What is the Asia Cup? 2022 T20i cricket tournament could have seen India play Pakistan 3 times (but didn't)

Sri Lanka schooled India so the script has been flipped and the final is now Pakistan vs Sri Lanka

What is the Asia Cup?
(Image credit: Getty)

The Asia Cup – the DP World Asia Cup, to give it its full name – is a Twenty20 international (T20i) cricket tournament that takes place annually between six Asian cricketing nations. The Asia Cup takes place in Dubai, and the lineup is always five ICC Full Member nations: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, plus one qualifier. The Full Members gained automatic entry into the 2022 Asia Cup. The one 'lucky' qualifier this time out? Plucky Hong Kong, who were promptly thrashed by India and absolutely destroyed by Pakistan. It's tough being a minnow in world cricket. 

We've got a guide to how to watch the Asia Cup in the UK and anywhere else in the world. That includes the Asia Cup final 2022, which takes place on Sunday September 11. Speaking of which, here's how to watch Pakistan vs Sri Lanka!

When is the Asia Cup 2022?

The Asia Cup 2022 takes place in August and September of 2022, starting on 28 August and finishing with the final on 11 September – that's this Sunday and in all probability it will now be Sri Lanka vs Pakistan.

The popular choice of broadcasters, neutrals and the people of India and Pakistan was an IND PAK final. And they would have got away with it too, if it hadn’t been for them pesky kids from Sri Lanka. The formerly unfancied SL have now reeled off 3 textbook T20i run chases on the bounce, culminating in a hugely impressive win over India with one ball to spare. Party poopers. Pakistan are the other finalists, having seen off India at the Super 4 stage and narrowly beaten Afghanistan in another thriller.

What is the format of the Asia Cup?

The exciting thing about the Asia Cup this year was that it really maximised the potential for IND PAK matches. The format is simple: there are two groups of three teams. In each group, the three teams play each other once. The top two teams from each group then enter the 'Super 4'. Again, all four play each other once, with the top two teams then contesting the Asia Cup final on Sunday September 11 2022.

India and Pakistan were both in the same group, and have now played in the Super 4. As I’ve now mentioned about 7 times, Ind/PAK fans, and most neutrals were hoping they’d then both make the final. Politics means that IND PAK cricket matches are all too rare, so having two in a fortnight was quite a treat for players and spectators alike. But there is now no chance of a third.

Who are favourites to win Asia Cup 2022?

As the ICC’s number one ranked T20 side in the world and winners of the last two Asia Cups, India were favourites to win the Asia Cup 2022. But T20 is an unpredictable game and in the Super 4 stage they have lost to Pakistan and Sri Lanka, with just one ball to spare on both occasions. 

Sri Lanka have no big stars but I doubt they fear anyone at this point. Even so, PAK must now be most punters’ fancied team. They boast the two top-ranked T20I batsmen in the world in Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan – the latter is the tournament's top scorer so far, yet he's barely gotten out of third gear. 

Afghanistan have the talent to beat anyone on a good day, and in the unlikely event they beat Pakistan and India, we’ll have a SL AFG final. Nobody sane will have predicted that, I suspect. SL PAK is a much more likely final. 

A coin may prove to be the real winner though. So far at the Asia Cup – aside from the matches involving Hong Kong, who were way out of their depth – every single game thus far has been won by the team who won the toss and elected to bat second. Statistics suggest in general, teams that bat second in T20 cricket are more likely to win. In Dubai, batting second has so far meant certain victory, although the margins have become increasingly narrow.

The great news for neutrals is this imbalance means the team batting first is all but obliged to try to score at nine or 10 per over, if they are to have any chance, and to bowl either ferociously or very cannily in the second innings.

What teams are in the Asia Cup 2022?

India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Hong Kong are the six nations taking part in the Asia Cup 2022. Hong Kong qualified for the Asia Cup 2022 after beating Singapore, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates in a qualifying tournament.

To win that tournament is one thing, to compete at the Asia Cup is quite another - Hong Kong was drawn in a group with India and Pakistan, and promptly lost to both, including an absolute drubbing by Pakistan, who bowled them out for just 38 runs in 10 overs.

Where is the Asia Cup 2022 taking place?

The Asia Cup 2022 is taking place in the United Arab Emirates. This tournament was originally scheduled to take place in September 2020, but was postponed for two years in a row because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ACC announced that Sri Lanka would host the tournament in 2022 (as it was scheduled to host in 2021), however, Sri Lanka decided it could not host the tournament because of the ongoing political and economic crisis in the country. As a result, the Asia Cup 2022 was relocated to the UAE. But as the Village People once observed, it's fun to stay at the UAE. You can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal, you can do whatever you feel.

Pete started his fledging journalistic career covering lifestyle tech and video games for T3, before a brief sojourn in food turned into a full time career as a chef, recipe developer and editor with the likes of Great British Chefs, BBC Food and SquareMeal. Over a decade later he has come full circle, putting kitchen tech and appliances through rigorous testing for T3 once again, and eating a quite intense number of omelettes whilst testing non-stick pans. In his spare time Pete loves nothing more than squashing his size 11 feet into tiny shoes and going climbing. He also dabbles in cricket writing from time to time, and is certainly a man who knows his leg from his wicket.

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