The PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) has finally announced the much-awaited Asia Cup 2023 schedule. Pakistan to take on Nepal in an opening match at Multan. The arch-rivals India vs Pakistan will lock horns against each other on September 02 at Kandy.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) managing Committee Chairman Zaka Ashraf announced the Asia Cup 2023 schedule on Wednesday (July 19) at a hotel in the presence of Advisor to Chief Minister Punjab Wahab Riaz, former captains Waqar Younis, Mohammad Hafeez, Abdur Rehman and officials of the PCB. India, Pakistan, and Nepal constitute Group A, while Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan form Group B.
Multan to host the tournament opener, Sri Lanka will host the major chunk of the tournament
4 venues in two different countries (Pakistan and Sri Lanka) will host the Asia Cup 2023. Pakistan will host 4 games in their country as Multan will be the venue for the tournament opener (Pakistan vs Nepal. Only one game will be played in Multan, while Lahore will host the other 3 games in Pakistan.
Asia Cup 2023 will feature a total of 13 games, including the Final. Sri Lanka will host the remaining 9 games, while Pakistan will retain its hosting rights.
A Homecoming for Pakistan Cricket Team in Asia Cup 2023
After a long wait of 15 overs, the Asia Cup is making its return to Pakistan. Pakistan had previously hosted the Asia Cup only once, in 2008.
Sri Lanka won that tournament by beating Team India in the final by 100 runs. A Mendis becomes the player of the match for his 6 for 13.
Now, again Pakistan will be delighted to host the ACC Asia Cup 2023 this time around. Although only 4 games will be played in Pakistan, but it will be a huge boost for Pakistan Cricket Team fans. Multan fans will see their team playing a multi-national tournament for the first time since 1994. Lahore will host the other 3 games in Pakistan, including one game of Super 4.
Pakistan vs Nepal – The tournament opener
The host country Pakistan will start the tournament on August 30 against Nepal Cricket Team in a tournament opener. It will be a dress rehearsal for Pakistan Cricket Team before they fly to Kandy, Sri Lanka to face the arch-rival India on September 02.
Pakistan Cricket Team has never played against Nepal Cricket Team in international cricket. This will be the first time that both countries will lock horns in international cricket.
A debut for Nepal Cricket Team in Asia Cup 2023
This is the first time that the Nepal Cricket Team will be playing in the Asia Cup 2023. They qualified for the tournament after winning the 2023 ACC Men’s Premier Cup. Now, they will play in the Asia Cup for the first time. They will play their first game against Pakistan on August 30.
Growth of Nepal as a Cricketing Nation
It will be a major boost for Nepal Cricket Team as it will help in the diversification of the game in the country. The youngsters will be inspired to play the game of cricket in the country and the reach of the game will enhance. We have already seen Sandeep Lamichhane getting recognition in world cricket. He also went on to play in the IPL (Indian Premier League) and also in a few other T20 leagues like BBL, CPL, etc.
The participation of Nepal in Asia Cup 2023 will inspire others and Nepal will grow as a cricketing nation. Although it will be very difficult for Nepal to beat India and Pakistan; it will help them to get the exposure of playing against big cricketing nations. And you never know, maybe on a given day, they will make an upset.
Pakistan Cricket Team’s history in the Asia Cup
Pakistan has won the Asia Cup twice in its history. The first time in 2000 and the other in 2012 (both in ODI format). Last time in 2022, Pakistan reached the final of the Asia Cup but lost to Sri Lanka in the final. It was a T20 format.
But Pakistan will look to go one step further this time. The tournament will be played in ODI format considering the ICC ODI World Cup this year.
So the main thing is Pakistan will start the tournament against Nepal on August 30 in Multan. They will look to start the Asia Cup 2023 campaign with a win. On the other hand, Nepal will also look to register their first win as they will come into the tournament with the confidence of winning the ACC Emerging Premier Cup 2023. They beat UAE in the final by 7 wickets while chasing a small total of 118. But it will be difficult against a big team like Pakistan.
Let’s see what happens in the tournament opener. What do you think? Will Nepal make an upset? Or it will be a cakewalk for Pakistan? Comment down your predictions below in the comment section.
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