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Sri Lanka one win away from India in Asia Cup titles

By Rajneesh Gupta
Last updated on: September 14, 2018 12:52 IST
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India have won the Asia Cup six times, Sri Lanka five, and Pakistan have won it just twice.

As the 14th edition of Asia's own trophy gets underway on Saturday, Rajneesh Gupta presents the numbers on the 13 editions so far.

IMAGE: The Indian team celebrates after winning the Asia Cup 2016 against Bangladesh at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka. Photograph: Solaris Images

Maybe only a few are aware that Asia is the only continent that has enough number of international cricket teams to make up a proper tournament.

This fact was spotted by the Asian Cricket Council as far back as 34 years ago to promote the game and goodwill among Asian nations.

Thus, in 1984, the first edition of Asia Cup took place in Sharjah with three countries India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka playing matches on a round-robin league basis.

Overall, India have won the Asia Cup on six occasions, Sri Lanka on five, with Pakistan winning it twice.

Sri Lanka is the only team to participate in every single Asia Cup tournament.

The latest edition, starting on September 15, will see six teams fight it out among themselves.

Five Test sides -- India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan -- gained a direct entry, while Hong Kong came through qualifiers after locking horns with Malaysia, Nepal, Oman, Singapore and the UAE.

The tournament was originally slated to be held in India, but had to be shifted to the UAE because of the tensions between India and Pakistan.


Here is a brief rundown on the last 13 tournaments.

1984 (Sharjah)

Winner: India; Runner-up: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, still the minnows of international cricket having obtained Test status barely three years ago, was off to a flyer when they beat one of the favourites for the tournament Pakistan by five wickets in the tournament opener.

Sri Lanka's victory was fashioned out by a classic unbeaten half-century from man-of-the-match Roy Dias, which enabled them to top Pakistan's total of 187 with six and a half overs to spare.

However, against India in the next game, Sri Lanka were shot out for 96 and lost by 10 wickets.

India went onto clinch the title when they defeated Pakistan by 54 runs in the final league game, remaining unbeaten in the tournament.

Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Surinder Khanna emerged as the unexpected star, winning the man-of-the-series award by scoring back-to-back half-centuries against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

1986 (Sri Lanka)

Winner: Sri Lanka; Runner-up: Pakistan

India was not there to defend their title and in their place Bangladesh entered as the third team and made their debut in the competition.

For the first time independent umpires stood in ODIs hosted by a full ICC member, with Dickie Bird and David Shepherd from England and Mehboob Shah from Pakistan joining local umpires Herbie Felsinger and PW Vidanagamage.

Sri Lanka lost the opening match by 81 runs to Pakistan, but gained sweet revenge in the final when they reversed the result to win by five wickets.

Pakistan, handicapped by a calf strain to their captain Imran Khan who could not bowl in the match, failed to defend a total of 191.

Javed Miandad top scored with a patient 67 off 100 balls and fast bowler Kaushik Amalean captured four wickets for 46.

Sri Lanka, powered by half-centuries from Aravinda de Silva and man-of-the-series Arjuna Ranatunga, coasted home with 7.4 overs to spare.

1988 (Bangladesh)

Winner: India; Runner-up: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka looked pretty convincing as they threatened to sweep all before them when they cruised to the final with three wins in a row, but were brushed aside by India in the final, to lose by six wickets.

Sri Lanka failed to post a challenging total after losing four prime wickets to run-outs and a score of 176 was made to look pretty easy by man-of-the-series Navjot Singh Sidhu's rapid 76 scored off 87 balls that saw India win by nearly 13 overs to spare.

The series saw Arjuna Ranatunga making his first appearance as Sri Lanka's captain when he led them against Pakistan after appointed captain Ranjan Madugalle had to pull out of the tournament through injury.

1990-91 (India)

Winner: India; Runner-up: Sri Lanka

India hosted the Asia Cup for the first time and won it for the third time defeating Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the final played at Calcutta.

Due to intercommunal violence in India, Pakistan pulled out and in a three-cornered contest the hosts made full advantage of their home turf.

