Monday, June 23, 2008

Asia Cup 2008: The Form Book

Hosts Pakistan and the 3 minnows - Bangladesh, UAE, and Hong Kong kick off their Asia Cup campaigns from tomorrow, while India and Sri Lanka play their first games on the following day.

Here we take a look at the form these teams are bringing into the tournament.


Wins: Since beating India and South Africa in last year's ODI World Cup, Bangladesh have only beaten Ireland 3-0 in an ODI series they played at home.

Losses: They have lost 21 ODIs in this 14 month period losing series' to all the big teams - India, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa, and Pakistan.

Asia Cup '04: Bangladesh were pitted with Pakistan and Hong Kong in Round 1 and managed to qualify for Round 2, where they lost all their matches to the Asian Big 3.

Chances '08: There is no doubt that Bangladesh have come a long way since the 2004 Asia Cup, however they still have not been able to beat top international sides consistently. Their Round 2 spot is more or less confirmed unless the UAE can spring a surprise on them, highly unlikely though. They have upset major teams every now and then but that will not be enough for them to make the final, for which they will have to beat atleast 2 of the Big 3 in Round 2.

Speak: "We are confident for the second round as we have been playing good cricket against India and Pakistan in the recent past” - skipper Ashraful confident of beating the UAE.

“If we can regularly score 240, which we rarely do, we can be competitive and hopefully win a few games” - Coach Jamie Siddons spills the secrets on Bangladesh's plans.

Hong Kong

Wins / Losses / Asia Cup '04 / Chances '08: The last time Hong Kong played ODI cricket was 4 years ago in the Asia Cup where they lost both their matches to Pakistan and Bangladesh. In this tournament they are up against India and Pakistan in Round 1 and an upset looks highly unlikely.

Speak: “At the end of the day, we are not here on holidays. Our aim is to be competitive in this tournament and try to create an upset or two" - HK's Kashmiri captain Tabarak Dar makes it clear that they are here to play.

“We are very positive and optimistic. Cricket is a funny game and you can’t predict any result.” - Coach Aftab Habib seaks of optimisim and humour.


Wins: Since their embarassing ouster from last year' ODI World Cup, they have had a mixed bag of results. They won the CB series earlier this year beating Australia in the final despite not looking like the best team of the tournament in the league stages. They beat Pakistan 3-2 at home late last year and upset South Africa 2-1 in Ireland.

Losses: They have lost just as many. They were beaten 4-3 by England in England and 4-2 by Australia at home. Despite being the favorites to win the tri-series in Bangladesh earlier this month, they lost to Pakistan in the final.

Asia Cup '04: They made it to the final at the expense of Pakistan on the basis of bonus points but lost to Sri Lanka.

Chances '08: They have won the Asia Cup more than any other side, though they haven't done it for 13 years now. They come into this tournament as favorites with a strong 15-man squad, each one of whom is in top form. The loss in the final of the Kitply Cup was just a hiccup and India are strong contenders for the Asia Cup title. Expect to see them in the final.

Speak: "We will win more matches than lose if we play to our potential and our capability" - Dhoni mentions the obvious.

“We have a group of players, specifically the batsmen, who are extremely talented... we are certainly backing them to be able to do some special stuff for the team” - Coach Gary Kirsten puts his money on India's young ones.


Wins: After facing an embarassing outer from last year's ODI World Cup, Pakistan has undergone an overhaul, similar to India, though with much less success. They beat Sri Lanka 2-1 in an offshore series in Abu Dhabi and this year they have gone on to win 12 of their 13 ODIs. However 11 of those wins have been against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

Losses: They lost both their ODI series last year to South Africa and India by a 3-2 margin, and recently faced their heaviest defeat to India during the Kitply Cup.

Asia Cup '04: They only lost 1 match in the last Asia Cup to Sri Lanka, however failed to make the final on the basis of bonus points.

Chances '08: They haven't lost an ODI series this year and are coming into the tournament on the back of a morale boosting win over India in the final of the Kitply Cup earlier this month. They haven't lost a home ODI in recent times and seem to be strong contenders to make the final as long as they don't succumb to home pressure.

Speak: “Yes, the people are expecting us to win. That will pose some extra pressure but we are professionals and know how to handle it.” - Skipper Malik talks about managing home crowd expectations.

"The two main rivals for us are India and Sri Lanka. We’ve beaten India recently and we can beat them again here” Coach Lawson is confident of a Pakistan victory.

Sri Lanka

Wins: They have had an indifferent 14 months since reaching the final of the ODI World Cup last year. Since then they have won only 1 ODI series, beating Bangladesh at home 3-0.

Losses: They have lost ODI series to Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, England at home, and the West Indies in the Caribbean. They aslo failed to make to the CB Series final earlier this year.

Asia Cup '04: They won the title after beating India in the final under Marvan Atapattu.

Chances '08: They come into the tournament as the defending champions, however the have had a very lacklustre run over the last year or so. Return of some key players will boost them but they will find it tough against India and Pakistan.

Speak: “We are working really hard and we have to start putting things right, there’s no doubt about it” - skipper Jayawardene knows that its gone wrong for Sri Lanka over the last year.

United Arab Emirates

Wins / Losses / Asia Cup '04 / Chances '08: The last time UAE played ODI cricket against major opposition was 4 years ago in the Asia Cup where they lost both their matches to India and Sri Lanka. In this tournament they are up against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Round 1 and it seems unlikely that they will be playing Round 2.

Speak: “We have made a good improvement and it will be good outing against Bangladesh” - skipper Saqib Ali talks about an improving team.

"Batting is the main strength of our team" - coach Vasbert Drakes talks about strengths.

Coming Soon on Well Pitched:

Asia Cup 2008: Getting to Know the UAE
Asia Cup 2008: Pakistan's Selections

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1 Pitched:

  1. Miriam said...

    V interesting; you'll be my first port of call for Asia Cup stuff, definitely.

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