The 14th edition of Asia Cup featuring six teams and 13 matches is scheduled to take place from September 15 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The final is to be played on September 28.
India and Sri Lanka are the most successful teams in the Asia Cup as both have won the cup five times each. Pakistan have won the title twice.
The current Pakistan squad is quite capable of winning the Asia Cup again. Pakistani players have enough talent and potential to beat any team, but in one-day cricket, there are few second chances and only the sides that avail themselves of maximum chances on a particular day are successful.
Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed must be satisfied with his team’s consistent performance since the Champions Trophy win last year. Dubai is “home” ground of Pakistan as they have been playing all their home series in the UAE since the terrorists attack on the Sri Lanka team in 2009. The Green-shirts have a good chance to win as all players have experience of UAE conditions. The match of the tournament, between Pakistan and India, will be played on September 19.
The idea to hold Asia Cup was conceived by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) in 1983. The first edition of Asia Cup was held in April 1984 at Sharjah in which only Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka participated and Indian skipper Sunil Gavakar lifted the trophy.
The second Asia Cup was held in Sri Lanka in 1986. Bangladesh were inducted for the first time in the Asia Cup because defending champions India did not participate.
The Imran Khan-led Pakistan won both their league matches against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, but unfortunately lost the final against hosts Sri Lanka by five wickets.
Bangladesh hosted the third Asia Cup in 1988. In the absence of Imran Khan, Javed Miandad was the captain. Pakistan won against the hosts by a huge margin of 173 runs, but lost against Sri Lanka by five wickets and India by four wickets. Sri Lanka won all three matches but lost the final against India by six wickets.
Pakistan did not participate in the fourth Asia Cup held in India in 1990-91. Azharuddin’s side defended the title, beating Arjuna Ranatunga’s eleven in the final by seven wickets.
The fifth edition of the Asia Cup was held in Sharjah in 1995. For the first time four teams — Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh — participated in the tournament. Wicket-keeper Moin Khan led Pakistan. At the end of the league round, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan had two wins and one defeat each. But on the basis of better run rate India and Sri Lanka qualified for the final, in which India, led by Azhar, beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets.
After winning the World Cup in 1996, Arjuna Ranatunga’s side also won the sixth Asia Cup, on home soil in 1997. Pakistan, under the captaincy of Rameez Raja, again failed to qualify for the final. Hosts Sri Lanka won their all four matches, including the final against India by eight wickets. Sachin Tendulkar was the captain of the Indian team.
Pakistan finally won the title in 2000 when the Moin-led team beat Sri Lanka, who were led by Sanath Jayasuriya, by 39 runs in Dhaka.
Pakistan remained unbeaten throughout the tournament. Sourav Ganguly led India who won only one game, against hosts Bangladesh.
The eighth edition of Asia Cup was played in Sri Lanka and Marvan Atapattu lifted the trophy for the hosts. Inzamam-ul-Haq’s side beat arch-rivals India by 59 runs in the league match, but lost against Sri Lanka by eight wickets. India qualified for the final against Sri Lanka on the basis of better net run rate. But the home side remained unbeaten and clinched the title with a 25-run victory in the final. During this tournament, Bangladesh won their first game in Asia Cup, against newcomers Hong Kong.
In 2004, Sri Lanka lifted the Asia Cup for the third time when they beat favourites India by 25 runs in the final. Sri Lanka retained the Asia Cup in 2008, once again beating India in the final.
India took revenge in the next Asia Cup when they beat hosts Sri Lanka in 2010 by 81 runs. This was their fifth Asia Cup triumph.
In one of the most thrilling finals of the Asia Cup history, Pakistan beat hosts Bangladesh by two runs in 2012 in Dhaka.
Pakistan were restricted to a modest 236 for nine, but held their nerves to stop the spirited hosts at 234 for eight, shattering Bangladeshi hopes of notching up their maiden Asia Cup title.
The 2014 Asia Cup was held in Bangladesh. Pakistan were the defending champions. Afghanistan participated for the first time in the tournament. This was the first 50-overs tournament in which Afghanistan took part. In the final, Sri Lanka beat Pakistan to become Asia Cup champions for the fifth time.
In 2015 Asian Cricket Council (ACC) announced that Asia Cup tournaments will be played on rotation basis in ODI and T20I format. Therefore, 2016 Asia Cup was played on Twenty20 format. It was held in Bangladesh. India won the final by beating Bangladesh by eight wickets in the final. It was for the sixth time that India won the Asia Cup.
Asia Cup 2018 was scheduled in India but due to political tensions between Pakistan and India was moved to the UAE.