Asian cricket giants India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will have one last chance to compete before the 50-man World Cup in October, when the Asian Cup opens on Wednesday.
Strong rivals India and Pakistan could face each other up to three times if they go all the way in the Six Nations Continental Championship. Pakistan and Sri Lanka are co-hosts, a hybrid model that was agreed upon after World Cup hosts India refused to travel to Pakistan, with the final scheduled for September 17 in Colombo.
Babar Azam’s Pakistan, who became the world’s top ranked ODI team after their 3-0 win over Afghanistan last week, will open their home campaign on Wednesday against Asian Cup debutant Nepal, in Multan. Azam, who scored 113 points in the Afghanistan Series, led a team with a quick three-bowl strike with Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and HarisRauf.
World Cup hosts India, led by Rohit Sharma, will open the campaign against Pakistan in a highly anticipated clash at Pallekele on Saturday. India and Pakistan, two teams that have only faced each other in international tournaments due to prolonged political tensions between the two countries, will meet again in the Super Four stage and possibly face each other for the third time in the final.
“It’s not just Pakistan, there are other teams,” Rohit said of the hype surrounding the clash in Pakistan, when the opponents will also face off in the 50-man World Cup in Ahmedabad on October 14. “Sri Lanka won the Asian Cup last year. So there are other teams that play good cricket that will challenge us. –INP