Win Against Nepal, But Eyes On India Clash – Babar Azam Makes Intent Clear With Big Statement

India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup 2023: India skipper Rohit Sharma with Pakistan captain Babar Azam.© Twitter


Pakistan skipper Babar Azam on Wednesday said the massive 238-run win over Nepal in the Asia Cup opener will give his side confidence ahead of their blockbuster clash against arch-rivals India on Saturday. Pakistan crushed minnows Nepal by a huge margin of 238 runs here in a Group A match to make a winning start to the Asia Cup. Pakistan will now travel to Sri Lanka for the much-anticipated match against India to be played in Pallekele.

“This game was good preparation for the India game because it gave us confidence. We want to give 100 per cent every match, hope to do that there as well,” Babar said after the end of the match. Babar smashed 151, his 19th ODI century while Iftikhar Ahmed (109 not out) hit his maiden ODI ton to power Pakistan to an imposing 342 for six after opting to bat.

Babar was involved in two crucial partnerships after a sedate start — first stitching 86 runs with Mohammad Rizwan (44 off 50) and then sharing an whirlwind 214 runs for the fifth wicket with Iftikhar. In reply, Nepal were bowled out for just 104 in 23.4 overs with Shadab Khan taking four wickets and Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf claiming two each.

“When I went in, I played a couple of balls. The ball wasn’t coming on, pitch was two-paced. (Mohammad) Rizwan and I built the partnership and see what happened. Sometimes, Rizwan gave me confidence and vice-versa,” he said.

“When Iftikhar came, the tempo changed. He played well too. After two-three fours, he was comfortable, he smacked it after 40 overs.

“I’m satisfied. A couple of overs we were not up to the mark. Pacers did well, spinners struck too,” Babar added.

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