In a thrilling World Cup opener in Hyderabad, Pakistan showcased their cricketing prowess as they managed to secure an 81-run victory against the Netherlands. Despite a valiant effort by the Dutch all-rounder Bas de Leede, who shone both with the ball and the bat, Pakistan’s improved bowling performance proved decisive. This match featured some exceptional moments, including partnerships, breakthroughs, and standout individual performances.
A Resilient Pakistan
Pakistan’s innings were characterized by periods of resilience and mini-collapses. They opted to bat first after winning the toss but lost early wickets. Fakhar Zaman (12), skipper Babar Azam (5), and Imam Ul Haq (15) departed within the first 10 overs, leaving Pakistan in a nervous state.
Dutch Bowling on Display at World Cup
The Netherlands, playing their first World Cup game in 12 years, showcased their depth in the bowling department. They employed eight different bowling options during the innings, providing ample variety to their attack. Aryan Dutt (1/48) and Colin Ackermann (2/39) were instrumental in exploiting the conditions offered by the Hyderabad pitch.
Rizwan and Shakeel’s Stand
Despite early setbacks, Mohammad Rizwan (68 off 75) and Saud Shakeel (68 off 52) steadied the ship for Pakistan with a remarkable 120-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Rizwan’s composed innings and Shakeel’s aggressive strokeplay, including a remarkable slog sweep off Roelof Van der Merwe, anchored Pakistan’s innings.
De Leede’s Breakthroughs
Bas de Leede emerged as the Netherlands’ hero during the middle overs. His medium-pace deliveries proved challenging for the Pakistani batsmen, as he managed to pick up crucial wickets. De Leede removed Rizwan (68) with a delivery that nipped back in, breaching the batter’s defense and breaking the partnership.
Pakistan’s Late Flourish
After the departure of Rizwan and Shakeel, Pakistan looked poised to post a competitive total, thanks to Mohammad Nawaz (39) and vice-captain Shadab Khan (32). They forged a resilient 64-run partnership, guiding Pakistan past the 250-run mark. The duo’s efforts hinted at a potential 300-plus total, but Bas de Leede had other plans.
De Leede’s Heroics
Bas de Leede’s all-round performance was the highlight of the Dutch innings. With the bat, he scored a remarkable 67 runs off 68 balls and was instrumental in holding the Dutch chase together for a significant period. His six-over wide long-on against Mohammad Nawaz’s spin was a standout moment in his sublime knock.
Pakistan’s Bowling Resurgence in World Cup
Pakistan’s bowlers, who faced criticism during warm-up matches, redeemed themselves during this crucial encounter. Haris Rauf (3/43) made inroads into the Dutch middle order by dismissing Teja Nidamanuru and Scott Edwards. Shaheen Afridi also played a pivotal role by trapping Saqib Zulfikar in front with a fast and full delivery.
The Turning Point in the World Cup
The turning point of the match came when Mohammad Nawaz dismissed Bas de Leede, ending his valiant resistance. This wicket marked the beginning of the end for the Dutch side. Shadab Khan, who had been under scrutiny for his recent performances, also delivered a crucial spell with the ball.
In the end, Pakistan’s combined efforts with both bat and ball secured them an 81-run victory in their World Cup opener. The match was a rollercoaster of emotions, featuring brilliant individual performances and crucial partnerships. While the Netherlands showed their mettle on the world stage, Pakistan displayed their resilience and determination to start their World Cup campaign on a winning note. As the tournament progresses, cricket fans can look forward to more thrilling encounters and unforgettable moments on the field.