The Asia cup schedules were just revealed and the Defending champions India will face, Pakistan on the 19th of September.
The tournament will kick off in the UAE with the inaugural match seeing Bangladesh and Sri Lanka playing head to head. The tournament will kick off in the 15th of September, and the confirmed participants are India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
One more spot is up for grabs, and the likes of Oman, UAE, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal and Hong Kong are set to battle it out for it. A preliminary tournament will take place in India at the beginning of September to see who qualifies for the Asia Cup.
The one who passes through will have a tough time as they are set to contest with India and Pakistan in group A. Group B consists of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
Two teams from each group will emerge, and they will play a super four semifinal, and then the winner will play the final on the 28th of September.
This year the tournament will see the teams playing in the much more traditional 50 over format, as it is going to be before the world cup. The previous version of the Asia Cup was played as T20 matches as it preceded the World Cup T20’s.
Matches to watch out for?
The tournament will see some key clashes which will have much more than regular cricket matches. The competition will see some of the fiercest rivalries rejuvenated as the superpowers of the subcontinent will go head to head.
Some of the Key Matches to look out for.
• Bangladesh VS Sri Lanka 15th Sep.
• India VS Pakistan 19th Sep.
Just after the schedules were out, BCCI criticized the scheduling of the tournament with particular reference to the match between India and Pakistan on the 19th of September.
BCCI’s commented on the match date as ‘mindless.’ India will have to play a qualifier on September 18th and will have no rest days available in between. What has complicated the issue more is that their arch-rivals Pakistan will have a 2-day rest period ahead of the clash.
A top BCCI official commented on the equity of scheduling for the tournament. Further, he said that it is just a money-spinning game for the officials.
INDIA PAK RIVALRY
While the tournament will crown the top power in the sub-continent, All eyes will be on India Vs. Pakistan and it will draw the most crowd. We all know that the game represents much more than victory or loss for either.
The emotions will boil over and will see players giving their all for victory.
Crickets fiercest rivalry is set to enter in 2018 and India will be looking to avenge their last ODI loss to Pakistan. India is still the favorites to progress through to the finals and win it.
Both camps are entirely different from the teams of the past. Pakistan used to rely on its fast pace bowling and India was a complete package. Nowadays, we can see both sides following a similar approach with India still the superior team.
The captains Sarfraz Ahmed and Virat Kohli are not new to this fierce match, and both of them will be looking to capitalize on their experience to guide their teams forward.
What makes this rivalry unique is that no team has been superior over a more extended period. Still, over the last 5 ODI games, India has won 3 while its Pak compatriots have won 2.
If it happens, September 19th will see the most volatile rivalry in international cricket happening, with both sides fielding their best teams to induce their dominance on one another.
The tournament Favorites.
While there is no doubt that India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are favorites to get out of the group stages, we can expect to see the likes of Afghanistan and Bangladesh giving their all to cause an upset.
India is currently the favorites to take the trophy home, with the bookmakers favoring Pakistan for runner-ups and giving Sri Lanka just an outside chance to win the tournament.
Pakistan is aware of conditions of the middle east. India, Sri Lanka, and the other countries would have to improvise and get adapted to the conditions soon if they would want to advance into the finals.
The tournament will see, Dark Horses, Afghanistan making a cameo. The Afghanistan team has been widely praised around the world for its rapid progress, and it’s no fear approach even when facing the biggest teams in the world.
The Last Asia cup was held at Bangladesh in 2016. The T20 format was used, and it made for some exciting matches. India eventually came out on top by beating underdogs Bangladesh by eight wickets to clinch the cup.
T20 or ODI
The debate still goes on. There are many approvers of the return of the ODI to the Asia cup while many fear that the entertainment value will decline after the T20 format is thrown out of the famous tournament.
While it won’t be as jam-packed as a T20, we are excited to see the ODI format making a return, and it is better for cricket overall that the important tournaments adopt ODI as a standard format.
While there are controversies associated with any India Pak match we can expect this one to be heated as well, with BCCI pointing fingers at the organizers, we can expect to see some counter moves from the organizers and we might see a new rescheduled date might be allotted to the match.
If everything goes as planned, the match is set to start 11.30AM Indian time at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium with thousands of watching the most anticipated game of 2018. We hope that match will live up to its expectations and will be a thrilling and exciting affair.