Lahore: Arch-rivals India and Pakistan have been placed in the same group for this year's Asia Cup, the Asian Cricket Council announced here on Thursday.
Hong Kong complete group B, while defending champions Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) form Group A in the ninth edition of the tournament, to be hosted by Pakistan in June-July this year.
"All the participating nations have confirmed their participation and we hope to have a safe and highly competitive Asia Cup in three months' time," ACC chief executive Ashraful Huq told AFP.
The Asia Cup, originally supposed to held every two years, could not be held in 2006 due to a hectic international schedule after hosts Sri Lanka won the eighth edition in 2004.
Huq dispelled fears the event was in doubt after Australia postponed their tour of Pakistan over security fears earlier this month following a wave of Islamic militant attacks.
"Australians are unaware of our culture and they don't have an idea that no sporting activity has ever been hurt in Asia. All the teams are going to take part barring any major disaster," said Huq.
The three sides in each group play each other once. The top two teams will qualify for the second phase, where teams will again play each other once. The top two teams qualify for the final.
"Karachi will host ten of the thirteen matches, while Lahore will host three and since the event is played in the summer season all matches will be day-night, starting late in the afternoon," said Huq.
The tournament, which runs between June 24 and July 6, carries prize money of 200,000 dollars (around 12 million rupees), said Huq.
The first Asia Cup was held in 1984 at Sharjah in the UAE. India have won the event four times, while Sri Lanka have lifted the Cup three times and Pakistan once.
It is the first time Pakistan will host the Asia Cup. The country was awarded the event in 1993 but it was cancelled after India refused to tour for political reason.