Pakistan defeat the Netherlands by 81 runs after posting a total of 286 runs in their first innings, with Rizwan and Shakeel scoring 68 runs each. De Leede was the pick of the bowlers for the Netherlands, taking 4 wickets for 62 runs, but his efforts were not enough to prevent Pakistan from winning the match.

In a gripping cricket match today, Pakistan’s middle-order batsmen displayed remarkable resilience and composure to steer their team to an 81-run victory against the Netherlands. This victory marked a significant departure from Pakistan’s recent struggles, where the team often crumbled after the dismissal of top-order batsmen.

After losing three early wickets for just 38 runs, Pakistan faced a critical moment in the match. However, the middle-order duo of Saud Shakeel and Mohammad Rizwan came to the rescue, stabilizing the innings and gradually shifting the momentum in favor of Pakistan. Their partnership proved to be the turning point of the game, as runs and boundaries began to flow, taking Pakistan to a total of 286 runs in their first innings.

Saud Shakeel, who was a late addition to the World Cup squad, played a masterful innings, reaching a 32-ball half-century without taking undue risks. His technique against both fast bowlers and spinners was impeccable, and he and Rizwan managed to put up a 100-run partnership that swung the game back in Pakistan’s favor.

However, Pakistan’s middle-order revival faced a brief hiccup when Saud Shakeel made a top edge off Aryan Dutt, allowing the Netherlands to regain some momentum. Soon after, Rizwan was dismissed by a sensational inswinger from Bas de Leede, who also accounted for the wicket of Iftikhar Ahmed in the same over.

Pakistan’s spin-bowling all-rounders, Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan, added a crucial 64-run partnership to help their team recover from the shaky start. Nevertheless, the Netherlands, led by Bas de Leede, continued to take wickets at regular intervals, ultimately bowling out Pakistan for 286 runs in 49 overs.

The Netherlands began their chase energetically, but the early loss of Max O’Dowd dampened their spirits. Vikramjit Singh then took charge and partnered with Colin Ackermann, posing a genuine threat to Pakistan. However, some rash shots by Dutch batsmen, coupled with Bas de Leede’s dismissal by Shadab Khan, allowed Pakistan to regain control.

De Leede’s aggressive batting was a standout feature of the match, and he reached a well-deserved half-century. Nevertheless, Pakistan’s Haris Rauf intervened, taking two wickets in three balls, which further solidified Pakistan’s position. Teja Nidamanuru and Scott Edwards also fell to Rauf, but he missed out on a hat-trick opportunity due to a dropped catch by Iftikhar Ahmed.

Despite de Leede’s determined efforts, a lack of support from the other end and an injury to Logan van Beek hindered the Netherlands’ chances. Pakistan’s Shaheen Afridi removed Saqib Zulfiqar, while Mohammad Nawaz dismissed de Leede, who was bowled off his stump by a delivery that turned unexpectedly.

In a last-ditch effort, Logan van Beek tried to delay Pakistan’s victory, forming a resilient partnership with Paul van Meekeren. This pushed the Netherlands’ score past the 200-run mark, but it wasn’t enough to alter the outcome. Haris Rauf sealed Pakistan’s victory by clean bowling van Meekeren.

While Pakistan’s performance in this match was far from perfect, they managed to secure an important victory, earning two points and maintaining a healthy net run rate. With room for improvement, Pakistan now has three days to prepare for their upcoming clash against Sri Lanka in Hyderabad. The middle-order revival in this match offers hope for a brighter future in the tournament.

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