A look at why UAE residents are so passionate about cricket during the Asia Cup

There’s no doubt about it, the Asia Cup is coming to the UAE. Sri Lanka will remain the hosts while the matches are played in the UAE, according to the Asian Cricket Council. It should come as no surprise.

Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah have hosted Pakistan’s home Test series in the past. A second wave of COVID-19 hit India and displaced the T20 Cricket World Cup to the UAE. The Indian Premier League was played in the UAE for two seasons.

There are no doubts about the country’s credentials when it comes to hosting international cricket matches. The monsoon rains dampened India’s hopes of hosting the games as an alternate venue. Short notice international sporting events have been organized by the UAE without any problems.

Is Asia Cup going to be a success?

The 50-over One-Day International format has been transformed into a Twenty20 tournament this year. As automatic qualifiers for the main draw, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are the defending champions. Qualifying begins on August 20 with the UAE, Kuwait, Hong Kong and Singapore, with the winners advancing to the final. There will be 13 games scheduled from August 27 to September 6.

The biggest draw will be the match between India and Pakistan. A tournament is never complete without a clash between archrivals. There may be two meetings between them at the Asia Cup. In the UAE, there are a large number of expatriate cricket fans from the subcontinent. 

Which teams are expected to win?

Pakistan and India, both seven-time titlists, are among the best. That does not mean that other teams cannot succeed. India has had mixed fortunes, while Pakistan has been in fine form across all formats. However, some stalwarts have been recovering from injuries, so India has rested several senior players. It is important for them to defend their title. It has not been possible for Bangladesh, three times runners-up, to find that extra edge to win. Each of the teams in the tournament faces a serious threat from them.

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