Asia Cup 2023 to kick off on August 30; India-Pakistan on September 2 in Kandy

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The 2023 Asia Cup will kick off in Multan with Pakistan taking on Nepal on August 30, a day earlier than originally planned by the Asian Cricket Council. The first-round Pakistan-India game will be played in Kandy on September 2, and if both teams make it to the Super 4s, the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo will be the host for that game.

Lahore is the other venue in Pakistan that will host the matches. The final is scheduled in Colombo on September 17, with the provision of a reserve day.

The original draft schedule, prepared by the PCB (the hosting board), went through 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.

As per the original draft, Pakistan were meant to host four matches in just one city. However, Multan was added as the second venue after a new PCB administration, under new chairman Zaka Ashraf, took over this month.

In all, 13 matches will be played in the tournament across four venues. Pakistan are grouped with India and Nepal in Group A while Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are in Group B. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super 4s with the top two teams in this phase advancing to the final. The Asia Cup, which will be played in the 50-overs format this time, is essentially a preparation run for five of the six teams – barring Nepal – for the ODI World Cup, which begins on October 5 in India.

Bangladesh are slotted to play Afghanistan on September 3 in Lahore followed by Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan at the Gaddafi Stadium on September 5. 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. In case Nepal and Afghanistan qualify for the Super 4s, they will take the slot of the team knocked out (Pakistan or India in Group A, and Sri Lanka or Bangladesh in Group B).

The only Super 4s match listed to be played in Pakistan is on September 6 in Lahore, between A1 and B2.

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