Asia Cup 2023 : India to lock horns with Pakistan on September 2 in Kandy

In case, both India and Pakistan qualify for the Super Four, they will take on each other once again on September 9 in Kandy

The Asian Cricket Council’s flagship Men’s Asia Cup 2023 will kick off a day earlier than planned, commencing on August 30. According to ESPN Cricinfo, the marquee India-Pakistan clash will be played on September 2 in Kandy, whereas the tournament opener between Pakistan and Nepal will occur in Multan. 

The BCCI’s refusal to travel to Pakistan was as the primary reason why the tournament moved to a joint-hosting model. Pakistan Cricket Board, then led by Najam Sethi, had initially threatened to withdraw from the ACC and boycott the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023, which is scheduled to be held in India later this year, but a resolution was reached when the BCCI consented to the hybrid model. That ensured that Pakistan could host a few matches in their home country, but Sri Lanka will act as a neutral venue for eight matches.

The tournament will now kick off in Pakistan, with Multan playing host to the tournament opener between Pakistan and Nepal. According to the updated draft schedule set to be ratified by the ACC, the final match of the 50-over continental extravaganza will take place in Colombo on September 17.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf’s insistence resulted in Pakistan getting to host one more game, leading to the inclusion of Multan as a venue. This decision brings the total number of matches in Pakistan to five, with Lahore set to host three league games and one Super Four match.

The ACC’s draft schedule outlines some crucial matchups, including Bangladesh facing Afghanistan on September 3 in Lahore and Sri Lanka taking on Afghanistan at the Gaddafi Stadium on September 5. The tournament structure ensures that regardless of their first-round finish, Pakistan and India will be designated A1 and A2, respectively, while Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will be B1 and B2.

If there are any major upsets, with Nepal and Afghanistan qualifying for the Super Four stage, they will replace the knocked-out team on the roster. Pakistan will host only one Super Four match on September 6, a clash between A1 and B2, and in case, both India and Pakistan qualify for the Super Four, they will take on each other once again on September 9 in Kandy.

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