Asia Cup draft schedule out; India-Pakistan clash date revealed
India and Pakistan will lock horns in Kandy on September 2 in the group stage encounter of the Asia Cup 2023, the draft schedule of which has been disclosed by ESPNcricinfo. The two great arch-rivals will be meeting at the Pallekele stadium in Sri Lanka for the tournament starting on August 30, a day earlier than originally planned and announced by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).
After an extensive delay, a clear picture seems to have emerged on the Asia Cup schedule with Pakistan hosting Nepal in the opening game of the regional competition in Multan on August 30 and the final of the six-team tournament to be held on September 17 in Colombo.
"Those matches feature in the latest version of the draft schedule which is likely to see further changes before the ACC announces the final version," ESPNcricinfo reported.
"The original draft schedule, prepared by the PCB (the hosting board), has already undergone several iterations mainly because of the six-nation tournament being played in Pakistan and Sri Lanka based on the hybrid model approved by the ACC recently."
Asia Cup schedule: India-Pakistan clash date out
A total of 13 matches will be played in the tournament featuring hosts Pakistan, the acceptance of whose hybrid model meant Sri Lanka came on board as the neutral destination for India games, alongside Bangladesh, Afghanistan and qualified associate rivals Nepal, which has made the men's Asia Cup for the first time in their history.
As expected Pakistan is grouped alongside India and Nepal, while Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are part of the other group. Teams will lock horns with their group rivals once during the first round before top 2 sides from either group will qualify for the Super 4s round. Teams will face each other once during the Super 4s and the top 2 from there will make the final. All matches will be played from 1:00 PM Pakistan Standard Timings, which is a 1:30 PM start in India and Sri Lanka.
Apart from Multan, Kandy and Colombo, Lahore will also be hosting the matches of the Asia Cup 2023, which was a late tweak on Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) originally proposed plan as per the hybrid model. Pakistan will play their only home game of the group stage in Multan but Lahore will play host to the entire non-India group, with Bangladesh playing Afghanistan on September 3 and Sri Lanka then contesting with the new Asian Test members on September 5.
The seedings are also part of the draft schedule: "regardless of where they finish in the first round, Pakistan will remain A1 and India A2 while Sri Lanka will be B1 and Bangladesh B2," ESPNcricinfo report mentioned. "In case Nepal and Afghanistan qualify for the Super Four stage, they will take the slot of the team knocked out (Pakistan or India in Group A and Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Group B)."
Pakistan will host only one of the Super 4s game, anticipated to be in Lahore, which will be played between A1 and team B2 on September 6. India and Pakistan would be in for a rematch on September 10 in Kandy if they qualify for the next round.