The 16th edition of the Asia Cup is all set to kick off from August 30, with top teams from the subcontinent competing for the trophy. The Asia Cup 2023 will be played in the fifty-over format, offering a great platform for the teams to assess themselves ahead of the ODI World Cup.
Sri Lanka head into the tournament as the defending champions, having won the twenty-over competition last year. The event, co-hosted by Sri Lanka and Pakistan, will begin on August 30 and conclude on September 17.
The Asia Cup 2023 will feature six teams – Afghanistan, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh along with Nepal, who will make their first appearance. Group A comprises India, Pakistan and Nepal while Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh form Group B. The top two teams from each group will advance through to Super 4, where they will play each other twice. The top two sides from Super 4 will play the final at Colombo.
Before the tournament begins, let’s take a look at the favourites and key players to watch out for in the Asia Cup 2023.
- India, who are favourites to win the World Cup, are naturally favourites to win the Asia Cup at 2.05. They have a quality and versatile bowling unit, strengthened by Jasprit Bumrah’s return. India have a formidable batting unit as well.
- Pakistan have a potent pace bowling attack with the likes of Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf. The lack of quality in the spin department can be an issue. They have a pretty good batting line-up and are second favourites to win the Asia Cup at 3.00.
Our pick: India to win the Asia Cup 2023 at 4.50
Bangladesh have been a pretty decent ODI side in recent years. In the subcontinent conditions, where their spinners can make a difference, they have a better chance of competing against the top sides. Bangladesh have 11.00 odds of winning the Asia Cup tournament.
Shubman Gill has had a rough time in the last month but he has great numbers in fifty-over cricket this year. The opening batter has scored 659 runs in the last 10 games at an average of 73 while striking at 107. Gill has smashed three hundreds and two fifties in the format this year.
Imam-ul-Haq is one of the best performing players for Pakistan in this format. He’s excellent against spin and that makes him a key in this tournament. The left-hand batter has 2871 runs from 61 ODIs at an average of 52 and strike rate of 82, including nine hundreds. Imam has scored 848 runs since the start of 2022 at an average of 60.
Shakib Al Hasan is one of the best players in the world and has immense all-round value in the subcontinent conditions. He has amassed over 7000 runs in the fifty-over format at an average of 37 with nine centuries. The left arm spinner has also taken 303 wickets at an economy of 4.44.
Asia Cup 2023 Match Previews
Pakistan v Nepal
The Asia Cup 2023 will kick off with the clash between Pakistan and Nepal in Multan on August 30. The pitches at Multan are generally flat and the average first innings score reads 254 from 10 ODIs. Expect the team winning the toss to bat first. Pakistan are a significantly stronger unit and have odds of 1.03 to win the game.
Sri Lanka v Bangladesh
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh face off in the second game at Pallekele on August 31. The pitch generally favours spin bowlers and the average batting first score stands at 250 from 36 ODIs. Sri Lanka head into the match as favourites with odds of 1.78 to win the match.
India v Pakistan
The third match of the Asia Cup 2023 will witness the arch rivals India and Pakistan clash at Pallekele on September 2nd. The average first innings score at the venue reads 250, with the team batting second winning 20 out of 36 games. Expect the team winning the toss to bowl first. India hold an edge and have odds of 1.89 to win the game.