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Pakistan begin WC with 81-run victory

Pakistan begin WC with 82-run victory

Quick dismissals by the Green Shirts left the batters stumbling after a steady start. 

Hyderabad: Pakistan began their campaign at the World Cup 2023 with a bang as they claimed a 81-run victory over Netherlands at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, India on Friday.

Pakistan were completely back in the game as the bowlers put on a stranglehold on the Dutch, claiming back-to-back wickets. 

Quick dismissals by the Green Shirts left the batters stumbling after a steady start. 

Going deeper in the game, the Men in Green snapped a 50-run partnership between Bas de Leede and opener Vikramjit Singh, who played steadily since the start of his side’s run chase, before being bowled and caught for 52 off 67 balls. 

Pakistan bowlers took charge, sending opener Max O’Dowd and Colin Ackermann to dugout. 

Babar Azam’s dream to post a 300-run total was shattered as the opponents restricted Pakistan to 286 by taking quick wickets. 

The national side’s batting line-up continued to falter as the Dutch bowlers dominated the innings despite Pakistan’s all out efforts to post a maximum target.

Haris Rauf smacked two boundaries and one sixer in his short stay before being stumped. 

Earlier, back-to-back dismissals of Hassan Ali and Shadab Khan, who tried to keep up the momentum for the Men in Green after the fall of sixth wicket, put the side in a precarious position. 

Iftikhar Ahmed was sent to the dugout for mere 9 runs after over a 100-run partnership between Saud Shakeel and Mohammad Rizwan was broken by the Dutch, denting Pakistan’s effort to rebuild the innings following the quick dismissals of the top order. 

Top Pakistani batters Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq fell inside 10 overs with Pakistan at 38/3.

Zaman was first to get out while the Pakistani skipper also scooped one on leg side and fell cheaply at 5.

Later, Saud’s and Rizwan’s 120-run partnership took Pakistan to 162 before Netherlands Aryan Dutt dismissed Saud.

At the toss, Netherlands after winning asked Pakistan to bat first. 

Earlier, Netherlands skipper Scott Edwards said he opted to bowl first as he believes it would be easier to bat under lights here at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad. 

Edwards, while talking at the toss, said that he was hopeful of a good performance against the Green Shirts because they’ve played Pakistan a lot in recent years. 

On the other hand, Pakistani skipper Babar Azam said that they will be looking to set a target between 290-300. 

This is the seventh time Pakistan and the Netherlands are facing off each other in an ODI. The two sides have faced off six times in the format, their first meeting in the 1996 iteration of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, and Pakistan have come out victorious on each occasion.

Pakistan toured the Netherlands last year for what was the first bilateral series between the two sides, and recorded a clean-sweep.

Pakistan have entered the 50-over World Cup as one of the favourites after an impressive run in the just-concluded World Cup cycle as they had the best win-loss ratio of 2.400 with 24 wins in 36 matches.

That the team has performed so consistently has also been because of their mainstays emerging as solid performers over the years. 

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