India and Sri Lanka have traditionally dominated the Asia Cup since its inception in 1983. The first edition of the continental cricket tournament, however, was held in 1984 in the United Arab Emirates.

Organised by the Asian Cricket Council, the inaugural Asia Cup cricket tournament was held in a round-robin format in Sharjah. India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were the three teams that played in the 1984 Asia Cup. The Indian cricket team defeated Sri Lanka in the final to clinch the first-ever Asia Cup.

Asia Cup winners list: 1984 to 2023

Year Winners Winning Captain Runners-Up
Format Host
1984 India Sunil Gavaskar Sri Lanka ODI UAE
1986 Sri Lanka Duleep Mendis Pakistan ODI Sri Lanka
1988 India Dilip Vengsarkar Sri Lanka ODI Bangladesh
1990/91 India Mohammad Azharuddin Sri Lanka ODI India
1995 India Mohammad Azharuddin Sri Lanka ODI UAE
1997 Sri Lanka Arjuna Ranatunga India ODI Sri Lanka
2000 Pakistan Moin Khan Sri Lanka ODI Bangladesh
2004 Sri Lanka Marvan Atapattu India ODI Sri Lanka
2008 Sri Lanka Mahela Jayawardene India ODI Pakistan
2010 India MS Dhoni Sri Lanka ODI Sri Lanka
2012 Pakistan Misbah-ul-Haq Bangladesh ODI Bangladesh
2014 Sri Lanka Angelo Mathews Pakistan ODI Bangladesh
2016 India MS Dhoni Bangladesh T20 Bangladesh
2018 India Rohit Sharma Bangladesh ODI UAE
2022 Sri Lanka Dasun Shanaka Pakistan T20 Sri Lanka
2023 India Rohit Sharma Sri Lanka ODI Pakistan / Sri Lanka

Bangladesh made their first appearance in the Asia Cup in 1986, which was hosted in Sri Lanka. The hosts managed to win the tournament for their maiden title. India, however, skipped the tournament citing civil war in pockets of the Island Nation. However, the unofficial reason was that India were unhappy about a Test series loss to Sri Lanka in 1985, which was attributed to poor umpiring.

India, however, returned to the tournament in 1988. The Indian cricket team registered a hat-trick of Asia Cup titles (1988, 1990/91, 1995), and to date remains the only team to do so. During this time, Mohammad Azharuddin became the first captain to have won the Asia Cup on more than occasion.

It took Pakistan 16 years to win their maiden title. They won the quadrangular tournament in 2000 after defeating Sri Lanka in the final.

India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are the 'traditional' teams that compete in the tournament. However, the 2004 Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and the 2008 Asia Cup in Pakistan saw Hong Kong and UAE make their first appearances. The six teams were divided into two groups, where the top four advanced to the Super Fours (played in a round robin format), following which the top two teams played in the final. Sri Lanka won both the tournaments after defeating India in the final on each occasion.

Afghanistan, meanwhile, made their Asia Cup debut in 2014.

The Asia Cup was originally scheduled to be held every two years. In 2016, the ICC announced that the tournament would alternate every two years between ODI and T20 formats depending on the format of the upcoming world events. As many as 16 editions of the Asia Cup have been completed so far.

The 2023 Asia Cup was the first edition to be jointly-hosted by two countries, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Nepal made their debut in the tournament making them the eighth team to compete in the competition after India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, UAE and Hong Kong.

How many Asia Cup has India won?

India are the most successful team in the Asia Cup, winning eight titles (seven ODI and one T20). The Indian cricket team, in fact, won three of the first four editions of the Asia Cup, defeating Sri Lanka in the finals on each occasion. From 1997 to 2008, India ended runners-up thrice in four tournaments, all incidentally to Sri Lanka.

India have also won three of the last four Asia Cup cricket tournaments.

Incidentally, Mohammad Azharuddin (1990/91, 1995), MS Dhoni (2010, 2016) and Rohit Sharma (2018, 2023) are the only captains to have won the Asia Cup twice.

India are also the first winners of the Asia Cup in the T20 format, held in 2016. They defeated Bangladesh in the final.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka are the second most successful side, clinching six titles. They have finished runners-up on another seven occasions.

Additionally, Sri Lanka have played the most Asia Cups (15). India, Pakistan and Bangladesh each have participated in 14 editions of the tournament.

India are the reigning champions of the Asia Cup, having defeated Sri Lanka in the 2023 final of the ODI tournament in Colombo.

Most successful teams in Asia Cup cricket: By each country

Team Titles Winning Years
India 8 1984, 1988, 1991, 1995, 2010, 2016, 2018, 2023
Sri Lanka 6 1986, 1997, 2004, 2008, 2014, 2022
Pakistan 2 2000, 2012

Featured photo: SURJEET YADAV / AFP