Kathmandu-24 August 2023
As the upcoming Asia Cup draws closer, the cricketing world is abuzz with anticipation, especially as Nepal prepares to make its debut appearance. This marks a significant milestone for Nepal, becoming the fifth associate nation to take part in this prestigious tournament, alongside the more established cricketing giants. The history of the Asia Cup, spanning fifteen editions, has featured associate teams twelve times, contributing a unique flavor to the event. Let’s delve into the journey of associate nations in the Asia Cup, exploring their trials, tribulations, and moments of triumph.
**Bangladesh: Pioneers and Progress**
Bangladesh, a trailblazer among associate nations, made its Asia Cup debut in 1986 as a non-test playing nation. Over the course of six editions (1986, 1988, 1990-91, 1995, 1997, 2000), Bangladesh played a total of 16 ODIs, unfortunately coming up short on all occasions. While their journey as associates may have been challenging, Bangladesh later secured full membership and participated in subsequent editions as a test nation. Their notable achievements include reaching the finals in 2012 and 2018 (ODI) and 2016 (T20I), proving their mettle on the grand stage.
Excitement builds as Nepal is set to be the fifth associate country to make an appearance at Asia cup
**Hong Kong: Four Appearances**
Hong Kong, the second-most experienced associate in the Asia Cup, entered the scene in 2004. Their journey has spanned four editions (2004, 2008, 2018 as ODIs, and 2022 as T20Is). Despite their valiant efforts, they are yet to notch their first victory in the tournament. Nonetheless, Hong Kong’s commitment to the game and aspiration for growth stand as testaments to their cricketing spirit.
**UAE: A Quest for Recognition**
The UAE joined the ranks of associate nations in the Asia Cup, showcasing their cricketing prowess in three editions (2004, 2008 as ODIs, and 2016 as T20Is). Like their associate counterparts, they faced formidable challenges, resulting in an unbroken streak of losses. Their journey serves as a testament to the UAE’s commitment to cricket, despite the odds, and their thirst for recognition on the international stage.
**Afghanistan: A Brief Associate Appearance**
Afghanistan’s rise to cricketing prominence has been nothing short of remarkable. The nation, participating as an associate in the 2014 edition, clinched a historic victory against Bangladesh. This win not only marked the first-ever win for an associate in the Asia Cup but also symbolized Afghanistan’s meteoric ascent in international cricket. Their journey, though brief as associates, paved the way for their eventual elevation to full membership status, resulting in strong performances in recent editions.
Afghanistan are the only nation to register a victory in Asia cup as an aasociate team.
**A Collective Perspective: Associates’ Contribution**
In the grand tapestry of the Asia Cup, associate nations have etched their unique stories. From Bangladesh’s evolution from associate to test status to Afghanistan’s triumphant debut, these teams have played an integral role in shaping the tournament’s narrative. While the overall record for associate nations in the Asia Cup stands at one win and 35 losses, the spirit of determination and growth prevails, inspiring cricket enthusiasts worldwide.
The overall individual records of Associates stands as:
Highest Individual score: Nizakat Khan, Hongkong (92 vs India, 2018) – ODI, Saiman Anwar, UAE (46 vs Pakistan, 2016) – T20I
Best Bowling figure: Khurram Khan, UAE (4-32 vs Sri Lanka, 2004) – ODI, Amjad Javed, UAE (3/25 vs Sri Lanka, 2016)
Most Runs: Athar Ali Khan, Bangladesh (368) – ODI, Saiman Anwar, UAE (103) – T20I
Most Wickets: Khurram Khan, UAE (7) – ODI, Amjad Javed, UAE (8) – T20I
As Nepal enters the fold, the cricketing fraternity eagerly anticipates witnessing the next chapter in the journey of associates in the Asia Cup. The camaraderie, dedication, and sheer love for the game exhibited by Nepal will undoubtedly enrich the tournament, reminding us all that cricket’s spirit knows no boundaries.