Get ready for two weeks of hardfought limited overs cricket folks and the revival of the India-Pakistan desert rivalry!
The 14th edition of the Asia Cup, or ‘Asian World Cup’, as many fans call the tournament, also known as Unimoni Asia Cup 2018 this year, will be a One-Day International (ODI) affair this time around and kicks off in the United Arab Emirates this Friday, 15th September 2018. This is the third time the tournament will be played in the UAE after the 1984 and 1995 editions and India go in as defending champs. Originally, the tournament was scheduled to be played in India but was moved following ongoing political tensions between India and Pakistan. Bangladesh take on Sri Lanka in the opening game at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
The five full members of the Asian Cricket Council – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are joined by Hong Kong, after they won the 2018 Asia Cup Qualifiers held last month. And the good news for them after having lost their ODI status after finishing tenth in the 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in March, is that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has awarded ODI status to all matches in the tournament.
The Asia Cup qualifiers ended in dramatic fashion, with the controversial Duckworth Lewis Method once again playing a major part, the result of which meant UAE would feel robbed of an opportunity to play such a prestigious tournament in home conditions. Full credit to Hong Kong though, who, against all odds, have qualified for the Asia Cup. With the ICC granting them ‘temporary ODI status’, they would be looking to make the most of this opportunity and prove to the ICC once again as to why the 10-team World Cup is a bad idea.
Six teams split into two groups of three will face off with the top two teams from each group progressing to the Super Fours. From there, the top two teams will meet in the final.
Group A: Hong Kong, India and Pakistan
Group B: Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka
Sep 15, Sat 05.00pm – Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka, 1st Match, Group B
Sep 16, Sun 05.00pm – Pakistan vs Hong Kong, 2nd Match, Group A
Sep 17, Mon 05.00pm – Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan, 3rd Match, Group B
Sep 18, Tue 05.00pm – India vs Hong Kong, 4th Match, Group A
Sep 19, Wed 05.00pm – India vs Pakistan, 5th Match, Group A
Sep 20, Thu 05.00pm – Bangladesh vs Afghanistan, 6th Match, Group B
Sep 21, Fri 05.00pm – TBC vs TBC, Super Four, Match 1
Sep 21, Fri 05.00pm – TBC vs TBC, Super Four, Match 2
Sep 23, Sun 05.00pm – TBC vs TBC, Super Four, Match 3
Sep 23, Sun 05.00pm – TBC vs TBC, Super Four, Match 4
Sep 25, Tue 05.00pm – TBC vs TBC, Super Four, Match 5
Sep 26, Wed 05.00pm – TBC vs TBC, Super Four, Match 6
Sep 28, Fri 05.00pm – TBC vs TBC, Final
If the Nidahas Trophy that took place earlier this year is anything to go by, the Asia Cup is going to be two weeks of sheer thrill, to say the least. At this point of time, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka aren’t too distant from each other in terms of squad depth and quality. India and Pakistan too, seem to be playing their limited overs cricket on a very similar scale of intensity. Whether Hong Kong has a few surprises up their sleeve is yet to be seen, which is also something that I wouldn’t mind as a viewer; not one bit.
Rohit Sharma(c), Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, K Khaleel Ahmed
Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shan Masood, Sarfraz Ahmed(c), Shoaib Malik, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Asif Ali, Mohammad Amir
Angelo Mathews(c), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Dilruwan Perera, Amila Aponso, Kasun Rajitha, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Lasith Malinga, Niroshan Dickwella
Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mashrafe Mortaza(c), Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Ariful Haque, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Nazmul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Hider Rony, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque
Anshuman Rath(c), Aizaz Khan, Babar Hayat, Cameron McAulsan, Christopher Carter, Ehsan Khan, Ehsan Nawaz, Arshad Mohammad, Kinchit Shah, Nadeem Ahmed, Nizakat Khan, Raag Kapur, Scott McKechnie, Tanveer Ahmed, Tanwir Afzal, Waqas Khan, Aftab Hussain
Asghar Afghan(c), Mohammad Shahzad, Ihsanullah Janat, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Najibullah Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Aftab Alam, Samiullah Shenwari, Munir Ahmad, Sayed Shirzad, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Yamin Ahmadzai
Asia Cup 2018 Pointers
– India are the defending champions and are in tremendous form with new players performing exceptionally well against top international teams. The likes of Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, KL Rahul have made India a strong contender for the latest edition of the Asia Cup
– India won the 2016 edition of the Asia Cup by beating Bangladesh by 8 wickets in the final. It was a T20 tournament and this year, the format is ODI
– A lot has changed in last two years. Afghanistan has become a full member of the ICC and rank 10th in ICC ODI rankings
– Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan are the highest wicket takers for Afghanistan with 105 and 102 wickets to their name respectively. Rashid Khan has surprised everyone with his right-arm leg break bowling style in the IPL and has proved to be a gem of a player
– The team hasn’t defeated any team participating in Asia Cup other than Bangladesh. They have played Bangladesh on 5 occasions and won 2 of them
– Bangladesh Cricket Team has played 8 ODI in 2018 and have won 5 of them. The last time Bangladesh played against Sri Lanka was 27th January 2018 where Sri Lanka won by 79 runs
– This was the second defeat Bangladesh faced against Sri Lanka in the Tri Nation series (2017-2018). Bangladesh had faced a bigger defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka on 25th January 2018 where Sri Lanka won by 10 wickets
– Pakistan has played Sri Lanka on 5 occasions in late 2017 and has won every time. These matches were played in UAE. The one played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium saw Pakistan win by 83 runs
Finally some high intensity limited overs action!
Ready For Two Weeks of Asian Flair Folks? Who is your Super 8?
Leagues up in the Lobby, Go get ’em champs!