India is going to begin their Asia Cup campaign against arch-rival Pakistan on August 28, in their first match itself. Pakistan on the other hand will be eyeing their third title.
The men in green have lifted the Asia Cup title twice before; once in 2000 and then in 2012.
In 2000, they won the title by beating Sri Lanka by 39 runs in the finals and then in 2012, they beat Bangladesh by just 2 runs to claim the title.
This season, the Babar Azam-led team looks well-rounded and confident. Pakistan has named its squad and the team does seem like a good mixture of match-winning players. Added to their advantage is their experience of playing in the UAE.
Pakistan has played 28 T20s in UAE so far and they have dominantly won 17. However, they are not completely indomitable. They do have a few weak links.
Batsmen: Babar Azam (Captain), Fakhar Zaman, Haidar Ali, Khushdil Shah, Asif Ali.
Allrounders: Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jr.
Bowlers: Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir, Mohammad Hasnain
Wicketkeeper: Mohammad Rizwan
Pakistan openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan have worked wonders for the Pakistan side. The duo was among the highest run-getters in the T20 World Cup 2021. While Babar plays cautiously, Rizwan is the aggressor and someone to be scared off, especially in the power-play.
All five-century partnerships between Babar and Rizwan came in 2021.
Pakistan’s power hitter Asif Ali could be a dark horse of the tournament. In an interview with PCB, he said to practise hitting 100-150 sixes every day to be prepared for any situation.
Apart from the injured Shaheen Shah Afridi, a lack of experienced middle order could be a big vulnerability for the team. Pakistan has over-relied on its top three batsmen Babar, Rizwan and Zaman. An unfortunate start with losing the top three early could prove to be a big challenge for the middle order to keep the boat sailing.