Asia Cup cricket to kick off tomorrow

June 23rd, 2008 - 9:07 pm ICT by IANS  


Lahore, June 23 (IANS) The battle for continental supremacy in cricket will be renewed after a gap of four years when the ninth edition of the Asia Cup cricket kicks off at the Gadaffi stadium here Tuesday. Bangladesh takes on United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the opening match of the preliminary league.

India, four times winners, will be favourites, but they will be wary of hosts Pakistan, who shattered their confidence beating them in the tri-nation tournament final at Mirpur, Bangladesh, a week ago. Defending champions Sri Lanka might not be riding on a form-high, but they have beaten both Pakistan and India in the past and they will be out to prove a point.

India, Pakistan and Hong Kong have been placed in Group ‘B’ while Bangladesh, UAE and Sri Lanka form Group ‘A’.

India last won the Asia Cup in 1995 and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni insists that they will have to iron out some flaws noticed in Bangladesh.

“It is not about what happened in the past. We are bound to win more matches than lose if we play to our potential and our capabilities. We have to learn from mistakes and take every game as a new one,” Dhoni said.

Dhoni said he might come up the order in batting.

“We did well in the league games in Bangladesh. In the final we maintained a good run rate, but lost wickets. Yuvraj was going well but the lack of an experienced partner didn’t help us,” Dhoni said.

“In the middle overs it is important to keep scoring at 5 to 5.5 runs an over at least till the 40th over without losing many wickets. You will see me batting up the order,” he said.

Bangladesh will enter Tuesday’s match on the back of a seven-match losing streak. They have failed to live up to expectations after their two spectacular wins in the last year’s World Cup.

After beating South Africa in Providence last May, they went into a form slump, losing 14 consecutive matches. In between came a 3-0 clean sweep at home against Ireland.

UAE’s last official international tournament was the 2004 Asia Cup and their solitary ODI win came 12 years ago, against the Netherlands in their only appearance in the World Cup.

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