After a disappointing test series in England where India faced a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of The Three Lions, our Men in Blue are all set to make a strong comeback as they will be vying for the seventh Asia Cup title this year in the United Arab Emirates.
The Unimoni Asia Cup 2018 is slated from September 15 to 28 in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Global financial services company Unimoni has come on board as the title sponsor of Asia’s most coveted six-nation men’s cricket tournament.
Asia Cup 2018 is back to its most conventional mode i.e. One-Day Internationals this time. The inaugural edition of the Asia Cup in T20 format was hosted by Bangladesh in 2016.
The tournament will feature six teams including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan as well as Hong Kong that has booked their berth via the recently concluded Asia Cup in Malaysia.
The teams have been divided into two groups equally. India, Pakistan and Hong Kong are in Group A, whereas Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan are in Group B.
This year, Asia Cup first round will be on a round-robin basis, from where the top four teams will qualify for the Super Four round. The Super Four round teams will play against each other once to decide the finalists.
The fans this time will miss Virat Kohli as the Indian skipper has been rested for the tournament. Rohit Sharma will lead Team India in his absence along with Shikhar Dhawan as vice-captain.
With just even day left for Asia Cup 2018 in UAE, let us take a look at some interesting facts and figures from the previous editions of the 34-year-old cricket tournament.
- The inaugural edition of the Asia Cup was organised in 1984. India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan participated in the tournament with UAE as hosts.
- Out of 13 editions of Asia Cup played till date, Indian has won the record six titles followed by Sri Lanka who have won it 5 times. Pakistan has won the tournament twice.
- Bangladesh have hosted the maximum number of Asia Cups – 5.
- Till 2014, it was played in the 50 overs format. In 2015 it was decided that henceforth the format would be alternately rotated between ODI & T20 every two years.
- Bangladesh hosted the first T20 edition in 2016.
- Sri Lanka is the only team to play in all the 13 editions of the tournament. India, Pakistan & Bangladesh have appeared in the tournament 12 times each. Other Asian teams to play in the tournament are UAE (thrice), Hong Kong (twice) & Afghanistan (once).
- Sanath Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka is the tournament’s leading run scorer with 1196 runs from 25 matches.
- Jayasuriya also holds the record the most runs scored in a single edition – 378 runs scored in 2008.
- Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for the most runs scored by an Indian in Asia Cup – 944 runs.
- Virat Kohli holds the record for the highest individual runs scored in a single inning – 183 runs against Pakistan in 2012.
- Another Sri Lankan Ajantha Mendis holds the record for the most wickets taken in a single edition – 17 wickets in 2008.
- Jayasuriya has scored the maximum number of centuries in the tournament – 6 from 23 matches.
- Kumar Sangakkara has cored the maximum number of half-centuries – 8 from 24 matches.
- Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi holds the record for the highest strike rate – 139.79 from 27 matches.
- The first wicket partnership of 224 runs between Mohd. Hafeez & Nasir Jamshed of Pakistan vs India in 2012, is the record for the highest partnership in the tournament.
- Sanath Jayasuria has the most number of fours to his name (139 from 23 matches) whereas Shahid Afridi holds the record for most number of sixes (26 from 27 matches).
- Sri Lanks’s Muttiah Muralitharan is the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 30 wickets from 24 matches.
- Lasith Malinga of Sri Lanka holds the record for the most 5 wicket hauls in an innings – 3.
- 6/13 by Ajantha Mendis vs India in 2008, is the best bowling performance in Asia Cup.
- 36 dismissals (27 caught, 9 stumpings) by Kumar Sangakkara is the highest by any wicketkeeper in the tournament.
- The record for most number of catches in Asia Cup is held by Mahela Jayawardene – 15.
- Pakistan’s 385/7 against Bangladesh in 2010 is the highest team score in Asia Cup.
- Bangladesh’s 87 all out against Pakistan in 2000 is the lowest team score of the tournament.
- Mohd. Azharuddin & Marvan Attapattu are the only two players who have got 2 Man of the Match award in the final of the tournament