Rain Saturday abandoned India-Afghanistan final match at Asian Games
Hangzhou, October 7, 2023 (IANS): Indian Men’s cricket team bagged a gold medal after rain abandoned the final match against Afghanistan at the Asian Games, here on Saturday.
Team India, by virtue of having a higher seeding, won the gold medal.
Earlier, the Harmanpreet Kaur-led Women’s team scripted history by winning the first cricket Gold in the Asian Games, and now Ruturaj Gaikawad’s side brought double glory to home.
In the grand final, Afghanistan batted first after Ruturaj Gaikwad decided to field first.
The start was not convincing for them as they lost three wickets early in the innings.
Zubaid Akbari was the first batter to get dismissed by Shivam Dube on 5. Then Arshdeep Singh dismissed Mohammad Shahzad on 4.
Noor Ali Zadran, the number three batter got run out on 1.
Afghanistan got to a better position when Shahidullah Kamal and Afsar Zazai took charge. Zazai was a bit slow but they made a partnership together. Ravi Bishnoi got the better of him at 15. Karim Janat, the next man in was also dismissed cheaply by Shahbaz Ahmed for 1.
When Afghans were 52 for 5, Shahidullah Kamal was joined by the experienced Gulabdin Naib. The duo started taking the spinners on and Shahidullah reached 49 hitting 3 boundaries and 2 sixes. Naib also batted well for his 27 off 24 balls hitting a couple of sixes and a solitary boundary.
For India, Ravi Bishnoi was the star bowler bowling at an economy of 3 per over and taking a wicket. Arshdeep Singh, Shivam Dube, and Shahbaz Ahmed shared three wickets between them.
Afghanistan was on 112 for 5 after the 18.2 overs when the rain interruption happened. The drizzle got heavier and it was impossible for the groundsmen to make the ground prepared for the match to resume.
The decision in the end went in India’s favour as they are a highly ranked team in the ICC Rankings as compared to Afghanistan.
India captain Ruturaj Gaikawad, after India won the gold medal by virtue of their higher ICC world ranking after their match with Afghanistan was abandoned due to rain didn’t seem pleased and stated, “It was pretty much disappointing. Obviously, we would have loved to have a full game and get a result through the full game, but it’s a thing we cannot control. The match officials came and told us around 5 p.m. I think we pretty much knew by then because the rain was getting heavier.”
“I think 140 or 150 is a pretty gettable target batting second because it’s a small ground and the kind of batting we have, we were pretty confident that even 150 would have been chased down.”
Gaikawad looked confident leading the Indian side on this big stage and wanted to continue it further with more enthusiasm, he said, “Being an India captain is always a lot of pressure because everyone expects the ultimate prize wherever you go, so I think it does come with a lot of expectations. At the same time, you have to make sure you focus on your team and not really think about the outcome of the game. (You need to) make sure you give as much freedom as possible to the players and back them to play their best cricket and fearless cricket.
“With this bunch of guys, they just made my job a little bit easier and for me. It’s more about the players than the captain. Whatever the captain decides, it’s up to the players to deliver, so I think everyone just delivered at the right stage.”
Afghanistan, meanwhile, has to settle for silver and, the opinion among many people here is that they were gifted the gold, and seeded into the quarterfinals. Victory on the basis of global ranking sounds as ludicrous as winning on boundary count. (IANS)