The 15th edition of the Asia Cup gets underway on the 27th of August in the UAE as the top six teams from the continent battle it out in the biggest international tournament outside of the major ICC events. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the other major nations will be using the 2022 Asia Cup as part of their preparations for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia in October, but there is also plenty of continental pride at stake between some of cricket’s biggest rivals.
Team India have been the most successful team in Asia Cup history with seven titles, and there have been numerous iconic moments in the storied history of the competition, dating back to 1984.
#OnThisDay in 2018, Afghanistan bowlers produced a special performance, including a thrilling final over by Rashid Khan, to hold India to a tie in the Asia Cup 👏
It was only the eighth tie in India’s ODI history! pic.twitter.com/f3UJZmpX8H
— ICC (@ICC) September 25, 2020
Afghanistan announced their arrival on the global stage at the 2018 Asia Cup in the UAE when Asghar Afghan’s side surprised the Men in Blue in a nail-biting tied encounter in Dubai. After Mohammed Shahzad’s scintillating century took Afghanistan to 252 in the first innings, the spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mohammed Nabi, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman produced an incredible performance with the ball. The game ended in a tie as India were bowled out for 252 in 49.5 overs in one of the most exciting matches in Asia Cup history.
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) March 16, 2018
Sachin Tendulkar smashed the record books and created history in the 2012 edition of the Asia Cup as the little master became the first person to score a century of international centuries. Tendulkar brought up his 49th ODI ton against Bangladesh in a group stage encounter in Mirpur, the opener scoring 114 runs in 147 balls to take India to 289 for five with the bat. Although Bangladesh chased down the tightly fought contest with four balls to spare, Tendulkar’s achievement will go down in the record books as one of the greatest feats in the history of cricket.
T20 WC, Ind Vs Pak: Harbhajan Singh and Shoaib Akhtar clash on Twitter ahead of Ind-Pak matchhttps://t.co/tQdZzXi9vn #भौंक_मत_कोहली #BoycottFabIndia #Meherwan #MuhammadMercy4All #Marudhaani #harbhajansingh #ShoaibAkhtar4million #T20WorldCup2021 #INDvsENG pic.twitter.com/4eOGzLgQia
— Public Press Journal (@thepublicnews24) October 18, 2021
India’s clash with Pakistan in the 2010 Asia Cup was one of the most fiercely competitive encounters between the age-old rivals as the emotions spilt over onto the pitch in an epic finish in Dambulla. Chasing 268, India were well on course to victory with MS Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir in control. However, the Men in Blue slumped from 180 for 2 to 219 for 6, leaving them in peril. Thankfully for team India, Suresh Raina played a blinding knock of 34 from 27, while Harbhajan Singh smashed two sixes in the final two overs and engaged in a fiery battle with Shoaib Akthar to take India over the line by the narrowest of margins.
Handing over the baton 🏏#OnThisDay in 2012 in the Asia Cup, Sachin Tendulkar made his final appearance in ODIs, making the last of his 96 fifties.
A 23-year-old Virat Kohli made his 11th ODI hundred and his highest score in the format, a 148-ball 183 ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/xsHiiCmUzf
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) March 18, 2021
2012 was the beginning of Virat Kohli’s dominance in international cricket as the face of the Indian team, and the number three showcased his talents in the 2012 Asia Cup against arch-rivals Pakistan. Kohli enhanced his reputation as one of the best chasers of all time in ODI cricket, helping India mow down Pakistan’s score of 329 with his highest ODI score. Kohli smashed 22 fours and one six in his knock of 183 from 148 deliveries against a world-class bowling attack that included Umar Gul, Shahid Afridi, and Saeed Ajmal.
☝️ RP Singh#OnThisDay in 2008, Ajantha Mendis ran through India’s batting to star in Sri Lanka’s 100-run win in the Asia Cup final 🏆
His figures of 6/13 are the third-best by a Sri Lankan in ODI cricket 👏 pic.twitter.com/MremdCglLL
— ICC (@ICC) July 6, 2020
The most iconic moment in the history of the Asia Cup has to be the 2008 final between Sri Lanka and India, where Ajantha Mendis burst onto the scenes and rattled the Men in Blue. The mystery spinner completely bamboozled the Indian batting line-up in the run chase with his wide range of variations. Mendis finished with extraordinary figures of 6 for 13 from eight overs as he left top order batters such as Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, and Rohit Sharma clueless with his mystery spin. Chasing 274, the Indian batters failed miserably while trying to read Mendis and eventually slumped to 173 all-out to lose the final by a considerable margin of 100 runs.
[Featured Image Credit: Slog Cricket]