Three things which bring team India in the limelight over the other teams in Asia Cup 2014 – MS Dhoni’s absence, Virat Kohli’s captaincy and C Pujara’s return to the ODIs. In the recent times, team got thoroughly embarrassed on their trips to South Africa and New Zealand, failing to win a single match in any format. In the absence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, team lead by Virat Kohli, though team won record five times Asia Cup championship but can hardly be considered favorites this time because they have faltered in recent months.

asia-cup-2014In the first match of Asia Cup which was played between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Lasith Malinga’s brilliant bowling spell taking 5 wickets under pressure and opener Lahiru Thirimanne’s second ODI century, helped Sri Lanka script a thrilling 12-run win over Pakistan . Previously in the game Sri Lanka batted first, scoring 296/6 with the century of L Thirimanne contributing 102 runs and a helping inning of 67 runs by Kumar Sangakkara. In return Pakistan lost early wickets in the Powerplay resulting 83/3 till the end of 14 over but the 121 runs partnership between the Umar Akmal and captian Misbah-Ul-Haq took Pakistan back in the game. Finally a brilliant spell by Malinga took the game away from the Pakistan resulting in Sri Lanka’s win.

Today, February, 26th,2014, India will face the host Bangladesh in the second match of the Tournament. For the first time in close to decade, the Indian One-day side held without the services of even one of the three players; MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina. Eight games have passed since the ODI champions tasted victory, in fact team had never got a chance to win once in 2014 so far, and less than a year away from the World Cup 2015.India need to start its winning chariot from winning the first match against Bangladesh which could be done, as team had a very good winning record against Bangladesh but should not be under-estimated.

The most important and buzzed match of the Tournament is between India and Pakistan as both teams crossed their respective borders to meet on the neutral battlefield in Bangladesh. Since 2011 World Cup semi-final in Mohali, there have been just five instances when both teams came against each other spread across three years with Pakistan remaining a no-go-zone for international cricket. It would not be wrong to admit that Asia Cup is more about India VS Pakistan than anything else, as both are the best cricket rivalry of all time. This is the second match for the both the teams while Pakistan had lost its first match and India will face Bangladesh Today.

This time in Asia Cup the clash is between 5 countries in which 4 teams are the usual teams-India, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka and Bangladesh with the fifth team Afghanistan joining the championship for the First time, which makes the Tournament more intense.