At the first of a three-match series against the Netherlands in Rotterdam, Pakistan won by a margin of 16 runs thanks to opening batsman Fakhar Zaman’s sixth one-day international (ODI) century.
At the VOC Cricket Club outside the Dutch harbour city, Pakistan won the toss and decided to bat in the steamy circumstances on a day when big scores were anticipated on a slow wicket.
However, the tourists struggled at first before hitting a dominant 314-6 after 50 overs.
Despite a heroic run-chasing effort, the Dutch lost to a determined Pakistani squad that had hundreds of supporters and finishing on 298-8.
Captain Babar Azam reached 74 before being caught after mistiming a delivery from Dutch paceman Logan van Beek, Meanwhile, Fakhar Zaman scored 109.
Pakistan’s batting was initially restricted by the home team’s bowlers, who grabbed the visitors’ first wicket Imam-ul-Haq—lbw to pacer Vivian Kingma in the sixth over for a difficult two off 19 balls.
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Azam was caught in a soft dismissal when he mistimed a shot into the waiting hands of Tom Cooper at mid-off, but Zaman and Azam ended up breaking loose and put on a partnership of 168 runs off 170 balls.
Two overs later, Zaman was out after being run out by the Dutch captain and wicketkeeper Scott Edwards off a grave throw from Bas de Leede to deep mid-wicket.
The spin bowling of young men Aryan Dutt and Tim Pringle caused issues as the Dutch bowlers did well to contain Pakistan, who were poised for a higher score.
The second game of the series will be played there on Thursday, while the series’ final game is slated to take place at the same venue on Sunday.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Agha Salman, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah
Netherlands: Vikramjit Singh, Scott Edwards (captain), Wesley Barresi, Tom Cooper, Teja Nidamanuru, Max O’Dowd, Bas de Leede, Tim Pringle, Logan van Beek, Aryan Dutt, Vivian Kingma