After losing the league game to Sri Lanka by 36 runs, they hit back hard to win the final largely due to a hat-trick by Kapil Dev who dismissed Roshan Mahanama, Sanath Jayasuriya and Rumesh Ratnayake in his sixth and seventh overs.

1995 (Sharjah)

Winner: India; Runner-up: Sri Lanka

India won the Asia Cup for the fourth time in as many attempts, having withdrawn from the 1986 tournament.

India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan were tied on points after the preliminary round but the first two teams qualified by virtue of a better run rate.

For the third successive time India defeated Sri Lanka in the final, winning by eight wickets.

Sri Lanka's total of 230-7 based on Asanka Gurusinha's 122-ball innings of 85 was made to look small by a magnificent third wicket stand of 175 off 184 balls by Navjot Singh Sidhu (84*) and skipper Mohammed Azharuddin (90*) as India cruised to victory with 8.1 overs to spare.

In the preliminary round, too, India put up a big partnership when Manoj Prabhakar (60) and Sachin Tendulkar (112*) contributed 161, the highest opening partnership in Sharjah and against Sri Lanka at that time.

1997 (Sri Lanka)

Winner: Sri Lanka; Runner-up: India

Having lifted the World Cup one year before, Sri Lanka showed that they were a force to be reckoned with by beating India at home to win the Asia Cup.

They ended India's stranglehold on the Cup since 1988 in comprehensive fashion to win the final by eight wickets.

India paid the penalty of fielding only three frontline bowlers as Sanath Jayasuriya (63 off 52 balls) and Marvan Atapattu (84*) wiped out more than half the target score of 240 with a stand of 137.

Skipper Arjuna Ranatunga finished the job with an undefeated 62 off 67 balls.

A feature of the final was the stunning display of fielding by Sri Lanka which resulted in five marvellous outfield catches.

Sri Lanka proved unbeatable in the tournament, winning all their matches, and was led admirably by Ranatunga who was named man-of-the-series and given the title 'Captain Cool' by ICC match referee John Reid.

2000 (Bangladesh)

Winner: Pakistan; Runner-up: Sri Lanka

Pakistan was in destructive form as they carried everything before them to win the Asia Cup for the first time.

It was the first time that Bangladesh hosted the tournament but they couldn't make much headway, losing all three preliminary round matches.

Yousuf Youhana (Mohammad Yousuf) was in blistering form, averaging 147.50.

Sri Lanka, the defending champions, lost twice to Pakistan but convincingly beat Bangladesh and India.

Marvan Atapattu was Sri Lanka's dominant batsman but even his brave century in the final failed to stop the rampaging Pakistanis who won by 39 runs.

2004 (Sri Lanka)

Winner: Sri Lanka; Runner-up: India

The Asia Cup for the first time was conducted in two phases and involved two non-Test playing countries, Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates, although their participation did little of note.

Pakistan began well only to crash out due to an error in net run rate calculation and India came through despite a couple of sluggish displays.

Sri Lanka once again proved dominant at home, defending a total of 228 with some tigerish fielding and top-class spin bowling from Sanath Jayasuriya and Upul Chandana.

Sri Lanka defended a moderate total of 223 very well by restricting India to 203-9.

IMAGE: Sri Lankan players celebrate their victory against India in the final of the ninth Asia Cup one-day cricket tournament at the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi on July 6, 2008. Photograph: Athar Hussain/ Reuters

2008 (Pakistan)

Winner: Sri Lanka; Runner-up: India

Pakistan hosted the ninth edition of the Asia Cup for the first time and nothing could have been more pronounced than the arrival of Ajantha Mendis to the international scene.

He so bewildered and baffled India in the final that skipper MS Dhoni admitted that his batsmen didn't have a clue against his spin.

From a position of 76-1 in the tenth over chasing 273, India collapsed to 173 all out giving Sri Lanka a 100-run win and their fourth Asia Cup triumph to equal India's record. Mendis was the difference, capturing six wickets for 13 runs off eight overs.

