In the kick-off match of the Asia Cup 2023 on August 30, Pakistan’s star player, Mohammad Rizwan, faced an unfortunate run-out against Nepal. The awkward way he completed his run, with both bat and legs aloft, didn’t go unnoticed, and the displeasure was evident in captain Babar Azam’s response. The moment swiftly became a focal point for fans everywhere.
Playing their inaugural game at Multan Cricket Stadium, Pakistan was off to a shaky start, losing openers Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Azam for a meager collective score of 25. However, the team’s hopes were revived when Babar and Rizwan formed a strong partnership, adding a commendable 86 runs for the third wicket. This impressive feat occurred in front of an eagerly watching home crowd, raising the spirits for a commendable total in the Cup’s opening match.
Despite their cautious beginning to steady the innings, Babar and Rizwan aimed to ramp up the run rate. The drama unfolded during the 24th over bowled by Sandeep Lamichhane. After playing a shot towards the cover, Rizwan attempted a quick single. Fans watched in shock as Rizwan, with his gaze fixed on the ball, failed to ground his bat as he completed his run. To make matters worse, his feet were also off the ground when Dipendra Singh Airee’s accurate throw hit the stumps.
The disappointment was palpable, not just for Rizwan but also for Babar, who was visibly frustrated. In an outpouring of emotion, Babar took off his cap and threw it to the ground, making it clear how he felt about the lapse in concentration at such a crucial moment. Rizwan’s innings ended with a score of 44 from 50 balls, while Babar went on to score his 29th ODI half-century, ensuring Pakistan remained competitive in the match. However, the team faced another setback when Agha Salman was dismissed after a spectacular catch by Kushal Bhurtel in the 28th over. Still, Babar, alongside Iftikhar Ahmad, steadied the ship, accumulating an unbroken 33-run partnership. By the end of 33 overs, Pakistan was in a promising position, with the scoreboard reading 157 for four wickets.