MULTAN: In the opening match of the 16th edition of the Asia Cup cricket tournament held in Multan, Pakistan, a formidable partnership between Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam and middle-order batsman Iftikhar Ahmed proved pivotal. This partnership enabled Pakistan to set a challenging target of 343 runs for Nepal on a Wednesday.
After facing early setbacks with the dismissals of Imamul Haq and Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam took charge of the team’s batting. Despite the struggles, Mohammad Rizwan managed to contribute 44 runs to the total. It was at this juncture that Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed collaborated to construct a significant fifth-wicket partnership. Babar Azam showcased his prowess with a remarkable 151 runs off 131 deliveries, while Iftikhar Ahmed remained unbeaten with a score of 109 runs.
Notably, Pakistan had won the toss and opted to bat first. This marked a momentous occasion as Pakistan was hosting the regional cricket event after a gap of 15 years, with Multan Cricket Stadium being the venue. Under the leadership of Babar Azam, the Pakistani team, often referred to as the “green caps,” faced Nepal in this encounter.
The Asia Cup, jointly hosted by Pakistan and Sri Lanka, was set to conclude on September 17. Pakistan’s next engagement after this match was scheduled against India in the second Group-A match on September 2 at Kandy, following their departure to Sri Lanka on August 31.