Asia Cup 2023 will kick start today with the first encounter between Pakistan and Nepal from the Multan Cricket Stadium, Multan. This is the first time that the Asia Cup is being held in a hybrid manner with matches scheduled to happen in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The Indian team will not travel to Pakistan for any match and instead, the match between the two teams will be played in Sri Lanka’s, Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Kandy on September 2.
With this edition of the tournament, Nepal will be making its debut in a grand multilateral series like the Asia Cup. Nepal qualified for the tournament after defeating the United Arab Emirates in the ACC Men’s Premier Cup 2023.
The six teams in the tournament are divided into two groups:
Group A: India, Pakistan, Nepal
Group B: Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh
In Group A, India will take on Pakistan on September 2, at the Pallekele International Stadium in Sri Lanka.
Three of these games will be played in Pakistan while the rest will be played in Sri Lanka.
The super four stage will run from September 6 to 15 with five matches to be played in Sri Lanka and 1 in Pakistan. The final will be played at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
India and Pakistan are the two favourites to win the Asia Cup 2023. In fact, Pakistan is entering the tournament with the No.1 One Day International (ODI) ranking which they got after whitewashing Afghanistan at home in a 3-0 ODI series.
The tournament which started in 1984, has seen India winning the maximum number of times which is 7. Sri Lanka has won the Asia Cup 6 times while Pakistan has won only twice.
Still, in this tournament, Sri Lanka is no match to Pakistan which has a line-up of young pacers who are world-class bowlers. Similarly, the Pakistani batting side has improved considerably since their T20 World Cup rout against England in the finals.
India: India boasts an extremely strong batting line-up that has Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya. Allrounders Hardik Pandya and Axar Patel are two added advantages in the side, who will be handy with the bat as well as with the bowl.
India’s journey this year has so far been satisfactory with home victories against New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The team is coming on strong after a series win against West Indies. Apart from Pakistan, there doesn’t seem to be any team that can spoil India’s chances at the Asia Cup.
Pakistan: Pakistan have worked on their middle order crisis that had dampened their efforts in the T20 World Cup last year. This year, the team has been playing quite well. After losing the ODI series to New Zealand at the start of the year, they won back against the same team in April and May.
Pakistan is also coming strong after triumphing over Afghanistan in a 3-0 lead which has also propelled them to the top of MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings. Babar Azam is leading a good team that stands a high chance of lifting the Asia Cup.