Asia Cup 2023 opening match will set the stage for the Group-A encounter between Pakistan and Nepal at the Multan Cricket Stadium.
Marking a series of firsts, this face-off is nothing short of historic. Not only will Nepal be showcasing their cricketing prowess at the Asia Cup for the first time, but Multan is also gearing up for its debut as a hosting venue for the tournament. To add to the intrigue, this clash will be the inaugural top-tier match-up between Pakistan and Nepal.
Revisiting history, Pakistan’s liaison with the Multan venue has been significant. In their last encounter here, they emerged victoriously against the West Indies, sealing a 3-0 series win. With 10 ODIs at this venue, they’ve triumphed in seven.
Ahead of the impending face-off, Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, radiated optimism. He shared, “Multan’s ardent cricket enthusiasts always amplify our spirits. We are thrilled that Asia Cup’s journey this year starts here.” Furthermore, he extended warm wishes to Nepal for their Asia Cup debut and hoped that this inclusion would further fortify cricket’s roots in Nepal.
Pakistan’s Impressive Track Record
Riding a wave of recent successes, Pakistan’s cricket team is in prime form. Their commendable performance against Afghanistan recently – a clean 3-0 sweep – has propelled them to the pinnacle of the ICC ODI rankings. A testimony to their consistent performance, they boast an enviable win/loss ratio of 2.750 with 22 victories in 31 matches within this World Cup cycle.
Their journey hasn’t been limited to the ODIs. From equalling the T20 International series against New Zealand to blanking Sri Lanka in the Test series, they’ve displayed their cricketing might at home and abroad.
Babar Azam reflected on their numero uno position, saying, “It’s not about the pressure of being at the top. This ranking echoes our team’s relentless dedication over the years. But, our eyes are set on the grand prizes – the Asia Cup and the World Cup. Our recent achievements have invigorated us, and we’re eager to bring more laurels for our nation.”
Post their skirmish with Nepal, the team is scheduled to head to Sri Lanka, where they will compete against India on 2 September in Kandy. This venue will subsequently host India’s clash with Nepal on 4 September.
Team Pakistan’s Squad
Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Iftikhar Ahmed, Agha Salman, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, and Haris Rauf.