DUBAI - Arch rivals India and Pakistan will clash on Sunday in the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Emerging Cup in Singapore. The competition is for under-23 teams, which are made up of the most talented future stars from both the countries.

A huge turnout of expatriates from India and Pakistan is expected to watch the action at the Kallang Ground, which has hosted nine One-Day Internationals. The UAE are also participating in the tournament, but they are in Group B and may get to play against India or Pakistan only if they finish among the top two teams and clinch a place in the semi-finals. India and Pakistan are in Group A.

The tournament commenced on Saturday with Afghanistan securing an exciting three-run win over Nepal and Bangladesh’s Under-23 team defeating hosts Singapore by eight wickets. Most of the Afghanistan players now play in UAE’s domestic cricket leagues and their national team trains at the Sharjah Cricket ground. The India Under-23 team left for this tournament after intense practice at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. Mukund Parmar, who coached the Gujarat Ranji Trophy and West Zone teams, is in charge of the squad.

The Indian team is made up of some of the finest players who have also played for the India A team. The team is being led by Mumbai’s Surya Kumar Yadav. He is the fourth highest run-getter in Ranji Trophy with 754 runs from nine games and has an average of 68.54.

His team is also made up of Karnataka’s prolific opening batsman KL Rahul, Under-19 World Cup winning skipper Unmukt Chand, Ashok Menaria and two all-rounders in Akshar Patel and Baba Aparajith. The Pakistan Under-23 team features Hammad Azam, Raza Hasan and Ehsan Adil, who all have already represented the senior national team.

Azam, who will captain Pakistan Under-23, has played in eight One-Day Internationals and five Twenty20 matches for Pakistan. Hasan has played in seven Twenty20 international matches while Adil has played in one Test match and two one-day matches. Former India Test cricketer Venkatapathy Raju, the ACC’s development manager who is in charge of the tournament, announced that the tournament will become a biennial fixture.

“It is a good opportunity for cricketers graduating from the under-19 age group to under-23. Playing against emerging countries and rising youngsters from other Test-playing nations will be hugely beneficial,” he said. In the opening match, Afghanistan, despite being restricted to 169 for nine, fought back brilliantly to pull off an exciting win.

Opener Nawroz Mangal hit 31 runs, while Asghar Stanikzai top-scored with 33 runs. Number nine batsman Gulbadin Naib cracked a quickfire, unbeaten 30 to ensure a challenging total. Nepal were bowled out for 157 in 45.3 overs due to four run-outs.

Skipper Mohammad Nabi and Hamid Hassan took two wickets apiece.

Nepal skipper Paras Khadka’s knock of 60 runs therefore went in vain.