The Asia Cup 2022 is finally upon us and the importance of this event has grown all the more vital with the T20 World Cup arriving in a couple of months. Six Asian countries are going to be part of this extravagant affair and only one country is going to be the Asian Champion. Since it is a year with a T20 World Cup in it, the tournament has been decided to be played in the T20 format. Five teams have already had their place confirmed in the tournament. Those are India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Whereas one country from Hong Kong, UAE, Kuwait and Singapore will qualify for the tournament.
While the first match of the tournament will take place between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, the eyes of cricket fans from all across the world will be on the clash between India and Pakistan. This rivalry between two nations has transcended onto the cricketing pitch with the same level of ferocity and passion as on the border. On 28th August, India and Pakistan will face off against each other for the very first time this year as both teams will look to have a perfect start to the tournament.
Both teams have faced each other 14 times in Asia Cup history. India holds a narrow advantage over their rivals with eight wins, whereas Pakistan has defeated India five times. One match ended with no result. In Asia Cup, India has the most number of title wins with seven cups to their names and have ended up as runners-up thrice. On the other hand, Pakistan has won the Asia Cup twice and has finished as runners-up twice.
Players to watch out for
Rohit – The Indian skipper will be leading India for the very first time in such a big tournament, and hence he will look to lead the team from the front with his batting. In India’s highly disturbed top-order, Rohit has emerged as a shining light in recent years. He will look to prove himself as a batter as well as a captain and lay the stage for India’s success before the T20 World Cup.
Virat – Who else but him? There are a lot of expectations from the ‘King’, as he is often called by his fans. In the matches that he has played this year, Virat has looked like a different player. All this has led to calls of him being sacked from the team. Amidst such noise, Virat will hope to be back at his best against Pakistan, who have always been a team against whom the former Indian captain has performed well.
Arshdeep – With Jasprit missing in action, there is a very high chance that Arshdeep could carve his own spot in the Indian playing XI. He has the knack of taking wickets and giving very less runs, just like Jasprit. With this knack, the Asia Cup could become the tournament where he finally makes his presence felt in world cricket.
Babar – The Pakistan captain is the most important player for his team in the Asia Cup. Pakistan needs him to fire in order to take the country to Asia Cup glory. Babar is without a doubt one of the finest batters to ever grace the game of cricket, as has been visible from the countless records he has broken and scripted. He has been the backbone of Pakistan cricket in the last five years and continues to remain so to date.
Haris – With Shaheen missing out on the Asia Cup because of injury, Haris will headline the pace bowling duties for Pakistan. Shaheen missing out was a huge setback for Pakistan, but they can count on the experience of Haris to bowl them out of trouble. He was very impressive in last year’s World Cup and will look to continue in a similar vein.
(Photo – Cricket fans, with their faces painted in the Indian and Pakistani national flag colours, pose for a picture ahead of the first match between India and Pakistan in Twenty20 World Cup super 12 stage in Dubai, in Ahmedabad, India, October 23, 2021. REUTERS/Amit Dave TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RC2MFQ9CKGNI)