India Pakistan to clash again in Asia Cup hockey
Bangladesh will serve as the host of the 10th continental championship.
Hockey fans of both the hockey-crazy nations - India and Pakistan - have reasons to cheer as the two countries will soon be seen lining up against each other in an Asia Cup encounter. A fellow subcontinent nation is set to host the two arch rivals as the Asia Cup will be held in Bangladesh capital of Dhaka in the month of October later this year.
The 10th Asia Cup will be an eight-nation affair where India, ranked 6th in the world currently, will be the top-ranked team. The tournament was awarded to Bangladesh on Monday and the subsequent draw ascertained the clash of India and Pakistan as they were clubbed in the same group. Both the teams, along with the hosts and Japan, are in Pool A while Malaysia and Korea will be found competing China and Oman in Pool B.
The tournament kicks off on 11th October with a Pool A tie between India and Japan followed by another tie between Pakistan and Bangladesh. The marquee clash, however, is scheduled to be held on 15th October where the arch rivals will be meeting for the first time since India's win against Pakistan in the Hockey World League Semi-Final, where they thrashed Pakistan 6-1 in a classification match.
This win had come after another stupendous effort in the same tournament when India had destroyed Pakistan with some fine blade work to inflict a record 7-1 defeat. That win also served as a balm to the country reeling under Indian cricket team's shock defeat to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy Final at the Oval.
The two teams have a history of intense rivalry in which Pakistan holds the upper hand. Out of the 169 times the two have faced each other, Pakistan have emerged victorious on 82 occasions while India have managed to win 57 matches. The rest of the 30 matches have finished as tie.
India have lifted the Asia Cup twice in 2003 and 2007. On the other hand, Pakistan managed to win the title in 1985 and 1989. Pakistan's current form, however, has worried fans and experts alike and the Green Shirts are in danger of not being able to qualify for the World Cup which is to be held in India next year. Since the winners of the Asia Cup get a direct ticket booked to the World Cup, Pakistan would try to regain their touch and produce some magic of old days.