Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed propelled Pakistan to 342-6, before the bowlers did the rest.© X (Twitter)
Pakistan secured a comprehensive 238-run win over Nepal in the 2023 Asia Cup opener in Multan. With the tournament returning to Pakistan after a gap of 15 years, the home team put on a commanding performance despite a few hiccups. The highlight of the night was captain Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed’s 214-run stand, the highest fifth-wicket partnership for Pakistan. Babar slammed 151 off 131 on his way to his 19th ODI century, while Iftikhar notched up his maiden ton.
Babar and Iftikhar propelled Pakistan to 342-6, before the bowlers bundled out Nepal for 104.
After the match, a journalist asked Iftikhar, who is commonly referred as “chacha” (uncle) by his teammates and fans, about his partnership with Babar. The journalist also called Babar as Iftikhar’s “bhatija” (nephew) during the conversation.
This drew a hilarious response from Iftikhar.
“Bhatija also gave confidence to chacha and chacha also gave confidence to bhatija. Babar is a world-class player. The way he handles strike rotation alleviates pressure. Consequently, we relished our time batting together,” Iftikhar said at the press box in Multan.
— SAAD (@SaadIrfan258) August 30, 2023
The win over Nepal gave Pakistan, who rose to world number one in the ODI rankings last week, an ideal start and perfect tune up for the high profile clash against arch-rivals India in Pallekele on Saturday.
The Asia Cup is being played on a hybrid model this year with Pakistan hosting four matches and Sri Lanka nine after India refused to tour Pakistan because of political tensions.
Topics mentioned in this article