The opening date of the highly anticipated 2023 Asia Cup has undergone a change, as the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) announced that the tournament will now kick off on August 29 instead of August 30. This alteration sets the stage for a riveting clash between traditional rivals Pakistan and India on September 2, to be held in the picturesque city of Kandy, Sri Lanka.
According to ESPNcricinfo, the tournament will commence in Multan with hosts Pakistan facing Nepal in an exciting encounter. The summit clash is slated to take place in Colombo on September 17, marking the pinnacle of the tournament. Follow your favourite cricket team with attractive betting odds from Nextbet.
The draft schedule, which has recently surfaced, contains these enthralling fixtures but is expected to undergo further modifications before the ACC finalizes the official schedule. The hosting board, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), had initially prepared the draft schedule. However, due to the adoption of the hybrid concept by the ACC, which entails hosting the tournament in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, several changes had to be made to the original plan.
Thirteen thrilling matches are set to grace the tournament, with all of them scheduled to commence at 1 p.m. according to Pakistan Standard Time, and 1.30 p.m. as per Sri Lanka and Indian Standard Time. The participating teams have been divided into two groups: Group A consists of Pakistan, India, and Nepal, while Group B comprises Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. The top two teams from each group will progress to the Super Four round, where the battle for a spot in the championship game intensifies. Ultimately, the top two teams from the Super Four stage will vie for the coveted title.
Notably, five out of the six nations participating in the 50-over Asia Cup, excluding Nepal, are using the tournament as valuable preparation for the forthcoming ODI World Cup, which is scheduled to commence on October 5 in India. This adds an extra layer of significance and intensity to the matches, as teams strive to fine-tune their strategies and gain momentum leading up to the global spectacle.
Initially, the PCB had devised a plan to host all four of Pakistan’s matches in a single city. However, with the new management, spearheaded by chairman Zaka Ashraf, assuming control earlier this month, the decision was made to include Multan as the second host city. As per the draft schedule, Lahore is slated to host three matches and one Super Four game, while Multan will exclusively host the opening game of the tournament, setting the stage for an exciting start.
The draft schedule also reveals intriguing matchups. Afghanistan and Bangladesh are slated to clash on September 3 in Lahore, followed by a clash between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan on September 5 at the iconic Gaddafi Stadium. It is important to note that regardless of their performance in the first round, Pakistan and India will retain their designations as A1 and A2, respectively, while Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will remain B1 and B2, respectively.
Should Nepal or Afghanistan advance to the Super Four stage, they will replace the eliminated team in their respective groups. This means that either Pakistan or India in Group A, or Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Group B, could face a new challenge from one of these two nations.
Among the Super Four fixtures mentioned in the draft schedule, the clash between A1 and B2 on September 6 will be the only match held in Pakistan. Moreover, if both India and Pakistan secure spots in the Super Four stage, the two arch-rivals will face off once again on September 10 in Kandy, undoubtedly raising the excitement levels for cricket enthusiasts worldwide. Get the latest updates from the world of cricket only on Nextbet Sports.