The ACC Asia Cup will start from 15th September 2018 in UAE and Pakistan will be one of the favourites for the tournament. The Pakistan team will start their campaign on 16th September against one of the Qualifiers before taking on India three days later. Pakistan’s recent success in the shorter formats will boost their chances against arch rivals India and they will try to repeat their performance of Champions Trophy where they ended lifting the trophy. In fact, Pakistan’s ace opener Fakhar Zaman has already declared themselves as the tournament favourites for playing on their Virtual Home-ground.
UAE, which is Pakistan’s new home since the blast in Lahore on Sri Lanka team in 2009, have hosted Pakistan for a number of times and the Pakistan team has enjoyed quite a bit of success since then. Pakistan has played 172 ODIs in UAE and won 106 of them. They have better winning record against all Asian Nations in UAE, particularly versus India and Sri Lanka.
Against India, Pakistan have won 19 out of 26 ODIs although most of them came during the 90s when both the Asian heavyweights used to play often in Sharjah. But India will not be worrying with this record as the last time they played Pakistan was in 2006. A lot has changed since then and none of the players except MS Dhoni has played in UAE before. Against Sri Lanka, Pakistan have won two-third of their matches (33 out of 50 ODIs). The two nations played against each other in October 2017 and Pakistan won the series 4-1.
Pakistan players will be brimming with confidence after the 5-0 thrashing of Zimbabwe. Fakhar Zaman will look to continue his form, having made a double ton couple of ODIs back, along with his new partner Imam Ul Haq. Babar Azam, the current World No.2 batsman, and Shoaib Malik will boost their middle order. Malik has huge experience of playing in UAE, having played over 50 ODIs in the gulf nation. The likes of skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and youngsters Asif Ali and Shadab Khan will further boost the batting.
Pakistan’s bowling will have the same sharpness as ever. The pace attack will be lead by Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali who are currently among the top 10 ODI bowlers of the world.