The Asia Cup which commences on February 25 in Bangladesh will see Pakistan take on Sri Lanka in the opener. With five teams participating in the tournament this year - India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh will get a great chance to prepare for the World T20 which follows this.
The fifth edition of the Twenty20 World Cup will see all the cricket playing nations vie for the title as India and Pakistan look to become the first team to win the title twice. Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh will be happy if they managed to win once. Sri Lanka has finished off as runners-up in many competitions in the recent past and will hope to take a step up with the T20 title.
For all these aspirations, the Asia Cup being hosted by Bangladesh who will also host the World T20 is a great chance for the sub-continent teams to get match practice under their belt as well as prepare for the World Cup as they chase the Asian cricket champion title.
While the Asia Cup will be a 50-over encounter, playing in Bangladesh will help the likes of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan to get acclimatised to the conditions.
MS Dhoni, Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Irfan will miss the Asia Cup due to injury but the trio will hopefully be fit for the World Cup later on as they are vital cogs in the wheel of success for their respective teams.
Afghanistan has never participated in the tournament before and are the underdogs as they make their Asia Cup debut with the likes of seasoned competitors India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The India-Pakistan clash will surely be an anticipated match as it is to cricket, what El Classico is to football. Pakistan are the Asia Cup defending champions as they won the title in 2012 in Bangladesh which was the host of the previous edition as well.
Virat Kohli will captain India in the absence of Dhoni and this will be a huge challenge for the 25-year-old Delhi lad who has been the vice-captain for quite a while but has never lead India in such a big competition. The task at hand is great but will be a welcome change for Indian fans who have grown tired of India's losing spree. Kohli lead the India Under-19 team to World Cup glory in 2008 and has won seven out of the eight matches in which he has captained India. The Asia Cup quest for Kohli will surely help build his character as captain - win or lose.
India play Bangladesh on Wednesday in their first match. The hosts will have a lot of home support but India will be favourites for the win as they are the stronger side.
All teams will play four matches i.e. one against each other and will be rewarded 4 points for victory and 2 points for tie or no result. After the preliminary round, the two teams with the maximum points will qualify for the final and the team winning the final match will be crowned champions of Asian cricket.
India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are favourites for the title and which team manages to get it right will determine the winner of the Asia Cup. Bangladesh and Afghanistan will be hoping for a win against the big three and will take that as a plus.