Arch-rivals India and Pakistan are set to square off for the first time since the ICC Champions Trophy. This is because the Asia Cup schedule has just been announced, confirming the date and venue of the clash. The two sides will face off on September 19 in Dubai.
This will also be the first time they played each other in the UAE since 2006. So far, Pakistan have been the dominant force in the UAE, winning 19 matches. The Men in Blue have only triumphed in seven of them.
According to the schedule, Six teams will participate in the Asia Cup. The group stage consists of two groups with Pakistan and India pooled together. They will be joined by another team, determined by a qualifying tournament. This will take place from August 29 to September 6.
The qualifying tournament consists of six teams: Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nepal, Oman and UAE. All six teams will be vying for that one spot alongside India and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the other group features Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The way the tournament works is that each of them square off in a round robin format. After the group stage, two of the 6 will be eliminated. Then, the top two will go through to the final on September 28.
In addition to that, the tournament will also be in the ODI format. Last time around, namely, the 2016 edition, it was a T20I tournament. This served as a precursor to the World T20 a month later. The Indian cricket team emerged triumphant that year.
The 2018 tournament was supposed to be held in India, however political differences with Pakistan put paid to that. So, it was forced it to be held in the UAE. In response, the Emirates Cricket Board will rent out stadiums with India as the “official” hosts. While all matches will be played in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the final will be held in Dubai.