Multan Cricket Stadium, in the backyard of the co-host of Asia Cup 2023, is gearing up to organize another high-scoring event. This will be between their home team and Nepal. The latter gained popularity for fighting to their full capacity in World Cup Qualifiers. They lost but have everyone’s respect in the game.
Asia Cup begins on August 30, 2023, with the open all set to be played between Pakistan and Nepal, starting at 3 pm IST. The pitch is known to carry a dry nature, largely favoring bowlers. Call it a biased pitch, if you will, for bowlers barely get any support in such a condition. Spinners are likely to throw their deliveries as the ball deteriorates.
Pakistan will be undeterred even if they choose to bowl first. They will sweep the advantages of domestic weather and support.
Nepal is not going to shiver down without a fight. Winning a toss could prove to be a strategic advantage and an opportunity to register the first upset of the tournament. Asia Cup 2023 will see Babar Azam and Fakar Zaman stand true to the momentum that they have built over the days ahead of the tournament.
Options are limited for the visitors, with only Sandeep Lamichhane and Aasif Sheikh shining in the last couple of days. Some top cricket betting sites are heavily favoring Pakistan, with almost 97% odds in their favor. This leaves Nepal with a 3% chance of qualifying for Super 4.
Sandeep’s ODI career spans 33 innings, during which he has registered 367 runs as a right-handed batter at an average of 14.68. Aasif Sheik has better numbers, with a total of 1187 runs in 41 ODI innings at an average of 31.24.
However, compare that to Aazam and Zaman’s statistics to get an idea of where the match will tilt in the opener.
The Pakistani skipper has played 88 innings to bring up 3772 runs, while his colleague has appeared in 73 innings for 3207 runs. Simply put, Nepal’s best men are nowhere closer to Pakistan’s men in form. Giving more push to Pakistan is their 3-0 win over Afghanistan in the recently played ODI series in Sri Lanka.
Nepal, on the other hand, has won just two matches in the last six matches that they have played.
A team to bat first will have an advantage in Multan Cricket Stadium. The average score stands at 255, something that Pakistan will look to target in less than 45 overs. The remaining 5 overs could see their batters go on a rampage against any bowler who comes from the other end. The best Nepal can do is to keep the losing margin as thin as possible.
As for Pakistan, they are looking to retain their top spot in the ICC ODI Team ranking. Asia Cup is a place where they would want to either lift the title for the 3rd time or leave the tournament as the number-one ranked team across the world.