Cricket: All you need to know about the Asia Cup

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The Asia Cup features the best cricket teams from the continent in a tournament that will see the matches being played in an ‘ONE DAY’ (50 over) format. The 6 teams playing in the tournament are split into 2 groups of 3 teams each. India, Pakistan and Hong Kong are in Group A. Group B comprises of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. India will play arch-rivals Pakistan on 19th September and if all goes well for the two sides, there could also be an India-Pakistan final. Here is how the big teams stack up ahead of the tournament

 

1. India: The Men in Blue have been the most successful side in Asia Cup history. India has won  6-times in the 13 editions of the Championship,  Team India also has a dubious record of losing 3 finals to Sri Lanka. In the absence of Virat Kohli who has been given a much-needed rest, the team will be led by Rohit Sharma. MS Dhoni, of course, will play a massive role considering the absence of Virat. Apart from the usual suspects, the only new entrant to the squad is the new left arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed. India will play their opening game against Hong Kong on 18th September followed by a game against Pakistan on 19th in Dubai 

2. Sri Lanka: The team from the Emerald Isles have lifted the Asia Cup trophy 5 times. Angelo Mathews leads the leads the squad with a notable return of Lasith Malinga. The Yorker specialist will be playing his first ever International Cricket match in over a year. Expect the Sri Lankans to be as strong as any other team in the competition and they will be looking to win another trophy to become the joint-most successful team in Asia Cup with India.

3. Pakistan: 2-time Champions Pakistan are also the favourites to win the Asia Cup 2018. The Champions Trophy 2017 winners will be looking to carry that form and will be lead by Sarfaraz Ahmed. The batting department will be lead by Fakhar Zaman and the team is in UAE with as many as 6 pacers in the side. Mohd Amir will be the bowling spearhead but the pacers will have to work extra hard on the dry and batting friendly wickets in the Emirates.

4. Afghanistan: Asia Cup will serve as the perfect platform for Afghanistan who are struggling to shed the underdog tag. The team will be dark horses of the tournament and one can expect plenty of upsets whenever the Afghanis are playing. The team has scored many great wins over sides like West Indies and Zimbabwe in the past and this will be a big test for the team led by Captain Asghar Afghan.

5. Bangladesh: Bangladesh have been 2-time Asia Cup runners-up. In the 2016 edition, India beat Bangladesh in the final to win the trophy in dramatic fashion. Shakib-al-Hasan is struggling with an injury but one can expect the veteran to play despite being in pain.

Happy viewing!


Written by: Yash Chawla. Yash is former Anchor of NDTV with over 9 years of experience as a sports journalist.

 

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