Sports & Games

Pakistan Thrash Netherlands by 81 Runs in World Cup Opener

Pakistan started their World Cup 2023 campaign on a high note as they defeated Netherlands by 81 runs at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, India on Friday. It was Pakistan’s first ever World Cup win on Indian soil, as they overcame a shaky start with the bat and a spirited fightback from the Dutch with the ball.

Pakistan post 286 despite early blows

Pakistan were put in to bat by Netherlands captain Scott Edwards, who hoped to exploit the early morning conditions. However, his decision backfired as Pakistan’s openers Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman put on a 71-run stand in 12 overs. Imam was the first to fall for 38, followed by Fakhar for 41. Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam also departed cheaply for five, leaving Pakistan at 87 for three in the 16th over.

Pakistan’s middle-order then took charge of the innings, as Mohammad Rizwan and Saud Shakeel added 97 runs for the fourth wicket. Rizwan scored a fluent 68 off 72 balls, while Shakeel made a quickfire 68 off 37 balls. Both were dismissed by Bas de Leede, who was the pick of the Dutch bowlers with four wickets for 54 runs. Colin Ackermann also chipped in with two wickets for 48 runs.

Pakistan’s lower-order also contributed with some useful runs, as Shadab Khan (22), Mohammad Nawaz (39) and Haris Rauf (17) helped Pakistan reach 286 in 49 overs. Pakistan lost their last four wickets for just 19 runs, as they failed to bat out their full quota of overs.

Netherlands crumble in chase of 287

Netherlands’ chase got off to a disastrous start, as they lost their opener Max O’Dowd for a duck in the first over, bowled by Shaheen Afridi. Colin Ackermann also fell soon after for six, caught by Rizwan off Hasan Ali. Vikramjit Singh and Bas de Leede then steadied the innings with a 76-run partnership for the third wicket. Singh scored a patient 52 off 79 balls, while de Leede played a counter-attacking knock of 67 off 51 balls.

However, once Singh was run out by Fakhar Zaman in the 23rd over, Netherlands’ innings collapsed. They lost their next seven wickets for just 52 runs, as Pakistan’s bowlers ran through their batting line-up. Hasan Ali and Haris Rauf took two wickets each, while Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz and Iftikhar Ahmed claimed one wicket each. Netherlands were bowled out for 205 in 42 overs, handing Pakistan a comfortable victory.

Pakistan will next face Sri Lanka on October 10 at Chennai.

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