Asia Cup 2023: Group A, First Match: Pakistan vs. Nepal at Multan Cricket Stadium

Asia Cup 2023: Group A, First 

Match: Pakistan vs. Nepal at 

Multan Cricket Stadium

 

Introduction

The Asia Cup
2023 gets underway with a Group A fixture between cricketing giants Pakistan
and minnows Nepal at Multan Cricket Stadium. This tournament opener sees the
gulf in quality and experience between the two teams, with Pakistan’s heavy
favorites. Nepal are playing only their second major tournament after
qualifying. Nepal will be able to see how they fare against elite teams.
Pakistan will aim to overpower their opponents and start their Asia Cup title
defense with a commanding victory.

Asia Cup 2023: Group A, First Match: Pakistan vs. Nepal at Multan Cricket Stadium

Pakistan’s Batting
Dominance

The number one
ODI batting pair, Babar Azam and wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan lead Pakistan’s
star-studded batting lineup. Babar’s grace combines perfectly with Rizwan’s
grit to form a formidable partnership. Senior pro-Fakhar Zaman provides
attacking intent at the top, while Iftikhar Ahmed offers a powerful hitting
option in the middle order. This unit has the right proportion of consistency,
adaptability, and aggression to regularly put up 300+ point totals and maintain
complete game control. Nepal’s bowlers face the monumental task of keeping this
world-class batting unit quiet.

 

Nepal’s Bowling
Challenge

Sandeep
Lamichhane, a leg-spinning ace, leads the way for Nepal in their bowling
attack. But besides Lamichhane, who has experience playing franchise leagues,
this is an inexperienced bowling unit. Right-arm pacers Sompal Kami and Karan
KC must bowl out of their skins to trouble Pakistan’s supreme batting talent.
Nepal will also need spin twins Lamichhane and Dipendra Singh Airee to choke
the run flow in the middle overs. The bowling unit must produce a heroic team
effort to restrict Pakistan’s scoring.

 

Nepal’s Batting
Prospects

While Nepal’s
bowling faces an uphill challenge, their batting, too, needs to gain experience
outside subcontinental conditions. Openers Kushal Bhurtel and Asif Sheik face
trial by fire against Pakistan’s formidable new ball attack. Captain Rohit
Paudel showed promise at the U19 World Cup, but this is a big step up. Nepal’s
largely untested batting order must set the platform and show resilience
against quality pace and spin if they are to post a respectable total. Batters
can benefit from facing top-tier bowling teams.

 

Pakistan’s
Bowling Strengths

Conversely,
Pakistan has an embarrassment of bowling riches to unleash on Nepal. Lanky
left-armer Shaheen Afridi generates prodigious swing with the new ball while
Haris Rauf provides thunderous pace. Young gun Naseem Shah completes a pace
trio with the skills to blow away any batting lineup. Leg-spinner Shadab Khan offers
control and wicket-taking abilities in the middle overs, where he could run
riot. This attack covers all bases, and Nepal will find scoring very difficult
against such a well-rounded bowling unit.

 

Pitch and
Conditions Factor

The Multan
surface is expected to be flat and favor batters, with a true bounce and even
pace. Dew may affect teams bowling second under lights. Pakistan will want to
chase, given their batting firepower. For Nepal, batting first and posting over
150 could be a stretch target. The short square boundaries favor attacking
batters like Pakistan’s openers, so big scores are likely. Ultimately, the
pitch should heavily lean Pakistan.

 

Key Batting vs.
Bowling Battles

Fakhar Zaman
facing the left-arm swing of Karan KC could set the early tone. How Nepal’s top
order handles Afridi’s pace and late swing will also be telling. Shadab Khan
coming up against the free-scoring Rohit Paudel presents another intriguing
contest. But Pakistan should dominate these individual matchups, given the gap
in quality.

 

Pakistan’s
Bench Strength

Pakistan may
start uncapped players like Azam Khan, Shahnawaz Dahani, Muhammad Wasim Jr.,
and bench warmers if they anticipate cruising to an easy victory. It will
improve the team and provide individual players with valuable World Cup
preparation experience. With such a deep talent pool in their reserves,
Pakistan is an even more dangerous squad.

 

Final
Prediction

Given the vast
gulf in experience and talent, Pakistan is expected to overmatch Nepal in this
Asia Cup opener severely. The top-ranked Pakistan side should secure a crushing
win by over 100 runs after setting an imposing total for their underdog
opponents. For Nepal, this fixture is about valuable exposure more than the
result.

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