NEW DELHI: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed achieved a significant feat by forming the third-highest partnership for any wicket in the history of the ODI Asia Cup in Multan on Wednesday.
During their opening match in the Asia Cup 2023 against Nepal, the duo managed to compile an impressive partnership of 214 runs for the fifth wicket.
This landmark ranks as the third-highest partnership for any wicket in the history of the ODI Asia Cup.
The record for the highest partnership belongs to Nasir Jamshed and Mohammed Hafeez, who tallied 224 runs against India in 2012. Following that, a partnership of 223 runs between Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik against Hong Kong in 2004 takes the second spot.
This remarkable collaboration between Babar and Iftikhar also stands as the highest fifth-wicket partnership in Asia Cup history. Furthermore, it signifies the highest partnership for the fourth wicket or below achieved by a Pakistani pair.
Iftikhar joined Babar on the crease when Pakistan was facing a challenging situation at 124/4 in 27.5 overs. From that point onward, the duo launched an assault on Nepal's bowlers, dismantling them in the latter half of the innings.
Babar exhibited his prowess by amassing 151 runs in 131 balls, including 14 fours and four sixes. In the meantime, Iftikhar secured his maiden century, remaining unbeaten with 109 runs from 71 balls, featuring 11 fours and four sixes.
Notably, Iftikhar's century came in just 67 balls, making it the fourth-fastest century achieved by a Pakistani batter. The swiftest century in this regard belongs to Shahid Afridi, who accomplished it in just 37 balls.
Opting to bat first, Pakistan reached a total of 342/6 in 50 overs. Initially, they faced adversity as Fakhar Zaman (14) and Imam-Ul-Haq (5) were dismissed, leaving the team at 25/2.
Subsequently, Babar established an 86-run partnership for the third wicket with Mohammed Rizwan (44 runs in 50 balls, including six fours), aiding Pakistan in reaching triple digits.
With Rizwan and Agha Salman (5) falling rapidly, Pakistan's position weakened at 124/4. However, Babar and Iftikhar mounted a strong recovery.
Nepal's bowlers Sompal Kami (2/85), Karan KC (1/54) and Sandeep Lamichhane (1/69) were among those who claimed wickets during the match.
(With ANI inputs)