The 2014 Asia Cup is underway, pitting the continent's best teams against each other in a series of One Day Internationals that are designed to promote healthy competition between each nation.
First held in 1984, this 12th edition of the tournament sees Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan go head-to-head in a Round Robin format from Feb. 25 to Mar. 6, before the eventual final on Mar. 8.
Matches will be played at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fattulah, Pakistan, and the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Bangladesh.
Pakistan are the defending champions after capturing 2012's crown and are be expected to perform across their four matches in the now bi-annual tournament. Afghanistan, the only non-Test-playing nation to feature, will participate in a competition that utilises more than 50 overs per match for the first time.
Here's a look at the current standings:
As reported by ESPNcricinfo, four points are granted for a win, five if an additional bonus point is awarded. Ties and no results provide two.
Be sure to take a look through the rundown of all the fixtures and results. Each starts at 8 a.m. GMT/3 a.m. ET.
|1.||Pakistan||vs.||Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka won by 12 runs||Feb. 25|
|2.||Bangladesh||vs.||India||India won by 6 wickets||Feb. 26|
|3.||Afghanistan||vs.||Pakistan||Pakistan won by 72 runs||Feb. 27|
|4.||India||vs.||Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka won by 2 wickets||Feb. 28|
|5.||Bangladesh||vs.||Afghanistan||Afghanistan won by 32 runs||March 1.|
|6.||India||vs.||Pakistan||Pakistan won by 1 wicket||March 2.|
|7.||Afghanistan||vs.||Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka won by 129 runs||March 3.|
|8.||Bangladesh||vs.||Pakistan||Pakistan won by 3 wickets||March 4.|
|9.||Afghanistan||vs.||India||India won by 8 wickets||March 5.|
|10.||Sri Lanka||vs.||Bangladesh||Sri Lanka won by 3 wickets||March 6.|
|Final||Pakistan||vs.||Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka won by 5 wickets||March 8.|
All information gathered via ESPNcricinfo.
Sri Lanka survived an early scare to beat Pakistan 261/5 and win the 2014 Asia Cup.
Top batsman Kumar Sangakkara was taken out on his very first ball, Saeed Ajmal the hero for forcing a leg before ball. But Mahela Jayawardene and Lahiru Thirimanne combined for 176 runs to give the undefeated Sri Lankans the win on Saturday.
Pakistan opened with 260 runs behind the bat of Fawad Alam (114 runs in 134 balls, not out), giving a potent Sri Lankan lineup all it could handle. The Sri Lankan bowlers struggled with an efficient batting display, with Lasith Malinga taking all wickets but also surrendering 56 runs.
But despite the early exit of Sangakkara, the group of Sri Lankan batters, who dominated the entire tournament, came through when it mattered, steadily making up the deficit with the Pakistan team throughout the afternoon/ Mohammad Talha scored the final two runs and the Sri Lankans were able to celebrate with overs to spare.
Sri Lanka put together a dominant run throughout the entire tournament and finished the job with another marvelous performance. For Pakistan, making the final after the epic comeback win over Bangladesh was a victory in itself, and the team will go home with heads held high, as there was simply no stopping Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka made it four wins from four in the final group game of the 2014 Asia Cup with a narrow victory in Dhaka over hosts Bangladesh who finished the tournament with no points.
Batting first having won the toss Anamul Haque and Shamsur Rahman put on 74 for the first wicket, but a middle-order collapse prompted by two quick Ajantha Mendis wickets saw the home side finish on 204-9.
An ordinary looking chase became much more imposing when Sri Lanka lost three early wickets, Kusal Perera going for a second-ball duck and Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene also going cheaply.
It was left to the middle order to see Sri Lanka home and Angelo Matthews' 74 not out along with Chaturanga de Silva's 44 was enough to record a narrow win.
Sri Lanka will now hope to retain their unbeaten status when they take on Pakistan in the final on Sunday.
India were able to end their 2014 Asia Cup on a high note, comfortably dispatching of tournament-newcomers Afghanistan by eight wickets. The Indian team will be returning home frustrated knowing they could have done so much more, recording easy wins over Afghanistan and Bangladesh yet losing nail biters to Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Afghanistan can look back at a successful campaign, but were clearly overmatched by a more experienced Indian team, only able to record 159 runs to open the day. Samiullah Shenwari lead the team with 50 runs scored on 73 balls, but he was only one of three batsmen able to score in double-digits.
India's vaunted group of batsmen finally lived up to their reputation, dispatching of the Afghan team with only four batsmen in total. Shikhar Dhawan led the way with 60 runs in 98 balls, while Dinesh Karthik finished the job with an impressive 21 out of 27.
Bowling for India, Mohammad Nabi only surrendered 30 runs in 10 overs, overpowering Afghanistan's batting attack from the start.
Pakistan looked dead in the water after a blitzing start from Bangladesh, but an incredible comeback would insure a Pakistani victory and their spot in Saturday's final.
Ahmed Shehzad overcame a shaky start to complete a century before Umar Akmal scored the winning runs. This marks the very first time Pakistan have come back from more than 250.
Shahid Afridi was the hero of the day, scoring an impressive 59 of 29 balls.
Bangladesh opened with an excellent score of 326 and looked ready to play spoilers for Pakistan, with India and Afghanistan looking on in approval as they saw their chances at a finals berth grow. But in the end, even their highest recorded score in ODI and brilliant performances from Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan wasn't enough to bring them their first win of the tournament.
Sri Lanka's form is beginning to look ominous. Fresh from their difficult win over India, Graham Ford's improving team blitzed Afghanistan by 129 runs, with huge thanks to the bowlers.
