Pakistan started their ICC World Cup 2023 campaign with an impressive 81-run victory over the Netherlands on Friday.
Saud Shakeel and Mohammad Rizwan were the standout batters for the Green Shirts, while Haris Rauf and Hasan Ali excelled for them in bowling.
Netherlands decided to bowl first after winning the toss at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad and that proved to be a brilliant decision early on.
Pakistan were rattled by some brilliant bowling from the Dutch side.
Fakhar Zaman was was caught and bowled by Logan van Beek on just 12, with the 33-year-old continuing to struggle with bat after a disappointing showing in the Asia Cup.
Babar Azam also failed to meet expectations, losing his wicket after pulling Colin Ackermann’s bowl straight to Saqib Zulfiqar.
Imam-ul-Haq, who is currently sixth in the ICC ODI batting rankings, fell victim to Paul van Meekeren when the team’s score was only 38.
Shakeel and Rizwan then built a solid 120-run partnership to make a comeback for Pakistan.
The left-handed batsman brilliantly justified his inclusion in the team by smashing 68 off just 52 deliveries, with nine boundaries and a sixer to his name.
Shakeel failed to judge Aryan Dutt’s full delivery and was caught by Zulfiqar in the 29th over.
Meanwhile, Rizwan lost his stumps after a spectacular bowl from Bas de Leede.
There were still plenty of overs left and Pakistan needed its tailenders to get them to a decent target.
Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan stepped up and proved themselves up to the task, hitting 39 and 32 respectively to help the team to 286.
Excellent bowling from Pakistan
Babar Azam’s side kept up the pressure from the beginning and claimed their first wicket in the sixth over.
Max O’Dowd couldn’t execute his pull shot off Hasan Ali’s bowl and it only flew into the hands of Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Ackermann also departed soon but Bas de Leede and Vikramjit Singh created a good batting partnership.
The duo took the score to 120 before Singh fell prey to Shadab just after completing his half-century.
De Leede continued to defy the Pakistani bowlers but he also left on 67 after a special delivery from Mohammad Nawaz.
None of the other batters managed to stay long at the crease as the Netherlands whole team were bowled out for 205.
Rauf took three wickets and Hassan claimed two as the Green Shirts emerged victorious by 81 runs.
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