India, Pakistan, and Nepal will play in Group-A at the Asia Cup Cricket 2023, which is set to start on September 2 and end on September 17. While Pakistan and India joined as the ICC full member, Nepal qualified for the tournament after winning the 2023 ACC Men’s Premier Cup. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will play in Group B. Among the two groups, Group A will surely provide an intense battle as two rivals, India and Pakistan, will compete to become the group champion. That brings a question, will Nepal get any chance? Let’s find out in Group A analysis of the 2023 Asia Cup Cricket tournament.
Analysis of Group A
Unlike Group B, all the focus in Group A will be on the India vs. Pakistan match. As a newcomer and less experienced team, Nepal might not give a good fight against these heavy-weight teams.
India has appeared in 14 Asia Cups since 1984. Among these, 12 appearances were in ODIs, and 2 were T20I Asia Cup. And India is the most successful team in the tournament, as they won 6 ODI tournaments and one T20I. However, India’s last title came in the 2018 Asia Cup, which was the ODI tournament. So far, India played 49 ODIs in Asia Cup and won 31 of them, losing 16 matches. As the ODI World Cup is approaching this year, the tournament will be played in the ODI format.
Read more: Asia Cup Cricket 2023: Analysis of Group B
Analyzing India’s most recent ODI matches, it can be said that India is a strong contender for the 2023 Asia Cup. Although India lost their last ODI series against Australia by 2-1 in March, they have won two series by 3-0 against New Zealand and Sri Lanka. However, before starting the Asia Cup, India will play a series against the West Indies in August. So this will also help them to prepare for the tournament.
In addition to India and Sri Lanka, Pakistan stands as the only other country to have emerged victorious in the Asia Cup cricket tournament. Similar to Sri Lanka and India, Pakistan started their campaign as the continental champions back in 1984.
Since then, they have participated in an impressive 14 out of the 15 editions of the prestigious Asia Cup. Their consistent presence in the tournament reflects their status as a tough cricketing nation in the Asian region. Pakistan played 45 Asia Cup matches in the ODI format and won 26 of them.
In the last two years, Pakistan played several ODI series. Out of their last 4 series, Pakistan won three of them. The most recent series win came against New Zealand, which took place in April- May this year. They won by 4-1, which reflects them as another strong team in the Asia Cup 2023.
Nepal made it to the group stage of the Asia Cup for the first time. Nepal's remarkable journey in cricket continues as they secured their qualification for the Asia Cup by defeating the United Arab Emirates in a thrilling final of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Premier Cup on May 2. In the final match, Nepal showcased their bowling ability, stopping the Emirates team to 117 runs.
Lalit Rajbanshi proved to be the standout performer, claiming an impressive four wickets for just 14 runs. The talented Sandeep Lamichhane also made a significant contribution, taking two wickets for 34 runs in his 10 overs. Chasing the target, Nepal displayed their batting skill, reaching the required total in 19.3 overs. Gulshan Jha emerged as the batting hero, scoring a magnificent 67 runs off 84 balls for the team's victory.
This year has undoubtedly been a momentous one for Nepalese cricket, as they not only secured their qualification for the World Cup qualifiers earlier in the year but also earned their spot in the prestigious Asia Cup.
Who Will Proceed to Super Four from Group A?
It is clear that India and Pakistan will surely advance to the Super Four as the other opponent Nepal has less experience. Although Nepal has been doing well recently, they are yet to play a big team like India and Pakistan.
India, being the champions of the inaugural edition, holds the record of being the most successful team in the Asia Cup. Since the inception of the tournament, a total of 15 editions have taken place, showcasing thrilling battles among Asian cricketing nations. The tournament format expanded to include the T20I format in 2016, adding an additional layer of excitement to the competition. Now, it is time to see the years-old rivalry between India and Pakistan in Asia Cup Cricket 2023 Group A.