The battle for Asian supremacy begins this weekend with six nations from the continent competing against one another.
With the World Cup in United Kingdom just over eight months away, the multi-nation tournament will provide an ideal stage for teams to cut edges and zero in on the combinations team's would want to play with.
It is a no-brainer that finalists of ICC Champions Trophy 2017 – India and Pakistan – will be two favourites going into the tournament, while writing off Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and even Afghanistan in white ball cricket can be dangerous.
In a build up to Asia Cup, we earlier listed few memorable knocks, here we take a look at some top bowling performances from previous editions of the event.
Abdul Razzaq 4/29 v India, 2000
India were set a huge target of 296 runs by rivals Pakistan thanks to Yosuf Youhana's (now Mohammad Yousuf) unbeaten century. The only way India could have scaled down the total was if their top order clicked. After losing Sourav Ganguly cheaply, the onus was on Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid to keep the chase going. However, despite, a promising start to their innings, both the batsmen were trapped leg before wicket to Abdul Razzaq. Dravid and Tendulkar fell on either side of Mohammad Azharuddin's wicket, who too was dismissed by Razzaq. The three Indian wickets that fell in a space of as many overs, swept India off its feet. Ajay Jadeja tried his best with a valiant 93 but kept losing partners eventually India were bowled out for 251, losing the fixture by 44 runs.
Khuram Khan 4/32 v Sri Lanka, 2004
UAE's Khuram Khan might be known for being the oldest cricketer to score an ODI century, but his slow left-arm tied the Sri Lankans in a group game at Dambulla. Khuram's gusto and guile drew errors from Sri Lankan batsmen. The delivery he bowled to beat Tillakaratne Dilshan was a left-arm spin bowler's dream, beating him neck and crop. UAE bowlers showed maturity against a quality Lankan side. Sri Lanka slumped from 142/3 to 239 all out. Their batsmen were done in by the wizardry of Upul Chandana and Muttiah Muralitharan as they were dismantled for 123.
Ajantha Mendis 6/13 v India, 2008
Ajantha Mendis was wrecking havoc in the 2008 Asia Cup. In his first four games of the tournament, he bagged 11 wickets, and in his fifth game, Mendis delivered a remarkable spell to befuddle six Indian batsman to bowl what still remains as one of the best bowling spells in ODI history, let alone Asia Cup. After the stellar performance, Mendis' trickery was a big mystery to which the batsmen had no clue. Despite Virender Sehwag's blistering 60 off 36 balls, India fell 100 short to Sri Lanka's first innings total of 273. Mendis' six wickets for 13 runs are till date the best bowling figures in tournament history.
Irfan Pathan 4/13 v Sri Lanka, 2013
The match best remembered for Virat Kohli's explosive 183 that propelled India past 300 against Sri Lanka. However, in the same match, Irfan Pathan's discipline and accurate bowling helped him earn four crucial wickets. He might have been lucky to get Sri Lanka opener Dilshan off a loose delivery early in the innings, but he provided the important breakthrough for the second wicket, dismissing Mahela Jayawerdene for 78. Jayawerdene along with Kumar Sangakkara were making light work of India's 304 and threatened to take the game away from India. Pathan's timely strike ended 93-run stand that came in 86 deliveries to bring India back in match. Handy contributions from the Lankan middle order kept the chase alive. Once again, Pathan stepped up to send Upul Tharanga back and then fittingly picked the final wicket to wrap the game.
Lasith Malinga 5/56 v Pakistan, 2014
Lasith Malinga had become Sri Lanka's strike pace bowler since Chaminda Vaas' retirement in 2008. Despite numerous injuries, Malinga continued to fight as he moved into his 30s. In the final of 2014 edition, Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first on a placid Dhaka surface. Lanka needed early wickets and on cue 'slinga Malinga' dismissed Pakistan's top three – Sharjeel Khan, Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez – for single digit scores. Pakistan did recover thanks to Misbah-ul-Haq and Fawad Alam's 122-run partnership. Sri Lanka, once again, turned to Malinga, who induced a false stroke for Pakistan skipper Mishabh to claim another wicket. Umar Akmal became Malinga's fifth victim in the final over of the innings. It was Malinga's efforts with the ball that kept Pakistan down to a sub par score of 260, which Sri Lanka were able to chase down with relative ease to become the champions of Asia.