It’s one of the most prestigious cricket tournaments around and this is a comprehensive guide to the Asia Cup.
Cricket has always been hugely popular in Asia and the continent has produced some of the best teams and individual players in the sport. The idea for the Asia Cup took hold in 1983 when the Asian Cricket Council decided to implement a tournament that would promote goodwill between the countries involved.
It was originally intended to take place every two years, but that hasn’t always been the case due to issues with cricket scheduling around the world. Since the advent of T20 cricket, the Asia Cup has alternated between an ODI and a T20i competition.
This is the only cross-continental event within the game and the winners are crowned as the Champions of Asia.
The format has changed a little over the years but this is the structure of the World Cup as used for the 2022 tournament in the UAE.
Group Stage Format
Six teams take part in the group stages of the Asia Cup. Each side within that section will play each other once. At the end of that sequence, the two best performing countries in each group will progress to the Super Fours.
Super Four Format
All four qualified teams go into the Super Fours and they will play each other once. At the conclusion of those matches, the best two sides go straight into the final.
Asia Cup Teams
The biggest five teams in Asia automatically qualify for the Asia Cup. They are:
- Sri Lanka
There is one more place up for grabs and this is decided by a qualifier. In 2022, Hong Kong came through to complete the list after fighting off Kuwait, Singapore and the UAE.
How Many Teams Qualify for the World Cup from Asia?
Unlike other sports such as football, there are no restrictions on where teams come from at the Cricket World Cup. The best performing teams from previous tournaments will proceed directly to the next World Cup.
There will be additional places up for grabs and these will be decided by a series of qualifiers. Once again, these are not regional so it could be the case that we will see at least five teams from Asia at the Cricket World Cup.
How Many Times has India Won the Asia Cup?
Using statistics up to and including the 2018 tournament, India has won the Asia Cup on seven separate occasions. Their first victory came in the inaugural edition back in 1984 while India’s most recent triumph, at the time of writing, came in that 2018 competition in the UAE.
This tally makes India the most successful team in Asia Cup history to date.
Asia Cup Cricket Winners List
The 1984 Asia Cup was won by India. Only three teams took part in this competition and there was no final.
Instead, India won the competition by virtue of the fact that they came top at the end of a group phase which also included Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The 1986 Asia Cup was the first to feature a final which Sri Lanka won after defeating Pakistan by five wickets.
India did not take part in this tournament and their place was taken by Bangladesh.
India returned in 1988 and, with Bangladesh retaining their place in the tournament, the Asia Cup was expanded to four teams.
India would go on to win the competition, beating Sri Lanka by six wickets in the final.
The next edition of the Asia Cup crossed 1990 and 1991. The same four teams took part and India would claim their third title.
It was another comfortable victory in the final as India chased down Sri Lanka’s target of 205 with seven wickets and nearly three overs to spare.
India won again in 1995 when the Asia Cup was held in the UAE. Once again, Sri Lanka were the beaten finalists as India cruised to victory in the final by eight wickets with almost eight overs to spare.
Sri Lanka earned an overdue revenge at the 1997 Asia Cup when they defeated India in the final. The Sri Lankans were world champions at that point and had become known for their aggressive ODI cricket.
The approach paid off as they chased down India’s target of 240 for the loss of two wickets and with more than 13 overs left.
A new name was on the trophy in 2000 as Pakistan claimed their first title. Pakistan batted first in the final and posted a solid total of 277.
In reply, Sri Lanka fell 39 runs short as they were dismissed for 238 despite Marvin Atapattu’s century – the first in an Asia Cup final.
Sri Lanka continued an impressive run with victory in the 2004 Asia Cup final. History was made in this tournament as Hong Kong and the UAE joined up to take the list of participants to six.
Sri Lanka came through after defeating India by 25 runs in the final.
It was Sri Lanka again in 2008 and, once again, India were the runners up. In the final, a brilliant 125 from Sanath Jayasuriya set up victory by a huge margin of 100 runs.
India were back to the top of the three at the 2010 Asia Cup. An impressive total of 268/6 in the final was too much for Sri Lanka who were dismissed for 187 to lose by 81 runs.
Pakistan won their second Asia Cup title and their winning margin in the final was the shortest in terms of runs.
Batting first, Pakistan made 236/9 while Bangladesh fell two runs short at 234/8.
Sri Lanka came through in 2014 with a five wicket win in the final.
The game was notable as it produced two centurions: Fawad Alam passed three figures for Pakistan but Lahiru Thirimanne guided the run chase with 101 from 108 balls.
History was made in 2016 as the Asia Cup adopted a T20 format for the very first time. Five teams were in contention as India came through to claim their sixth title, beating Bangladesh by eight wickets in the final.
India were triumphant once again as the Asia Cup returned to an ODI format in 2018. The competition also returned to its six-team schedule.
In the final, a thrilling finish saw India beat Bangladesh by three wickets from the very last ball of the match.
Which Country Will Host the 2023 Cricket Asia Cup?
The 2023 edition of the Asia Cup will be hosted by Pakistan. This marks a significant milestone for the country as international cricket starts to return here.
Another exciting development includes a proposed expansion which will see eight teams play in the final stages for the first time.
They are such strong cricket nations that the Asia Cup is a must watch, no matter where you happen to be in the world.
Whether it’s T20 or ODI, you can be sure of some thrilling cricket, and it’s great to see some planned expansion for this thrilling tournament.