ROTTERDAM: Pakistan right-arm pacers Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf stunned the Dutch batting line-up after left-handed opener Fakhar Zaman led the way with an astonishing century as the Green Shirts beat Netherlands by 16 runs in the first ODI.
Set to chase 315, the hosts fell 16 runs short despite half-centuries from Vikramjit Singh, Tom Cooper, and Scott Edwards.
The hosts were off to a dismal start to their run chase as the side lost two wickets at a combined score of 24 in the fifth over as Max O’Dowd and Wesley Baressi fell cheaply.
Right-handed batter Bas de Leede then joined hands with Singh for a brief third-wicket partnership that propelled the Netherlands to 62 in the 13th over before the former perished after being trapped in his legs by Mohammad Wasim Jr for 16.
Cooper then joined Singh in the middle which sparked a magnificent partnership for the hosts as the dependable pair added 97 runs for the fourth wicket and tested the Pakistan bowling attack.
The partnership, however, could not flourish for more as Haris struck again to provide a much-need breakthrough to Pakistan. The right-handed batter scored 65 off 54 deliveries including six boundaries and two sixes.
Meanwhile, Singh also perished briefly after Cooper’s dismissal as left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz trapped him in front for 65. He faced 98 deliveries and smashed five boundaries.
Following the departure of the set batters, Pakistan bowlers quickly dominated the Dutch batting attack and halted the flow of runs for the home side. Netherlands skipper Edwards displayed character as he scored an unbeaten and valiant 71 off a mere 60 deliveries, laced with six boundaries and a six.
His heroic knock too, could not power the Netherlands over the line as the home side fell 16 runs short in the run chase and hence allowing Pakistan to start their series on a winning note.
Haris and Naseem were the picks of the bowlers for Pakistan as the right-arm pacers bagged three wickets each, while Nawaz and Wasim Jr managed to make one scalp each.
Pakistan, after winning the toss, opted to bat first against the hosts and were halted by a poor start as the touring side lost their opener Imam-ul-Haq in the sixth over at a mere score of 10.
Following his departure, Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam anchored the innings for Pakistan as the pair added 168 runs for the second wicket. Fakhar led the charge with a century, while Babar remained unable to convert his fifty into a ton.
The right-handed batter lost his wicket in the 35th over while looking to shift the momentum and pace up his slow knock. However, while attempting to slog the ball, Babar miscued it to mid-off and walked back to the pavilion after scoring 74 off 85 deliveries, laced with six boundaries and a six.
Pakistan’s top-scorer for the first ODI, Fakhar, on the other hand, amassed his century but fell briefly after reaching it as he was run out a couple of overs later. The left-handed batter scored a run-a-ball 109 with the help of 12 boundaries and a six.
Fakhar’s dismissal sparked a frustrating collapse for the touring side as Pakistan lose three wickets in quick succession as wicket-keeper batter Mohammad Rizwan, Khushdil Shah, and Nawaz perished after scoring cheaply.
Following the collapse, leg-spinning all-rounder Shadab Khan stood up for his team and smashed a quickfire 48 off 28 balls including four boundaries and two sixes, while the debutant Agha Salman offered a helping hand with a valiant knock of 27 off 16 deliveries.
Both batters remained unbeaten as Pakistan finished at 314-6 in the allotted 50 overs.