A solid score of 254 was set by Sri Lanka, with Kumar Sangakarra posting a healthy 76, including six fours and one six. Angelo Mathews finished not out with 45 from 41 balls, while Chaturanga de Silva and Thisara Perera contributed 19 and 18 respectively to add an extra five points on the table.
Mirwais Ashraf was Afghanistan's best performer with the ball in his hand, taking two wickets in eight overs.
It was a different story for Sri Lanka's bowlers, who posted their most prolific stats of the tournament so far. Perera and Ajantha Mendis took three each with economies of 2.90 and 1.57 respectively, aided by two-wicket hauls from Suranga Lakmal and de Silva.
Arguably the closest encounter of the tournament so far was won by Pakistan, who eclipsed India's target of 245 with one wicket remaining.
Mohammed Hafeez was once again in form for Pakistan, hitting 72 with the bat. A solid 42 from Ahmed Shehzad and 38 from Sohaib Maqsood also thrust Dav Whatmore's team on their way to beating a spirited India side.
Ravichandran Aswin took three wickets from 9.4 overs for the Indians, but their bowlers' collective economy rate always threatened to undo a decent spell with the bat.
Although Amit Mishra enjoyed two wickets with an economy rate of 2.80, the runs tumbled with Aswin (4.55), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5.60), Mohammed Shami (4.90) and Ravindra Jadeja (6.10) struggling throughout.
Saeed Ajmal took a trio of wickets for Pakistan, while Hafeez and Mohammed Talha enjoyed a brace each.
Afghanistan recorded their first win of the tournament with a hard-fought display over Bangladesh, who lacked all-round quality in their Fatullah backyard.
Asghar Stanikzai's terrific 90 not out thrust Kabir Khan's men to victory. He hit six fours and a trio of sixes in confident fashion, but the Afghan faithful also had Samiullah Shenwari's 81 from 69 balls to thank for the win.
Over half of Shenwari's score was racked up via boundaries as he took an aggressive approach at the crease. Arafat Sunny was the only bowler to take more than one wicket for Bangladesh, but the difficulties didn't end there.
Mominul Haque was top scorer with the bat, hitting 50 from 72 balls. Nasir Hossain offered resistance with 41 runs, as did Ziaur Rahman, but three ducks—including a second ball dismissal for opening batsman Shamsur Rahman—left the hosts with too much to do.
Sri Lanka have started the 2014 Asian Cup in decent form, as confirmed by the team's second win in two matches.
India set a challenging target of 264, led by Shikhar Dawan's 94, but the nation lost momentum as the tail order came in. Virat Kohli's useful 48 was undermined by ducks for Stuart Binny and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, leaving the men in blue with plenty of work to do.
Ajantha Mendis managed four wickets from 10 overs, handing Sri Lanka some momentum ahead of their reply.
Kumar Sangakkara walloped a fantastic 12 fours and one six to post a score of 103. His display was aided by the opening partnership of Kusal Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne, who hit 64 and 38 respectively en route to victory.
Pakistan may have come up short against Sri Lanka during their opening match, but a fine display from Umar Akmal led the team to victory over an Afghanistan outfit that showed signs of promise for the rest of the tournament.
Akmal hit 102 from 89 balls in a virtuoso performance, racking up seven fours and three sixes to help set a target of 249. Ahmed Shehzad also posted a notable half century, while Dawlat Zadran, Mirwais Ashraf and Samiullah Shenwari grabbed a duo of wickets each for the eventual losers.
Hamza Hotak took the other wicket and set Afghanistan's best economy rate of 2.75 from eight overs.
Mohammed Hafeez was the bowling hero for Pakistan, racking up three wickets from 9.2 overs. Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal snatched a brace each and Shahid Afridi's single wicket helped confirm a 72-run victory.
India raced to a six-wicket victory during their opening fixture with Bangladesh, Virat Kohli posting 136 to help send his team beyond the 279 runs needed to win.
As reported by ESPNcricinfo, Kohli accumulated 16 fours and a pair of sixes to secure his 19th ODI century, a performance that gave Bangladesh little hope of holding out for the victory.
Although captain Mushfiqur Rahim posted an excellent 117 to offer his team some kind of resistance, India comfortably swatted away the challenge in 49 overs.
Kohli's record 213-run third-wicket partnership with Ajinkya Rahana set the tone for a match that was only ever going one way.
Rohit Sharma (21) and Shikhar Dhawan (28) opened in unspectacular fashion, but after the match-defining performance of the partnership before them, Ambit Rayudu (9) and Dinesh Karthik (2) guided India across the line. No Bangladeshi bowler finished with more than one wicket.
India had Mohammed Shami to thank with the ball in his hands. The 23-year-old fast bowler finished with a game-high of four wickets from 10 overs, conceding 50 runs in the process.
Sri Lanka opened their Asia Cup account with a thrilling 12-run victory over Pakistan, Lahiru Thirimanne top scoring with 102.
Pace bowler Lasith Malinga emerged as Sri Lanka's hero after his late five-wicket demolition thrust the nation to victory over a stunned Pakistan side, per ESPNcricinfo.
Malinga remained aggressive under pressure and blitzed through the defending champions with the confidence of a player who could take the tournament by storm if he maintains form.
Shahid Afridi (4) was the first to depart as Pakistan chased 297, but Malinga began to make major inroads shortly after. He followed up with the dismissal of Misbah-ul-Haq (73) within three balls, before rounding off his final over with the capture of Saeed Ajmal (10) and Bilawal Bhatti (18).
Malinga's spell proved pivotal in a result that will undoubtedly provide Sri Lanka with real confidence heading into the rest of the tournament.
Thirimanne's second ODI century provided the islanders with a fantastic score to defend. His 102 from 110 balls, including 11 fours and a six, set up the team's triumph. Kumar Sangakkara joined Thirimanne at the crease with 67, and this Sri Lanka bats deep.