The 2016 edition of the Asia Cup is just round the corner with India facing host Bangladesh in the first match of the tournament in Fatullah on Thursday.
The tournament was first hosted in 1984 by the Asian Cricket Council with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Sharjah, but gradually, teams like Afghanistan, UAE and Hong Kong were added in an attempt to give associate Asian nations more exposure.
Over the years, the tournament has produced many moments that have been etched in the memory of every cricket fan and here’s a look at the top five memorable moments from the Asia Cup.
India’s triumph in the first ever Asia Cup (1984)
The very first Asia Cup was played between India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and was staged in Sharjah. India showed great run of form in the tournament as they defeated Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in the first match and then defeated arch-rivals Pakistan in their second match to be crowned the winners of the very first edition of the tournament. Wicket-keeper batsman Surinder Khanna was named the man of the match and the player of the series.
Ajantha Mendis leaves Indian batsmen completely clueless (2008)
Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis was considered to be a ‘mystery’ bowler by most of the international batsmen and he showed his calibre in the finals of the Asia Cup 2008 against India. The Indian batsmen had no idea of how to negotiate .
his deliveries and the cricketer from Moratuwa finished the match with figures of 6/13 and was declared both the Man of the match and Man of the series.
Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th career century (2012)
The entire cricket fraternity was waiting for Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th career century and the moment finally came in Mirpur when the batting maestro scored 114 from 147 balls against Bangladesh. Unfortunately, the innings came in a losing cause as India were defeated by 5 wickets, but it certainly became a part of cricket folklore.
Last over fireworks from Shahid Afridi (2014)
Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi had a terrible run of form before the 2014, but it all changed when he played a blinder of an innings to defeat India in the group stage of the tournament. The explosive batsman scored 34 runs off just 18 balls and finished the match with a four and a six in the final over.
Afghanistan’s first ever ODI victory (2014)
The indomitable spirit that has characterised Afghanistan’s sharp rise in world cricket shone brightly in Fatullah as they registered their first ever ODI victory after defeating Bangladesh by 32 runs in the group stage of Asia Cup 2014. Asghar Stanikzai scored an unbeaten 90 and off-spinner Mohammad Nabi took three wickets to create history for their country.