India, Pakistan in same group at Asia Cup

Hosts Pakistan and four-time winners India will be in the same group of the Asia Cup, scheduled for June-July.

updated: March 20, 2008 12:57 IST
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India have been grouped with hosts Pakistan for the Asia Cup to be held in June and July this year.

The archrivals have been pooled with minnows Hong Kong in Group B, while defending champions Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and United Arab Emirates form the other pool for the ninth edition of the continental tournament, the Asian Cricket Council announced on Thursday.

Despite Australia postponing its scheduled tour of Pakistan citing security concerns, all teams have confirmed their availability for the Asia Cup, to be held from June 24 to July 6.

"All the participating nations have confirmed their participation and we hope to have a safe and highly competitive Asia Cup in three months' time," ACC chief executive Ashraful Huq told reporters at the Gadaffi Stadium here.

Hosts Sri Lanka won the eighth edition in 2004 but the tournament could not be held as per schedule in 2006 due to the hectic international schedule.

Huq denied the tournament was ever in doubt after the Aussies refused to tour.

"Australians are unaware of our culture and they don't have an idea that no sporting activity has ever been hurt in Asia. All the teams are going to take part barring any major disaster," he said.

The three sides in each group play each other once, with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the second phase, where they will again play each other once.

The top two teams will contest the final.

Karachi will host 10 of the 13 matches, while Lahore will host three and all matches will be day-night affairs, starting late in the afternoon, Huq said.

The first Asia Cup was held in 1984. India have won the event four times, while Sri Lanka thrice and Pakistan once.