As Multan braces itself for the heat and humidity of the Asia Cup opener, it's not just the temperature that's rising. Underdog Nepal is looking to throw a few surprises at home favourites Pakistan in what promises to be a riveting encounter.
Asia Cup 2023: Pakistan vs. Nepal Preview
Cricket • 29 Aug, 2023 • 1,608 Views
By: Shivani Chourasia
Historic Debut for Nepal
Making their maiden appearance in the Asia Cup, Nepal confronts Pakistan in a first-ever clash across all formats. This participation isn't just a testament to their inclusion; it's a mark of their ascending prowess in world cricket. Having triumphed at the ACC Men's Premier Cup and secured their spot in the ODI World Cup qualifier, the team's journey from receiving their ODI status in 2018 to being the 15th-ranked nation in the format has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Pakistan's Precious Home Advantage
In a twist of modern times, Pakistan, while hosting the tournament, gets to play a scanty two games at home. For the fans in Multan, braving the forecasted 38 degrees Celsius might be worth the experience of watching their cricketing stars shine on their home turf.
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Players to Watch
Pakistan's middle order finds a new hero in Agha Salman, whose impressive batting average and recent performance chart speak volumes. On the other hand, despite an average ODI score, Nepal's Dipendra Singh Airee comes with newfound confidence, having demonstrated his potential in the World Cup qualifier and the Global T20 Canada.
Team Composition Dilemmas
Pakistan grapples with a selection quandary in the allrounder segment, possibly missing out on big names like Faheem Ashraf or Mohammad Nawaz. Meanwhile, Nepal sees the return of Sompal Kami from injury, bolstering their pace attack.
Pitch Report and Trivia
Multan’s pitch, which saw high-scoring ODIs last year, hints at a bonanza for the batsmen. Spinners, judging from past performances, might be game-changers. While Babar Azam's prolific run-scoring is notable, it's Nepal that's played more ODIs than Pakistan in the current World Cup cycle.
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The Asia Cup 2023 opener isn't just another cricket match; it’s a story of ascension, spirit, and the unpredictable charm of the sport. As Nepal steps onto the field, they carry not just the hopes of a nation but the promise of exciting cricket. Pakistan, with the weight of expectation and home advantage, will seek to solidify their dominance. It's a classic tale of the seasoned versus the rising, and the world watches with bated breath.
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