The UAE will be the country where Sri Lanka will host the event.
The Asia Cup 2022 will be played in T20 format to provide Asian countries with the best opportunity to prepare for the T20 World Cup in Australia. The tournament is slated to start on August 27 and proceed till September 11, but dates can fluctuate.
The qualifier will take place one week before the main event to decide the sixth team of the competition. Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuwait, and UAE are the four teams. The team winning the qualifier will be the final side participating in the fully-fledged Asia Cup 2022.
UAE and Kuwait progressed from the 2020 ACC Western Region T20 while Singapore and Hong Kong came through the 2020 ACC Eastern Region T20.
India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh are the other five teams that have directly qualified for the main event. The schedule and other details of Asia Cup 2022 are yet to be revealed; however, it is expected that six teams will be divided into two groups. One team from each group will be knocked out, with the other four teams competing for the final.
India has returned as winners seven times while Sri Lanka has won five times. Pakistan has only bagged the title twice, one in 2000 and the other in 2012. Only on one occasion in 2016, Asia Cup was played in the shortest format which was won by India under the leadership of MS Dhoni.
All Eyes On Pakistan, India In Asia Cup 2022
Pakistan and India are the clear favorites to win the competition. The Men in Green will have a fair advantage if the Asia Cup 2022 moves to UAE, as they have played plenty of cricket in the last decade, and are considered as their second home. They have played 42 games, winning 27 and losing 15.
Babar Azam's men were also the only team from Asia to finish in the top four during last year's T20 World Cup played in the Emirates. They won five group matches but lost to Australia by five wickets in the semi-final.
Pakistan is considered a powerhouse in this format and has all the ingredients to win the tournament. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were at the top while Shaheen Shah, Haris Rauf, and Shadab Khan were among the bowling attack. They would have to figure out middle-order batters and veteran Shoaib Malik will likely return.
On the other hand, Indian players also have quite an experience in playing at the UAE venues as the 2020 and a few games of the 2021 IPL season were played there. India didn't have the best of outings during the 2021 T20 World Cup but their strength can't be undermined. Since World Cup, they have been impressive in this format under Rohit Sharma's captaincy and recently defeated England 2-1 at their home.
They are still facing problems over team selection among the batters with former captain Virat Kohli not in the best of form while KL Rahul is also not part of the side due to injury. Having the likes of Deepak Hooda, Ishan Kishan, and Shreyas Iyer, Kohli may find it difficult to cement his place but the Men in Blue would not like to bench Kohli as he holds massive influence due to his stature and the opposition can stay fearful because of his presence.
Sri Lanka can't be labeled as favorite, but they can stun the opposition and end up doing well in the competition. Talents like Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Pathum Nissanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, and Mahesh Theekshana are flourishing in international cricket and the Island nation will be banking on them heavily during the mega event.
All eyes will be on the match between Pakistan and India as the arch-rivals meet occasionally now. It is expected that the neighbors would be placed in the same group to attract eyeballs and make the tournament noteworthy across the cricketing world.
Pakistan and India have faced nine times in the T20 format, with India winning seven. Pakistan won the most recent clash, comfortably outclassing India by ten wickets at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Skipper Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were the heroes with the bat, while Shaheen Shah ripped apart India's top order.
There is a possibility of India and Pakistan meeting again in the super four, so the losing side will have a chance to take revenge.
Dark Horses Of Asia Cup 2022
Bangladesh and Afghanistan can be lethal during the event as they have also caused damage during the previous event. Bangladesh progressed to the final of the 2018 Asia Cup, beating Pakistan in a knock-out game, and playing the final against India.
Bangladeshi fans will be hoping their side provides some happiness as they have not lived up to the expectations since their introduction on the global stage. They have failed to progress in the knock-out stage on numerous stages, however, they would eye to continue their good run in the Asian tournaments. They also qualified in the final of the 2016 Asia Cup which was played for the first time in the T20 format.
Bangladesh will be vying for their experienced campaigners Shakib-al-Hasan, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Mustafizur Rahman to step up and make them win the title for the first time.
Meanwhile, the T20 format suits Afghanistan's style of play and they also have enough experience playing in the UAE conditions. Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi will hold the key for the Afghans during the event while they will be hoping others to step up.
With the tournament getting postponed in the last two years, the fans are eagerly waiting for the Asian juggernauts to settle their feud at Asia Cup 2022.