Asia Cup is a biennial One Day International and T20 tournament played to develop a harmonious relationship between the Asian countries. The tournament is often called Asia’s World Cup involving India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, UAE, Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Oman.
The Dawn of Asia Cup
The first Asia Cup was played in 1984 in Sharjah in UAE (United Arab Emirates). India was the winner of the first edition of Asia Cup.
The second edition was hosted by Sri Lanka in 1986, but due to tension and strained relations India boycotted the Asia Cup. The tournament became a victim of internal Asian politics, Pakistan did not become a part of 1990-91 Asia cup due to dying relationship with India. Things got worse, when the 1993 world cup was cancelled due to a strenuous relationship between India and Pakistan.
After the border dispute between India and Pakistan during the 90’s, the base was shifted back to Sharjah. India and Sri Lanka reached finals and for the third time India kissed the Asia Cup trophy.
Finally, when the political dust settled, the bitter relationships were given a new chance to grow. Asia Cup was held in Sri Lanka for the second time, in which Sri Lanka beat India for the first time in the Asia Cup, winning their second Asia Cup trophy.
Millennium- The Magnificent age of Asia
After the emergence of Asia as a next cricket superpower and an epicenter of World cricket, the match attendance for Asia Cup was more than any other tournament except World Cup. The cricket euphoria made every Asian crazy. The sport united them as a prospering continent.
Asia Cup 2000
The 2000 Asia Cup was an event of surprises and setbacks. It was the first time India did not qualify for the finals and managed to win the only single game throughout the tournament. Pakistan beat Sri Lanka in the finals. Yousuf Youhana (Mohammad Yousuf ) was adjudged man of the series.
Asia Cup 2004
In 2004, for the first time UAE and Hong Kong were included in the tournament format. It was the first time the format was divided in group matches, super fours and final. Sri Lankan team played a champion throughout the tournament and finally defeated India in the finals with 25 runs margin. Sanath Jayasurya was adjudged man of the series.
Asia Cup 2008
The ninth edition was held in Pakistan after a long time, Srilanka was successful in retaining the Asia Cup trophy by introducing mystery spinner to the Indians in the finals. He took 6/13 breaking the backbone of the Indian batting order. Ajanta Mendis was the man of the match in the 2008 finals.
Asia Cup 2010
The tenth edition was played in Sri Lanka, where only test playing Asian teams participated and excluding the associates team. Sri Lanka and India easily qualified the group stages and reached the finals, where India beat Sri Lanka comfortably. Pakistan as a team throttled, but Shahid Afridi was a pick of the player and was declared the player of the tournament.
Asia Cup 2012
The eleventh edition was played in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It was the first time, when underdog Bangladesh was successful in beating both India and Sri Lanka in the group stages, booking their birth for the finals. Unfortunately, they lost to Pakistan in the finals. Pakistan won the trophy, but Bangladesh won the hearts.
The tournament also witnessed Sachin Tendulkar 100th hundred against the Bangladesh.
Asia Cup 2014
The twelfth edition couldn’t produce the spark unlike the previous editions. India couldn’t qualify for the finals. Sri Lanka and Pakistan reached the finals, where Pakistan lost. Lahiru Thirimanne was in sublime form scoring 279 runs in the tournament. He was adjudged the player of the tournament in 2014.
Asia Cup 2016
After Asian Cricket Council lost its formidable grip over the ICC, it was declared the Asia Cup will be played on a rotation basis, once in ODI and T20 format. 2016 witnessed the first T20 Asia Cup, where India dominated the proceedings from day one and eventually won the first T20 Asia Cup.
Asia Cup 2018
The 2018 Asia will begin from September 15 and will be played in UAE.
Some Interesting Facts about Asia Cup
- India has won the maximum number of Asia Cup titles till date (6), 5 times in One Day Internationals and once in T20.
- Sri Lanka has won the Asia Cup 5 times.
- Pakistan has won the Asia Cup twice
- Sanath Jayasurya is a leading run scorer in Asia Cup with 1223 runs. Kumar Sangakara is second in the list with 1075 runs followed by Sachin Tendulkar 971 runs.
- Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the most successful captain in the Asia Cup history. He won 14 matches as a captain.
- Sanath Jayasurya has hit most centuries in the Asia Cup (6). He also holds the record for most runs in a single Asia Cup tournament (378 runs)
- Animul Islam, Mahela Jayawardhane and Salman Butt hold the record for the most number of ducks in the Asia Cup history. Each player got out on duck thrice.
- Kumar Sangarakara holds the record for hitting most number of fifties in the Asia Cup (12 fifties).
- Muttiah Muralitharan is the leading wicket taker in Asia Cup. He took 30 wickets in 24 matches.
- Arjuna Ranatunga has won most number of man of the series award in the Asia Cup. He won the Man of the Series thrice in 1986, 1990 and 1997.
- Mohammad Azharuudin and Marvan Atapattu have won most man of the match award in the finals. Both players won twice respectively.
- Billy Bowden stood as an umpire in most number of Asia Cup matches (14)
- Mahela Jayawardhane has played most number of matches in the Asia Cup. He played 28 matches.
- The record for most number of dismissals as a wicketkeeper belongs to Kumar Sangakara (36 dismissals). He took 27 catches and stumped 9 batsmen.
- Mahela Jayawardhane took most number of catches in the Asia Cup. He took 15 catches.
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- Virat Kohli has the record for highest score in the Asia Cup. He scored 183 runs
- Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed hold the record for highest partnership in Asia Cup. They scored 224 runs for the 1st
- Lasith Malinga hold the record for maximum five wicket hauls in the Asia Cup (3).
- The highest team score in the Asia Cup is 385/7.
- Ajanta Mendis holds the record for maximum wickets in the tournament (17 wickets).