India and Pakistan to face off in Asia Cup 2023

India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet in the 2023 Asia Cup on September 2 in Kandy. The tournament, initially planned to start on August 31, has been rescheduled to begin a day earlier on August 30, as announced by the Asian Cricket Council, or the ACC. The opening match will be held in Multan, featuring Pakistan against Nepal, while the final is set to take place in Colombo on September 17.

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These fixtures are part of the current draft schedule, which is likely to undergo further modifications before the ACC finalises and announces the official version. The initial draft schedule, prepared by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) as the host board, has already undergone several revisions due to the hybrid model approved by the ACC, featuring matches played in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

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The tournament will feature a total of 13 matches. Pakistan has been placed in Group A alongside India and Nepal, while Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan form Group B. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super Four stage, with the leading two teams from that phase progressing to the final. This edition of the Asia Cup, played in the 50-overs format, serves as a preparation run for five of the six participating teams, excluding Nepal, in anticipation of the upcoming ODI World Cup starting on October 5 in India.

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Originally, the PCB’s plan was for Pakistan to host four matches in a single city. However, Multan was later added as a second venue when the new PCB administration, led by chairman Zaka Ashraf, assumed office this month. As per the draft schedule, Multan will host only the opening match, while Lahore will be the venue for three matches and one Super Four game.

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According to the draft schedule, Bangladesh will face Afghanistan on September 3 in Lahore, followed by Sri Lanka versus Afghanistan at Gaddafi Stadium on September 5. Regardless of their positions in the first round, Pakistan will be designated as A1, India as A2, Sri Lanka as B1, and Bangladesh as B2. If Nepal and Afghanistan qualify for the Super Four stage, they will replace the team eliminated from each group (Pakistan or India in Group A and Sri Lanka or Bangladesh in Group B).

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The draft schedule lists only one Super Four match to be played in Pakistan, which is scheduled for September 6 between A1 and B2. If both Pakistan and India advance to the Super Four stage, they will face each other again on September 10 in Kandy. Dambulla is the other Sri Lankan venue listed to host three matches in the Super Four stage.

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