Pakistan humbled in Asia Cup Super 4s clash

COLOMBO - Virat Kohli and KL Rahul’s unbeaten centuries, followed by Kuldeep Yadav’s five-fer led India to a huge 228-run vic­tory over Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4s clash on Monday. 

Pakistan had a mountain to climb to book their spot in the final of the Asia Cup 2023 as they were set to chase a mammoth 357 against India. The hosts after getting off to a dismal start, lost wickets at an alarming rate before being bundled out for a paltry 128 in 32 overs and thus India launched their Super 4s campaign with a resounding victory. 

Out-of-form opener Fakhar Zaman re­mained the top-scorer for Pakistan amid their dismal batting show with a scratchy 27 off 50 balls. After Fakhar, Salman Ali Agha and Iftikhar Ahmed could score 23 each, followed by their skipper Babar Azam (10). Besides them, none of their bat­ters could make it to the double figures and Pakistan, consequently, could raise 128-8. 

Since, their pacers Haris Rauf and Nas­eem Shah were not fit to bat, Pakistan were deemed bowled out for a skimpy to­tal. Kuldeep Yadav led the bowling attack for India with a five-wicket haul, which came at the cost of just 25 runs. Hardik Pandya, Shardul Thakur and returning Jasprit Bumrah got one scalp each. 

Earlier, Virat Kohli scored a brilliant 122 off 94 balls, laced with nine bound­aries and three sixes. He scored his 47th ODI century, second most ODI centuries and completed his 13000 ODI runs, be­coming only the fifth player to do so. Meanwhile, KL Rahul made his return to competitive cricket in style after get­ting injured during the IPL in April-May. He scored 111 runs off 106 balls with the help of 12 boundaries and two sixes. Notably, Pakistan entered the ground without their injured ace fast bowler Ha­ris Rauf and was forced to bowl Iftikhar Ahmed, who gave away 52 runs in 5.2 overs. Shaheen Afridi picked one wicket conceding 79 runs while Shadab Khan picked 1-71.

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