Records tumble during Pakistan’s dominant display in Asia Cup opener

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A number of individual and team landmarks were overhauled during the Pakistan batting innings against Nepal in the Asia Cup 2023 opener at Multan.

Babar Azam won the toss and invited Nepal to take the field on what appeared to be a decent batting strip. The Asia Cup debutants showed discipline in the initial overs and controlled the scoring rate.

Nepal’s accurate work on the field yielded results in the form of wickets of Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq in the sixth and seventh overs respectively. Hereafter, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan reconstructed the Pakistan innings and helped the side cross 100.

However, Nepal struck back in the middle overs, accounting for Rizwan and Salman Agha. Babar then helped Pakistan stamp their authority on the game with the help of Iftikhar Ahmed.

The No.1 ranked player in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Rankings for batters, Babar is in a league of his own with a whopping 100 rating points separating him and the next batter on the list. And if the Asia Cup opener was any indicator, the gap will only continue to grow as the tournament progresses.

Together the duo added 214 runs from merely 131 balls, which is now the highest fifth-wicket stand for Pakistan in ODI cricket. Their previous best was a 176-run partnership between Umar Akmal and Younis Khan against Sri Lanka in 2009.

Babar notched up his 19th ODI century in the 42nd over. He also became the fastest to 19 ODI hundreds. With this, he stands second in the list of Pakistan century-makers in ODI cricket. This was also his 31st international hundred, which equals him to Pakistan legends Javed Miandad and Saeed Anwar.

Babar’s 151 off 131 balls was not only his second-highest ODI score but also the second-highest score by an individual batter in Asia Cup history.

At the other hand, Iftikhar achieved his highest score in ODI cricket. His unbeaten 109, which came off just 71 balls, was also his maiden ODI century.

Pakistan finished with 342/6 at the end of their innings.

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