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IANS

Arch-rivals India and Pakistan will meet in their first match of the 11th edition of the Asia Cup hockey championship in Jakarta, Indonesia, on May 23, as per the schedule announced on Friday.

India, the highest-ranked team in the world rankings, has been placed in the Pool A with Pakistan, Japan and hosts Indonesia and will play Pakistan in the last match in the opening day's schedule.

Pool B includes Malaysia, South Korea, Oman and Bangladesh in the eight-team competition that will be held from May 23-June 1. The competition will start with a Pool B encounter between Malaysia and Oman on May 23.

India, the defending champion in the Continental championship, will take on Asian Games gold medallists Japan Japan in their second match on May 24 and meet hosts Indonesia on May 26 at GBK Sports Complex Hockey Stadium in Jakarta, to round off their league engagements.

The top two teams from each pool will qualify for the Super 4s Pool, the top two teams of which will compete in the final on June 1 while the third and fourth-placed teams will figure in the match for the bronze medal.

India are the most successful nation in Asia Cup having won the title thrice. India and Pakistan have last played each other in the Asian Champions Trophy 2021 which India won 4-3 to claim the bronze medal.

The Asia Cup is being held after a gap of two years as it was postponed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The top three teams at the end of the Asia Cup will qualify for next year's FIH Hockey World Cup, to be held in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. India have already qualified for the World Cup as the host.

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