It was an anti-climactic end to the men's final between India and Afghanistan at the Asian Games as rain only allowed 18.2 overs of play before the match was abandoned. India were awarded the Gold medal by virtue of being the higher-seeded team in the tournament.
The Ruturaj Gaikwad-led side had earlier defeated Nepal in the quarterfinals by 23 runs, where Yashasvi Jaiswal starred with a blistering 100 off 49 deliveries, becoming the youngest Indian to hit a T20I century.
India then hammered Bangladesh by nine wickets in the semifinals, chasing 97 in 9.2 overs after R Sai Kishore picked 3 for 12 in four overs.
How the Asian Games final panned out?
Talking about the Asia Cup final, India won the toss and chose to field first. Left arm seamer Arshdeep Singh set the tone early, moving the ball both in the air and off the surface. Shivam Dube landed the first blow in the second over, removing Zubaidi Akbari who mistimed his slog to mid-on.
Arshdeep reaped his reward in his next over, cramping Mohammad Shahzad off a hard length delivery and having him caught behind. Shahzad wasn't happy with the decision, and replays showed that the ball flicked his right bicep. Afghanistan were reduced to 12 for 3 in the fourth over, with Noor Ali Zadran getting run out while trying to complete the second run.
Afsar Zazai and Shahidullah added 37 runs for the fourth wicket and were looking set to put the accelerator on. However, Zazai could not read a googly from Ravi Bishnoi in the 10th over and had his stumps dismantled. In the next over, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed cleaned up Karim Janat to leave Afghanistan reeling at 52 for 5.
Team India have won the GOLD medal at the #AsianGames! After a string of dominating performances, the Men in Blue started off strongly in the final but rain forced a no result. Due to higher seedings, India have topped the charts, while Afghanistan ended winning the SILVER medal. pic.twitter.com/C6uClV9uai— AsianCricketCouncil (@ACCMedia1) October 7, 2023
Afghanistan had a partnership going once again after captain Gulbadin Naib joined Shahidullah in the middle. The pair added a 60-run unbroken stand for the sixth wicket in just 45 balls. The duo rotated the strike well and punished any loose deliveries.
When the match was stopped due to rain, Afghanistan had made 112 for 5, with Shahidullah unbeaten on 49 off 43 while Naib on 27 not-out in 24 balls. For India, Bishnoi was the pick of the bowlers for India, taking 1 for 12 runs in his four overs while Arshdeep, Dube and Shahbaz also bagged a wicket each.
Despite the washout, India ended with the Gold due to a higher seeding in the Games. It was their first medal in the men’s cricket in history.
Earlier, Bangladesh stunned Pakistan in a rain-shortened contest to clinch the bronze medal and complete the podium for men's cricket competition. After being given a revised target of 65 in five overs, Bangladesh lost two wickets in the first three balls.
Yasir Ali then smashed 34 off 16 while Afif Hossain made 20 off 11. Needing 20 in the final over, Yasir hit 16 off the first four balls before getting bowled. Rakibul Hasan struck a four off the final delivery to complete a memorable victory.
The Indian women’s cricket team also bagged Gold in the competition.