So far in the Asia Cup there have been six matches played in total, and there has already been some incredible action.
India currently lead the way with two wins from their opening two matches, whilst the hosts Bangladesh follow them in second place having won two of their three matches. Next up is Sri Lanka followed by Pakistan who lost their opening game to India on Saturday. The 5th placed team is minnows United Arab Emirates who have lost both of their opening two matches.
The opening game of the tournament saw India come up against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium. The hosts won the toss and elected to field first against a strong looking Indian side. India lost two quick wickets as both Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli fell to leave India struggling at 22-2. The innings was largely built around opener Rohit Sharma who made a fabulous 83 from 55 balls, and there was useful knock from Hardik Pandya who hit 31 from just 18 balls to help India reach a competitive score of 166-6 from their 20 overs.
It was then the hosts turn to bat and like India they were in early trouble as they slipped to 15-2 in just the fourth opener. Sabbir Rahman made a more than useful 44 from 32 balls but nobody could stay with him and they all kept getting in and then getting out. India was led by Ashish Nehra who took impressive figures of 3-23 to help bowl out the hosts for just 121.
The second match saw Sri Lanka come up against the UAE, it was the United Arab Emirates won the toss and elected to field. It didn’t look to be a very good decision initially as the Sri Lankan’s raced to 68 after only over overs, but then came the trouble as they lost eight wickets in nine overs for just 61 runs as they collapsed to 129 at the end of their 20 overs. The stand out performance with the bat came from opener Dinesh Chandimal who scored a magnificent 50.
Although they were a small cricketing nation the UAE felt that they had a genuine chance of pulling off a victory. The chase started off horribly as they slipped to 35-5 after just eight oversm and the game was all but gone. There was a little resistance in the middle order as Swapnil Patil made a useful 37, but once he was out the match was virtually over. The UAE did bat their overs out but were narrow losers in the end by 14 runs.
The next match saw an encounter between two teams who had already lost in the competition Bangladesh and the UAE, so this match was pivotal. It was the UAE who once more won the toss and they again choose to field. The hosts got off to a decent of enough start as they reached 46 before losing their first wicket in the sixth over. The innings was largely built around Mohammad Mithun who made 46 at the top of the order as well as Mahmudullah who made unbeaten 36 to propel the hosts to a competitive score of 133-8 from their 20 overs.
Once again the UAE would of fancied their chances heading into the chase. Like the previous game they couldn’t get off to a very good start as they slipped to 55-8 in the 15th over and the match was all but finished at this point as only Muhammad Usman made it past 20. They were up against some mightily impressive bowling as the hosts bowlers all stepped up to the mark when it was needed most. The UAE held up a little resistance but, were eventually all out with two and half overs remaining for just 82 to all but end their stay at the Asia Cup.
The fourth match was between Pakistan and India and looked like being an absolute cracker, but it didn’t turn out this way. In what was Pakistan’s first match of the tournament it was India who won the toss and elected field first. Like many of the other matches the team who batted first struggled to get going and Pakistan were in trouble early as they fell to 52-7 in the 12th over and looked like struggling to pass the 100 mark. The wickets continued to tumble and they were bowled out in the 18th over for just 83. The only positive for Pakistan came from Sarfraz Ahmed as he top scored in the innings with a run a ball 25.
India looked to be in trouble early on as they were reduced to just 8-3 after three overs and this gave Pakistan a real chance of victory. However a brilliant partnership from a patient Y Singh and Kohli took India to a a deserved victory by five wickets with four and a half overs remaining. The Pakistan bowlers gave it their all with the ball, but it proved to not be enough as the experience of the Indian batsmen shun through getting a decent win.
The next match of the competition provided the shock of the Asia Cup saw far as Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka by 23 runs. It was the hosts who won the toss and decided to bat first. Bangladesh got off to a horrible start as they were reduced to 2-2 from one and a half overs, but then came the fightback as Sabbir Rahman (80) and Shakib Al Hasan (32) rebuilt the innings for the hosts and built a real platform for the others. Although there was a wobble towards the end the hosts did manage to post a competitive score of 147-7 from their 20 overs to put them in with a real chance of getting a victory.
Sri Lanka were always on track in the chase in terms of the run-rate, but lost wickets far to frequently and were always under the pressure of scoreboard pressure. A number of the Sri Lankan batsmen got in and were playing well including Jayasuriya who scored 26 at a strike rate of 126. None of the players who made starts could kick on and score that match winning innings which was needed in the situation. They kept going right up to the last ball, but they fell short on 124-8 from their 20 overs to fall to a disappointing loss to Bangladesh.
The most recent match to be played in the competition saw the UAE come up against Pakistan. For their third match in a row the UAE won the toss and elected to bat on this occasion. The innings didn’t get off to the greatest of starts as they slipped to 72-5 in the 14th over and had been on the receiving end of a superb spell from Mohammad Amir who had figures of 1-6 from his four overs. There was a resistance from the lower order as Anwar, Usman and Naveed all passed 20 to help their side 129-6 from their 20 overs.
Like the UAE, Pakistan got off to an awful start as they were reduced to 17-3 in the 4th over and they looked like slipping to another loss. However, Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik had other ideas as they put on an unbeaten fourth wicket partnership of 114 to take them to a much needed win after losing the first match to India. You feel without those two innings that Pakistan would of tasted defeat in this one and aren’t looking at their best in this form of the game. The UAE gave a good fight in this game, but their Asia Cup is now over and now must prepare for their final fixture against tournament favourites India on Thursday.