very happy. Ball was gripping when I went in, so you need to give time for yourself to get set. Babar is a great player, World No. 1 player. It’s an awesome feeling to bat with him. He rotates strike very well and we discussed about scoring a boundary when we get a loose ball. The wicket got better to bat on as the innings progressed.”
Babar Azam had an individual score of 151 runs and was sent out on the last over of the innings. With their impressive partnership, Pakistan was able to keep a huge target of 343 against Nepal.
Unable to fold Pakistan with low total, Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh opened for Nepal and was sent out with 8 and 5 runs respectively. With captain Rohit Paudel dismissed with duck by Shaheen Afridi, Nepal was down to 3 wickets scoring only 14 runs on the 2nd over.
Aarif Sheikh and Sompal Kami had scored 26 and 28 runs respectively and was sent out by Haris Rauf. Nepal batters was not able to withstand the bowling attacks of Pakistan. Shadab Khan was impressive through his bowling as he scalped 4 wickets giving 27 runs in 7 overs. Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf scalped two wicket each. On the end, Nepal had lost all 10 wickets scoring only 104 runs on 23.4 overs.
After their first match against Nepal in Asia Cup 2023, Pakistan will be facing India in a highly anticipated encounter on September 2 at Pallekele International Stadium, Kandy.
Check: Asia Cup points table 2023.