Afghanistan the team to beat

Pre-tournament favourites Afghanistan will open their ACC Twenty20 Cup campaign with a tough match against Hong Kong on December 3, according to fixtures announced by the Asian Cricket Council.

Group A consists of Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Oman, Kuwait and Maldives, while Group B features the fancied Nepal side along with Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Bhutan and Saudi Arabia.

The tournament forms part of the qualifying process for ICC World Twenty20 2012 in Sri Lanka. The top three teams from this competition, in addition to Afghanistan who have pre-qualified, join the Associate teams with ODI in the 16-team ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier to be played in the UAE in early 2012.

The other regional teams in the qualifier will come from Europe (2), Africa (2), Americas (2) and East Asia - Pacific (1).