Babar, Iftikhar power Pakistan to huge win over Nepal in Asia Cup opener

Multan: Babar (151 off 130) was involved in two crucial partnerships after a sedate start — first stitching 86 runs with Mohammad Rizwan (44 off 50) and then sharing a whirlwind 214 runs for the fifth wicket with Iftikhar (109 not out off 71 balls) — to take Pakistan to an imposing total.
Babar decorated his knock with 14 fours and four sixes, while Iftikhar, who was at his destructive best, struck 11 boundaries and four hits over the fence.
This was after Pakistan made an unimpressive start to their innings as they lost both the openers early.
It was always going to be a Herculean task for Nepal and it turned out to be so.
Kushal Bhurtel made a brave start to Nepal’s chase with consecutive boundaries off Shaheen Shah Afridi on the opening two balls, but it was shortlived as the ace left-arm made a superb comeback to dismiss him and Nepal skipper Rohit Paudel in the last two balls of the over.
Naseem Shah then got into the act in the next over and induced an outside edge from Aasif Sheikh which was pounced by Iftikhar in the first flip as Nepal slipped to 14 for 3.
Aarif Sheikh (26) and Sompal Karmi then tried to steady the ship with a 59-run fourth-wicket stand, before Haris Rauf went through the defence of the former.
Rauf then dismissed Nepal’s top-scorer Sompal (28) an over later to reduce the Himalayan nation to 82 for 5.
Thereafter, wickets fell like nine pins as Nepal batters failed to produce any resistance, eventually bundling out for 104 in 23.4 overs.
Leg-break bowler Shahdab Khan cleaned up Nepal’s tail to return with impressive figures of 4 for 27.



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