Here’s a handy guide to the six-nation cricket tournament in the UAE

The 2018 Asia Cup gets under way in Abu Dhabi and Dubai from September 15 to 28. The 50-over tournament features six teams. Here’s all you need to know about the tournament:

Who are the participating teams and what is the format?

The six participating teams are India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Hong Kong. The teams are split into two groups. Group A consists of India, Pakistan and Hong Kong while Group B has Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Each team plays the other in the same group once. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the second stage, called the Super Four.

The four teams in this stage will play each other once. The top two will qualify for the final in Dubai on September 28.

The tournament reverts to the 50-over format. The previous edition, in 2016, was played as a Twenty20 tournament, in order to prepare the teams for the ICC World T20 that followed after the tournament. This time though the change in the format should help the teams (save for Hong Kong) prepare for the 50-over World Cup in England next year.

What happened at the qualifying tournament?

With India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan having sealed their spots, for the sixth spot, the 2018 Asia Cup Qualifier tournament was held in Malaysia from August 29 to September 6, 2018. The participating teams were Hong Kong, UAE, Malaysia, Oman, Nepal, Malaysia and Singapore. UAE topped the group with 8 points while Hong Kong came second. The two teams qualified for the final.

Rain reduced the final to 24 overs a side. UAE managed 176 for 9 batting first. Hong Kong sneaked through by two wickets in the final over to seal their qualification for the main tournament.

What is the status of Hong Kong’s matches?

Hong Kong doesn’t have official one-day international status. The team had earlier lost its ODI status after finishing poorly in the (50-over) World Cup Qualifiers earlier this year. However, the ICC has confirmed that all of Hong Kong’s matches in the 2018 Asia Cup will be recognised as official one-day internationals.

What is India and Pakistan’s head-to-head record in the Asia Cup?

Since the tournament’s inception in 1984, India and Pakistan have played each other 12 times, with India winning 6 (5 ODIs plus 1 T20) and losing 5. In the 2018 edition, there is the prospect of the two sides meeting up to three times, first in the group stage, at the Super Four and the final, should they finish in the top two.


Group Stage

September 15: Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka

September 16: Pakistan vs Hong Kong

September 17: Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan

September 18: India vs Hong Kong

September 19: India vs Pakistan

September 20: Bangladesh vs Afghanistan

Super Four

September 21: Group A winner vs Group B runner-up

September 21: Group B winner vs Group A runner-up

September 23: Group A winner vs Group A runner-up

September 23: Group B Winner vs Group B runner-up

September 25: Group A winner vs Group B winner

September 26: Group A runner-up vs Group B runner-up

September 28: Final

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