Nepal to be part of Pakistan’s group in Asia Cup 2023

Nepal players celebrate after taking a wicket — ACC

Nepal qualified for the Asia Cup 2023 and will join Pakistan and India in Group 1, after a seven-wicket win over the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the final of the ACC Men’s Premier Cup in Kirtipur on Tuesday.

Nepal chased down a target of 118 runs in 30.3 overs with Gulsan Jha top-scoring with 67 runs in 84 balls. His unbeaten knock included three fours and six maximums.

Earlier, UAE were dismissed for only 117 runs in 33.1 overs after Lalit Rajbanshi claimed figures of 4-14 in 7.1 overs.

The Premier Cup is an integral part of ACC’s new pathway structure and featured 10 Associate nations with the winner directly qualifying for the Men’s Asia Cup 2023 — which will take place in September later this year.

While Group 1 includes, Pakistan, Nepal, and India. Group 2 will feature defending champions Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super Four stage of the tournament, similar to last year’s format. The 2023 edition, however, will see the competition returning to the ODI format.

It must be noted that in October last year Pakistani cricket authorities hinted they may pull out of next year’s World Cup in India, a day after Indian officials there said they would not send a team to the 2023 Asia Cup in Pakistan.

Indian cricket board secretary Jay Shah had said that India “can’t” send a team to Pakistan, adding the tournament would be moved to a neutral venue.

His announcement caught Pakistan by surprise, with officials warning it could “split” the international cricket community.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said Shah’s comments “can impact Pakistan’s visit to India for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 and future ICC Events in India in the 2024-2031 cycle”.

The Pakistan board said it has not received any official communication from the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), and noted that hosting rights for the 2023 Asia Cup had been given to Pakistan under Shah’s leadership.

Despite being considered one of sport’s greatest rivalries, India and Pakistan have not met on home soil in any version of the game since 2012, and only play each other in multinational tournaments on neutral grounds.

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