In a promising start to their ODI World Cup 2023 journey, Pakistan secured a convincing victory in their opening match against the Netherlands on Friday. While the Dutch side displayed exceptional performance, they managed to keep Pakistan in check and prevented them from completely dominating the proceedings.
Opting to bat first, Pakistan encountered a rocky start, losing their top three batsmen for a mere 38 runs. However, the partnership of Mohammad Rizwan and Saud Shakeel emerged as a savior for Pakistan. Together, they added an impressive 120 runs for the fourth wicket, with both Rizwan (68) and Shakeel (68) achieving well-deserved half-centuries.
Contributions from the middle order proved crucial as Mohammad Nawaz (39) and Shadab Khan (32) delivered valuable knocks, helping Pakistan reach a total of 286 runs in 49 overs.
Netherlands struggle in reply
In response, the Netherlands found it challenging to withstand the pressure imposed by Pakistan’s bowlers and were bundled out for 205 runs in 41 overs, resulting in an 81-run loss. While opener Vikramjit Singh (52) and all-rounder Bas de Leede (67) put up impressive performances, their efforts fell short of steering the Dutch side to victory.
Pakistan’s victory was underlined by the exceptional bowling performances of Haris Rauf and Hasan Ali. Hasan Ali, in particular, made a significant impact as he marked his return to ODI cricket after a 16-month hiatus. The right-arm fast bowler delivered an impressive spell, recording figures of 7-1-33-2.
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Dale Steyn praises Hasan Ali’s performance
Former South African fast bowler Dale Steyn commended Hasan’s performance, noting that despite not bowling at express pace, Hasan’s precision with line and length was impeccable. Steyn also highlighted the Pakistan pacer’s enjoyment on the field, emphasizing the positive impact it had on his performance.
“He (Hasan Ali) hasn’t taken the new ball for a while now. It disrupts things when you lose your usual fast bowling unit that opens the bowling. But he came in and did a wonderful job. He didn’t really try and get the pace up to that 140-145 KMPH. He was very effective on his line and length,” Steyn remarked in a video shared by ESPNcricinfo.
“The other thing that I enjoyed about him was that he had a good smile on his face. It looked like he was enjoying himself. When you are enjoying yourself, things come a little bit easier,” added Steyn.
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