Dream ODI debut for Naseem Shah, Agha Salman

LAHORE: The first ODI between Pakistan and Netherlands ended in a victory for the visitors in Rotterdam, but the match set in motion a new chapter in professional lives of fast bowler Naseem Shah and batting all-rounder Salman Ali Agha, who debuted in the match. Both the debutants made the match memorable for themselves through their impressive performances.

Pakistan beat Netherlands by a narrow margin of 16 runs in the high-scoring first ODI of the three match bilateral series. Fakhar Zaman (109) and Captain Babar Azam (74) laid the foundation of a big total through their 168-run partnership for the second wicket, and it enabled the later batters to push for 314 runs in 50 overs. Babar was unlucky to miss on yet another 100 after he miscued a hit and was caught at mid-off while Fakhar Zaman completed his 7th hundred in the ODIs.

Pakistan batting coach Muhammad Yousaf bestowed the ODI caps on Agha Salman, while Pakistan ace bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi gave the cap to Naseem Shah. Naseem Shah has already played with Afridi when he debuted in test match at the Gabba, Brisbane Australia in 2019.

The fast-bowler dazzled the spectator through display of intimidating fast-bowling and picked three wickets for 51 runs in 10 overs, while Salman Agha, batting at number 8, left his mark with a short innings of 27 off 16 balls.

Salman Ali Agha was demoted in the batting order considering the fact that Pakistan needed quick runs after the fall of Mohammad Rizwan in the 40th over of Pakistan innings with the team total at 212-4. Power-hitter Khushdil Shah, vice Captain Shadab Khan and Muhammad Nawaz batted ahead of him but with the fall of Muhammad Nawaz in the 46th over Salman Ali Agha joined Shadab Khan at the crease and coined valuable 48 runs in 4.1 overs.

Agha Salman played a sedate innings and scored at ease in the death overs against both pace and spin bowlers. He also bowled four overs and conceded 25 runs. The all-rounder has strengthened his case for a permanent place in the middle order through the mature innings against the Netherlands.

Naseem Shah, on the other hand, bowled with precision and venom and was the most economical of the fast bowling trio as he conceded 51 runs for the three scalps. These 51 runs included four wides and as many no-balls in his quota of 10 overs and more control can do wonders to his bowling.

Naseem has been hailed by the connoisseurs of the game for pitching the bowl up throughout his spell and making the ball talk on a pitch which helped batters most of the time.

Naseem Shah is the right candidate to complement Shaheen Shah Afridi in the fast bowling department and re-live the era of the great Ws (Wasim Akram and Waqar Younas) in the years to come. Both the youngsters have done justice to their selection and are hoped to do well for the Pakistan cricket in the coming days.



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