The Asia Cup is one of the biggest cricket tournaments in the world. The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) organizes the competition once in every one or two years, in either T20I or ODI format. This year, six teams from Asia, namely India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan, are a part of this mega event.
The ACC follows a unique format for the Asia Cup tournaments. The six teams are initially divided into two groups of three each, with the top two teams advancing to the Super Fours. After every team plays against each other in the Super Fours, the top two teams emerge as the finalists.
Fans have witnessed some incredible matches in Asia Cup history. A few games even went down to the wire and resulted in unlucky defeats for the teams. Here's a list of three such unlucky losses.
#1 Afghanistan lose against Sri Lanka by 2 runs, Asia Cup 2023
Yesterday (September 5)'s Asia Cup battle between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka was one of the most thrilling encounters in the continental event's history. Afghanistan had to chase down 292 runs in 37.1 overs to qualify for the Super Fours.
Mohammad Nabi's whirlwind half-century helped Afghanistan bring the equation down to 15 runs off seven balls. Rashid Khan smashed three fours in the 37th over, bringing the equation down to three runs off one ball. Mujeeb ur Rahman lost his wicket on that delivery.
Although Afghanistan could still have qualified by hitting a four or a six in the next few deliveries, batters Rashid Khan and Fazalhaq Farooqi had no idea about the equation. Even the team management did not have a clue about the same.
Afghanistan did not try for that result as Farooqi soon lost his wicket to Dhananjaya de Silva, and Afghanistan ended up losing by two runs.
#2 Pakistan beat Bangladesh by 2 runs, Asia Cup 2012 final
Bangladesh made history by qualifying for their first-ever Asia Cup final in 2012. Playing in front of the home fans, Bangladesh beat India and Sri Lanka in the group stage to set up a summit clash against Pakistan.
Shahid Afridi's 22-ball 32 helped Pakistan post 236/9 on the board in the final. Chasing 237 for a win, Bangladesh reached 228/7 in 49 overs. With nine runs needed off six balls and all-rounder Mahmudullah batting in the middle, Bangladesh seemed the favorites to win.
However, Pakistan pacer Aizaz Cheema bowled a fantastic 50th over. He conceded a run and a leg-bye off the first two balls before deceiving Mahmudullah with a slower one on the third delivery. Poor fielding on the fourth ball allowed Mahmudullah and Abdur Razzak to steal three runs.
With four needed off two, Razzak lost his stumps to Cheema on the penultimate delivery. New batter Shahadat Hossain only managed a leg-bye off the last ball as Bangladesh lost the match by two runs.
#3 Bangladesh beat Afghanistan by 3 runs, Asia Cup 2018
Having crushed Bangladesh in the group stage of the continental championship in 2018, Afghanistan started as the favorites to win their Super Four battle as well. Bangladesh set a 250-run target for Afghanistan, riding on Mahmudullah's 74-run knock.
Afghanistan were 242/6 after 49 overs. Big-hitters Rashid Khan and Samiullah Shinwari had to score eight runs off the last six balls. Mustafizur Rahman bowled the final over for Bangladesh.
Khan started the over with a two, but he handed a catch to Rahman on the next ball. Shinwari took a leg-bye on the third ball, bringing new batter Gulbadin Naib on strike. While Naib possessed the skills to strike big, he was beaten on the fourth ball by an off-cutter. He took a leg-bye on the fifth delivery.
Shinwari was on strike as Afghanistan needed four off the last ball. He swung hard but could not time Rahman's ball to perfection. It ended up being a dot ball. Bangladesh beat Afghanistan by three runs.