Toss Pakistan chose to bat vs Nepal
Babar Azam won the toss in the opening match of the 2023 Asia Cup and opted to bat first on what he called a “dry and shiny” Multan pitch that looked full of runs.
Nepal are making their Asia Cup debut and their captain Rohit Paudel said it was “a big achievement” for the team. They reached here by winning the ten-team ACC Premier Cup in April-May, clinching the title ahead of teams such as UAE and Hong Kong, who have both played in the Asia Cup before.
This is also the first time Nepal are facing Pakistan in any format in international cricket.
Pakistan had announced their XI on Tuesday itself – Babar said they were confident and had no hesitation in doing so. They picked three fast bowlers – Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf – and two spin-bowling allrounders – Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz – with Agha Salman also capable of chipping in with his offspin.
Pakistan haven’t played much 50-over cricket in the latest cycle but they recently whitewashed Afghanistan in a three-match ODI series in Sri Lanka.
Pakistan: 1 Fakhar Zaman, 2 Imam-ul-Haq, 3 Babar Azam (capt), 4 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 5 Agha Salman, 6 Iftikhar Ahmed, 7 Shadab Khan, 8 Mohammad Nawaz, 9 Shaheen Shah Afridi, 10 Naseem Shah, 11 Haris Rauf
Nepal: 1 Kushal Bhurtel, 2 Aasif Sheikh (wk), 3 Rohit Paudel (capt), 4 Aarif Sheikh, 5 Kushal Malla, 6 Dipendra Singh Airee, 7 Gulsan Jha, 8 Sompal Kami, 9 Karan KC, 10 Sandeep Lamichhane, 11 Lalit Rajbanshi