The schedule for the 2018 Asia Cup has been announced and the biennial tournament will begin from September 15 and will be played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Cricket news: India, Pakistan and the qualifier team are clubbed in Group A
The first game will be played in the Dubai International Cricket Stadium between former champions Sri Lanka and two-time runners-up Bangladesh. The final will also be played in Dubai on September 28.
Current champions India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have all secured their direct entries into the tournament.
Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nepal, Oman, Singapore and hosts UAE will fight in the qualifiers to secure the sixth position.
This is the third time UAE is going to host the tournament, the other two times were the inaugural tournament in 1984 and in 1995, and both the times the tournament was played in Sharjah.
Both the times India won the tournament by defeating Sri Lanka. India have won six titles so far while Sri Lanka have won five times and Pakistan have won twice.
The format of the Asia Cup (50 or 20 overs) depends on the preceding World Cup, and this time it will be a 50-over format keeping in mind the 2019 ODI World Cup.
This is the 14th edition of the tournament and the six teams are divided into two groups. India, Pakistan and the qualifier team are in Group A while Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are in Group B. Top two teams from each group will progress and will face each other.
This means that India and Pakistan will play their group game on September 19 in Dubai and after they qualify from the group (which is most likely to happen), will face each other as winners and runners-up of Group A on September 23.
The best two teams which will have the most number of wins in Super 4 stage will progress into the final.
The schedule has also shown that India will be going to play their two group matches on consecutive days (September 18 and 19).