India and Pakistan are to clash at least once ahead of the T20 World Cup scheduled to be held in Australia later this year. Multiple reports reveal the arch-rivals may play against each other on August 28, the first clash between the two neighbors since the 2021 T20 World Cup, in the group match of the 2022 Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, which is hosting the tournament.
Originally scheduled for 2020, it is the 15th edition of the premier Asian tournament and will be played in a T20 format instead of an ODI. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the shift of the dates to June 2021 first and thereafter to August 2022. Sri Lanka will be hosting the event alone.
A total of six teams including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are to take part in the race to win the cup. India is the defending champion.
Pakistan defeated India in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 by ten wickets in Dubai and the two teams are scheduled to battle against each other again on October 23 in Australia at this year's T20 World Cup. A match between the two subcontinent giants in Asia Cup T20 is an opportunity for Team India to take revenge and prepare for the World Cup.
2022 Asia Cup
The 2022 Asia Cup is the 15th edition and is to be played in a T20 format instead of an ODI. It is scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka between August 27 and September 11. The tournament is held once in two years and was scheduled for 2020. The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) postponed the games first for June 2021 and thereafter to the current dates. The 16th edition simultaneously has been pushed back by one year and Pakistan will be hosting it in 2023.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) earlier requested the ACC to change the venue from Pakistan to the United Arab Emirates due to ongoing security concerns. Pakistan last hosted a multi-team cricket event in 2008, the 9th edition of the Asia Cup.
The sixth team or the qualifier team in the tournament could be UAE, Kuwait, Singapore or Hong Kong. UAE and Kuwait are scheduled to play in the qualifier tournament next month. The two emerged from the 2020 ACC Western Region T20. The other two teams progressed from the 2020 ACC Eastern Region T20. The qualification tournament involving these four teams is to kick start on August 20.
Asia Cup is ODI and T20 international tournament and was first held in 1984 in Sharjah (UAE), after the ACC was formed in 1983 to promote goodwill among the Asian countries. The ODI and T20 formats alternate every 2-years. India hosted the fourth edition in 1990-91 without Pakistan, which boycotted the event citing strained political relations between the two neighbors. India won the cup defeating Sri Lanka. The fifth edition was delayed until 1995 as strained political relations between the two arch-rivals forced ACC to cancel the tournament in 1993.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are the five full members of the ACC and the sixth team is selected through the Asia Cup Qualifier tournament.
2018 Asia Cup
The 2018 Asia Cup was held in the UAE, the third time after 1984 and 1995. India defeated Bangladesh by three wickets and grabbed the cup. Hong Kong was the sixth team after qualifying for the 2018 Asia Cup Qualifier tournament.
The tournament was scheduled to be hosted by India, but political tensions with Pakistan forced ACC to shift to UAE.
The final match was held at Dubai International Cricket Stadium (Dubai) on September 28 and India chose to field after winning the toss. Bangladesh lost all the wickets in 48.3 overs scoring 222 runs. India played all the fifty overs and made 223 by losing seven wickets. Captain Rohit Sharma contributed 48 runs in 55 balls. Litton Das of Bangladesh was announced as Player of the Match. He played 117 balls and made 121 runs. It was his first century in ODIs.