Before Mendis brought humiliation upon India, it was their old foe Sanath Jayasuriya who had set the stage for the run chase with a 79-ball century which lifted his team from 66-4 to their final total.

Sri Lanka finished as the best team in the tournament producing the highest wicket-taker (Mendis with 17 at 8.52 apiece), the leading century-maker (Sangakkara with three) and the leading run-scorer (Jayasuriya with 378).

Hong Kong and UAE once again qualified to play but proved of little significance as they were totally outplayed by the Test nations.

IMAGE: The Indian cricket team celebrate their victory over Sri Lanka in the final of the Asia Cup tournament in Dambulla, on June 24, 2010. India beat Sri Lanka by 81 runs. Photograph: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/ Reuters

2010 (Sri Lanka)

Winner: India; Runner-up: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka topped the qualifying table, but India came up with an excellent all-round performance in the final to win the Asia Cup for the first time since 1995.

They controlled the match from the start, reaching an impressive total of 268 after winning the toss.

The top-scorer was Dinesh Karthik, who had joined the team in mid-tournament after Virender Sehwag tweaked a hamstring.

Sri Lanka's batting, so consistent in the earlier matches, was then swept aside by India's seamers, who used the blustery conditions well to reduce them to 51 for five.

They could not recover from this disastrous start.

India were the most impressive side in the tournament, even though none of their players topped the batting / bowling charts (Shahid Afridi with 265 runs -- at 88.33 -- was the leading run-scorer, while Lasith Malinga with 9 wickets -- at 14.00 apiece -- was the leading wicket-taker).

Their league match against arch-rivals Pakistan was the best match of the tournament when Harbhajan Singh hit a six off the penultimate ball of the match to give India a thrilling win by 3 wickets.

IMAGE: Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez drives the ball as Bangladesh captain and wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim looks on. Photograph: Andrew Biraj/ Reuters

2012 (Bangladesh)

Winner: Pakistan; Runner-up: Bangladesh

India beat Sri Lanka in their opening game and pulled off a mammoth chase against arch-rivals Pakistan in their last game, but their defeat to hosts Bangladesh ruined their chances of making it to the final.

After scoring his 99th international hundred, against South Africa in the 2011 World Cup, Sachin had been bogged down with all the hype created about his 100th international hundred.

He finally reached the landmark against Bangladesh, but took more deliveries than he would have normally taken and this proved detrimental to the team's cause.

At the end of the 30th over India had made 154 for the loss of one wicket.

But they managed only 49 runs in next 10 overs, with Sachin moving from 78 to 95 consuming 29 balls.

He finally reached the milestone in the 44th over, but his overcautious approach meant that India's final total was imposing rather than impossible.

Bangladesh pulled off their biggest chase against a higher ranked side as almost all their top-order batsmen clicked together.

India's biggest chase against Pakistan -- made possible by Virat Kohli's stunning 183 -- kept their chances alive, but Bangladesh edged them out for the final when they beat Sri Lanka in a rain-affected match.

Pakistan and Bangladesh thus qualified for the final at the expense of India.

In the final Pakistan beat Bangladesh by just two runs to lift the trophy, but their win came under controversial circumstances.

Pakistan were reeling at 133 for six in the 35th over, but managed to reach a rather respectable 236 for nine thanks to some splendid batting from wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed.

Tamim Iqbal scored his fourth consecutive fifty in the tournament and even though none of the Bangladesh middle-order batsmen lived up to expectations except for Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh always remained in the game.

They were left to score nine runs off the last over bowled by Aizaz Cheema.

In the first ball of the over Cheema collided with Mahmudullah as he was looking for a second run, but the umpires decided the obstruction was not intentional.

This proved decisive as Mahmudullah lost the strike at the crucial stage.

Cheema kept his nerves and it all boiled down to four runs off the last ball.

Shahadat Hossain could manage only a leg-bye off it with Mahmudullah -- the more recognised batsman -- at the non-striker end.

Pakistan thus won the match by 2 runs -- the narrowest win in the tournament's history.

Later an official complaint was lodged by Bangladesh, but it was rejected by the Asian Cricket Council.

