Pakistan see off Netherlands to make winning start at World Cup

Published October 6, 2023
Mohammad Rizwan (L) runs out Netherlands’ Roelof van der Merwe (R) during the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) match between Pakistan and Netherlands at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on October 6, 2023. — AFP
Mohammad Rizwan (L) runs out Netherlands’ Roelof van der Merwe (R) during the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) match between Pakistan and Netherlands at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on October 6, 2023. — AFP
Netherlands won the toss and opted to field on Friday. —Photo courtesy: PCB/X
Netherlands won the toss and opted to field on Friday. —Photo courtesy: PCB/X

Mohammad Rizwan and Saud Shakeel hit identical half-centuries in an otherwise underwhelming batting effort in Pakistan’s World Cup opener against the Netherlands on Friday, before the bowlers sealed a routine 81-run win for the 1992 champions.

The match was played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad.

Faced with an achievable target of 287, the Dutch looked on course for a stunning win in Hyderabad at one stage as Vikramjit Singh (52) and Bas de Leede (67) got going, but Pakistan kept chipping away to dismiss the underdogs for 205 in 41 overs.

Haris Rauf (3-43) finished the job by bowling out Paul van Meekeren.

De Leede earlier ripped through the Pakistan line-up taking 4-62 and Colin Ackerman claimed 2-39 after the Netherlands won the toss and decided to bowl, but Rizwan (68) and Shakeel (68) ensured the Asian side made 286 in 49 overs.

Opener Fakhar Zaman was the first to go in the fourth over, lofting a slower ball from Logan van Beek back to the bowler and the Netherlands turned the heat up by taking the prized wicket of Babar Azam for five.

Babar barely looked settled during his 18-ball stint on a dry track that offered plenty of turn and bounce early on and the skipper pulled one to Saqib Zulfiqar at mid-wicket in Ackermann’s first over.

Pakistan limped to 43-3 in the 10 powerplay overs after Imam-ul-Haq holed out in the deep, but middle-order batsmen Rizwan and Shakeel steadied the ship with a fourth-wicket partnership of 120.

The Dutch, playing in their first World Cup match since 2011 after coming through the qualifying event, responded as spinner Aryan Dutt had Shakeel caught while paceman De Leede shattered Rizwan’s stumps.

De Leede repeated the feat in the 44th over against Shadab Khan (32) and trapped Hasan Ali lbw in the next ball. Mohammad Nawaz was run out for 39 but the rearguard effort ultimately paid off for Pakistan.

Pakistan team: Fakhar Zaman, Imamul Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf.

The Netherlands team: Vikramjit Singh, Max O’Dowd, Colin Ackermann, Bas de Leede, Teja Nidamanuru, Scott Edwards, Saqib Zulfiqar, Logan van Beek, Roelof van der Merwe, Aryan Dutt and Paul van Meekeren.

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