Pakistan, India to clash in Asia Cup today
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2016-02-27 01:23:08

Pakistan, India to clash in Asia Cup today

324858_97375419DHAKA (Web Desk / AFP) – Pakistan and India will renew cricket’s most bitter rivalry today (Saturday) after a two-year gap when they face off in the Asia Cup, a contest for regional supremacy which is also a final rehearsal for the World T20.

The biennial 12-day tournament, which is being held in Bangladesh for the second time in a row, began on Wednesday night when the hosts were defeated by India at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla stadium — the venue for all the matches.

But most eyes will be on Saturday’s glamour tie when India and Pakistan take to the field together for the first time since the last World T20 in 2014.

India-Pakistan showdowns usually draw hundreds of millions of television viewers, making it the biggest box office attraction in the sport.

But diplomatic tensions have meant that the two teams have not played any bilateral series for more than three years and their rivalry is therefore restricted to multi-national tournaments.

Pakistan, furious that India has rebuffed repeated pleas to play a bilateral series at a neutral venue, will be desperate to cause an upset against their giant neighbour.

Earlier on Thrusday, the Government of Pakistan gave permission to the cricket team to play next month’s World Twenty20 in India after fears they might withdraw due to alleged security threats.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan earlier this month raised doubts over the team’s participation, saying there were specific threats from Hindu activists who forced the cancellation of a meeting between cricket officials from both countries in Mumbai last October.

Rightwing Hindu activists also forced the cancellation of Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s concerts in Mumbai and Pune last year and disrupted a book launch event by former foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri.

But the PCB announced Thursday it had received the green light after seeking extra security measures.

“I am pleased that our government has given its consent for our team to visit India,” said Khan.

“As a duty of care, we have asked ICC to put in place special arrangements for the Pakistan cricket team while in India.

“We will also be expecting visa facilitation and other arrangements for the Pakistani fans wishing to visit India for the ICC World T20.”

The sixth edition of the ICC (International Cricket Council) World Twenty20 will be held in India from March 8 to April 3.

Pakistan will play its first match against a qualifier team in Kolkata on March 16, before taking on arch-rivals India in a high-profile game in Dharamsala three days later.

They also play New Zealand (March 22) and Australia (March 25) in the first round.

Categories:   Pakistan ، India ، Sport ،
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