IMAGE: Pakistan's Shahid Afridi celebrates with teammates after Pakistan won the match against India in the 12th edition of the Asia Cup in Dhaka. Photograph: Andrew Biraj/ Reuters

2014 (Bangladesh)

Winner: Sri Lanka; Runner-up: Pakistan

The twelfth edition of Asia Cup was played in Bangladesh, with Fatullah and Mirpur being two venues.

Afghanistan entered the fray for the first time.

Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in the final to lift the trophy.

M S Dhoni was supposed to lead the Indian team, but he had to miss out due to a side strain and Virat Kohli led the side instead.

India beat Bangladesh convincingly in the first game, with Virat Kohli scoring 136 -- the highest score by a captain in the tournament's history.

However, they lost to Sri Lanka in the next game.

The match against Pakistan was a nail-biter.

Chasing a victory target of 246, Pakistan lost their ninth wicket off the first ball of the 50th over, and still requiring 10 runs.

A single by number 11 on the next ball brought Shahid Afridi on strike with the game on his shoulders.

Afridi then hit Ravichandran Ashwin for two consecutive sixes to give Pakistan a thrilling win.

In the next match, Sri Lanka sealed a place in the final by beating Afghanistan -- their third win on the trot.

And when Pakistan beat hosts Bangladesh in a high scoring game, they qualified for the final too.

In the final Pakistan made 260 for five in their allotted 50 overs.

The target was never too daunting for Sri Lanka and they chased it down with 22 balls to spare.

Lahiru Thirimanne, a centurion in the final, was chosen as man of the tournament.

IMAGE: India's Shikhar Dhawan in action during his match-winning knock in the 13th edition of the Asia Cup final in Dhaka. Photograph: Solaris Images

2016 (Bangladesh)

Winner: India; Runner-up: Bangladesh

In 2015 the role of the Asian Cricket Council was reduced by the ICC.

It was feared that the Asia Cup would cease to exist, but the ICC chose to continue the tournament with some changes.

The most prominent change was that it would no longer be a 50-over tournament, but would be played in ODI and T20I format on rotation basis based on the respective next world events under the ICC.

As the World T20 2016 was scheduled to start two days after the Asia Cup final, it only made sense that the tournament be a 20-over per side affair.

Five sides played in the tournament -- hosts Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were the usual participants, while UAE came through a qualifier.

Bangladesh hosted the tournament for the third consecutive time, with all 11 matches being played at Mirpur, a suburb of Dhaka.

India played like a champion side all through the tournament, winning all their matches.

They started their campaign against Bangladesh, beating them comfortably by 45 runs. In the high-profile game against Pakistan, India dismissed the arch-rivals for a paltry 83 -- their lowest score in a T20I match batting first.

However, India were reduced to 8 for three, before Virat Kohli took the game away from Pakistan.

India sealed a place in the final by beating Sri Lanka by 5 wickets.

Virat Kohli once again played an important role in India's win by remaining unbeaten on 56.

The new entrants UAE were no match for the mighty Indians and after restricting the UAE to 81 for nine, India chased down the target in just 10.1 overs -- their biggest win in terms of balls to spare.

Bangladesh reached the final by playing some remarkable cricket.

They lost their first game to India, but then beat the UAE and followed it up with a win against Sri Lanka -- their first against the island nation in this format, and a narrow win against Pakistan put them in to the final.

The final was reduced to a 15-over affair by a massive storm that struck 60 minutes before the toss.

It was, in fact, no less than a miracle that the ground staff managed to get the game going.

Bangladesh ended with 120 for five, which was made possible by a 13-ball 33 by Mahmudullah.

India lost Rohit early, but Shikhar Dhawan stayed on and put on 94 runs for the second wicket.

With 19 runs required off two overs, the crowd were behind the home side, but Dhoni finished the game before the 14th over ended, hitting Al-Amin for one four and two massive sixes.

The second six gave India their sixth Asia Cup trophy.

Bangladesh's Sabbir Rahman was picked as the man of the tournament.

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Rajneesh Gupta