India to open Asia Cup campaign against Pakistan

The Asia Cup is set to witness three potential clashes between arch-rivals India and Pakistan, on September 2 and 10, and possibly in the final on September 17, with certain conditions in place.

Both teams are grouped with lightweights Nepal in their three-team group, making a Super 4 clash on September 10 highly likely, after the Rohit Sharma-led side kick-starts their Asia Cup campaign eight days earlier against the Babar Azam's team. As the two heavyweight teams in the continent, a third encounter between them in the final is a possibility.

The designated venues for the big, significant group and Super 4 clashes are Kandy and Colombo in Sri Lanka. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the nominated host of the six-team championship, has revealed that the event will now have four venues instead of three, as was originally thought of. India's match days are September 4 (vs. Nepal, group stage), September 12 (vs. Sri Lanka/Afghanistan, Super 4), and September 15 (vs. Bangladesh/Afghanistan, Super 4).

Colombo is the second hosting venue in Sri Lanka, with the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo getting to host games. The championship commences in Multan on August 30 with a Pakistan-Nepal clash, and Lahore will host the remaining three games allotted to Pakistan, including a second-round Super 4 match. In total, Sri Lanka will host nine games.

A notable feature of the schedule, revealed by Asian Cricket Council president Jay Shah, is that the tournament will not follow a caravan model, with teams travelling back and forth between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The ACC will arrange both charter and commercial flights for the logistical requirements.

The absence of semifinals means that India's other crucial matches will be on September 12, against Sri Lanka, and September 15, against Bangladesh -- both in the Super 4 stage. There is a possibility that one of these matches could be against Afghanistan if they manage to outperform Sri Lanka or Bangladesh and qualify for the Super 4 round. As mentioned above, India's group-stage game against Nepal is scheduled for September 4 in Kandy.

The Sri Lanka leg of the championship opens on August 31 in Kandy with a match between the home team and Bangladesh. Afghanistan will launch their campaign against Bangladesh in Lahore on September 3, with the hosts Pakistan playing two games at home, one of which could be a potential Super 4 clash against Bangladesh or Afghanistan.

"We are thrilled to announce the highly anticipated Men's ODI Asia Cup 2023, a celebration of cricketing excellence that unites the nations of Asia in the spirit of competition and camaraderie. As president of the Asian Cricket Council, I extend my warmest regards and heartfelt wishes to all participating teams," Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary, said.

Zaka Ashraf, the chair of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) added: "As Event Hosts, the ACC's Asia Cup 2023 schedule announcement provides us absolute clarity on how we will plan and deliver this tournament so that it is enjoyable for the participants and the fans. For Pakistan, it will be the homecoming of the ACC Asia Cup after 15 long years. Our fans have waited for this for a long time and, as such, we look forward to making it bigger and better so that the fans and participants can start counting down days leading up to the ICC Champions Trophy, which Pakistan will host in February 2025."


Group A: India, Pakistan and Nepal

Group B: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan


August 30: Pakistan vs Nepal in Multan

August 31: Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka in Kandy

September 2: Pakistan vs India in Kandy

September 3: Bangladesh vs Afghanistan in Lahore

September 4: India vs Nepal in Kandy

September 5: Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka in Lahore

September 6: Pak/Nepal vs Bangladesh/Afghanistan (Super 4)

September 9: SL/Afg vs Bang/Afg in Colombo (Super 4)

September 10: India/Nep vs Pak/Nep in Colombo (Super 4)

September 12: India/Nep vs SL/Afg in Colombo (Super 4)

September 15: India/Nep vs Ban/Afg in Colombo (Super 4)

September 17: FINAL