Asian Cup: What is it?
The Asian Cup 2022 will be held in the UAE for the first time. Dubai and Abu Dhabi host this tournament.
The Asian Cup is a biyearly cricket tournament. Since its premiere in 1984, it has been performed every two years. Along with the Cricket World Cup and the ICC World Twenty20, the Asian Cup is one of the three major international tournaments currently attended by national teams across Asia.
It is just what it says on the tin that the best teams in Asia will face each other. Believe it or not, outside of ICC events, the Asian Cup is the largest international competition in terms of attendance. The first edition took place in Sharjah 38 years ago and included India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. After three head-to-head matches, India emerged as champions under Sunil Gavaskar. The Asia Cup has never been the most stable tournament but has been held every two years since 2008 until the Covid-19 pandemic put the 2020 series on hold.
How old is it now?
Fourteen Asia Cups: Last one was in the United Arab Emirates in 2018 (the theme plays out here), where India, led by Rohit Sharma, defeated Bangladesh in the final to lift the trophy.
India again? It sounds like they won.
Most likely. India has won the Asian Cup seven times, and Sri Lanka has won it five times. Surprisingly enough, Pakistan has won it only twice.
Trying to think of memorable moments from the Asian Cup but can’t think of anything. Let’s refresh your memory.
Sure enough, there was more than you thought. Surinder Khanna’s Rapid Fire Knocks 1984; Ajantha Mendis upset India in the 2008 final; Harbhajan Singh on the penultimate ball six against Mohammad Amir to seal the 2010 win. Virat Kohli scored his career-high 183 against Pakistan to help India after 330, and Pakistan beat Bangladesh by two runs to win the title. Both happened in 2012s. Shahid Afridi won the 2014 match by hitting R Ashwin in the final six times in a row. Amir’s new ball magic against Kohli and Co in 2016. The 2018 India vs Afghanistan draw; you get the idea.
Great. So when does it start this year?
The tournament kicks off with Sri Lanka and Afghanistan on August 27 in Dubai, with the finals taking place on September 11 in Dubai. It will take place in the T20 format in preparation for his T20 World Championship later this year.
Hmm, something missing?
Yes, it starts with a qualifier series of matches from August 20 to 24 in Oman. They will all face off once, and the winner will be teamed with India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the main tournament. The United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuwait will host the competition, with all matches played at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground.
Now back to the main subject.
Easy: 6 teams are divided into two groups:
Group A: India, Pakistan, qualifying teams
Group B: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan
Each team plays once with the other two teams in their group. Each team will play against the other once, with the top two teams advancing to the finals. The top two will then move to the qualifiers.
Has a T20 version of the Asian Cup already happened?
Yes, the Bangladesh 2016 edition was also played in the T20 format in anticipation of that year’s T20 World Cup, which started two days after the Asian Cup final. Tournament formats vary depending on the year in which they are held. For example, Pakistan will host the ODI Asian Cup in India to prepare for the 2023 World Cup.
Why is it played in UAE?
It was a spiritual home as it was where the Asian Cup started (as India and Pakistan regularly play in neutral venues). All matches are played in Sharjah and Dubai.
Our weather app tells us it’s not the best time to play in the United Arab Emirates.
It’s not, but it should be. The game was to be held in Sri Lanka this year, but the country’s economic and political crisis necessitated a relocation. Bilateral cricket was staged in Sri Lanka, but the logistics of multi-team tournaments were challenging to manage.
India and Pakistan were ruled out for various reasons, so it had to be the UAE.
And the heat?
It’s getting scorching. And very, very humid. International cricket was only held once in the UAE in August 2012 when Australia played Pakistan in a white ball series. It was a physically demanding match, but it was somehow managed. That said, the UAE is well equipped to regularly host its 2018 Asian Cup, IPL, PSL and last year’s T20 World Cup (last June).
How many times will we see India play Pakistan?
Maybe twice, or three times if we’re lucky. It will be their first meeting since Pakistan beat India by ten wickets at the same venue at the 2021 FIFA T20 World Cup.
Once both are in the top two teams of their groups, they will meet again in the Super 4 round.
So book your tickets, and plan a trip to UAE around this time.
You can also check out this event on Dubai Calendar: https://dubaicalendar.me/event/asia-cup-2022/all/