Asian Games 2023 Final Highlights: India Won Gold After Rain-Interrupted Drama in Men’s Asian Games Final

Suresh Bishnoi
India Celebrating Asian Games 2023 Men's Cricket Gold Win (Photo: Twitter)

Asian Games 2023 Final Men’s Cricket: Inclement weather wreaked havoc on the men’s final at the Asian Games, resulting in only 18.2 overs of play before the game was prematurely abandoned. In a somewhat anti-climactic fashion, India clinched the gold medal by virtue of their higher seeding. The tournament, which had been fiercely competitive, culminated in a rather uneventful manner due to the uncooperative weather conditions.

Early Dominance by India

As the game kicked off earlier in the day, India had won the crucial toss and opted to field first. Arshdeep Singh, displaying the same brilliance he exhibited in the semi-final, made a significant impact. He skillfully utilized the conditions, making the cricket ball move remarkably, both through the air and off the surface. It was, however, Shivam Dube who initiated the breakthrough, inducing Zubaidi Akbari to mistime his slog to mid-on during the second over.

Arshdeep, in the very next over, secured his reward, disrupting Mohammad Shahzad’s comfort zone and forcing him to nick the ball, leading to a caught-behind dismissal. Shahzad, understandably discontent with the decision, had a case as replays later suggested that the ball brushed his right bicep rather than the bat or glove.

Afghanistan’s Unfortunate Mishaps

Afghanistan’s fortunes took a further hit during the fourth over when Noor Ali Zadran was caught up in a needless run-out. He struck the ball towards deep square leg but displayed sluggishness during the run, ultimately falling inches short of his crease at the striker’s end while attempting to complete a second run.

Afsar Zazai and Shahidullah embarked on a 37-run partnership for the fourth wicket, appearing set to accelerate the scoring rate in the middle overs. Unfortunately, Zazai was left flummoxed by a brilliantly-disguised Ravi Bishnoi googly during the 10th over. The delivery pitched just outside off and darted back, narrowly missing the inside edge and crashing into the stumps. Shahbaz Ahmed’s dismissal of Karim Janat in the following over left Afghanistan struggling at 52-5 after 10.5 overs.

Gulbadin Naib’s Resurgence

Afghanistan found their footing once their captain, Gulbadin Naib, strode out to the crease. His presence injected composure into their innings, as he forged a crucial 60-run partnership with Shahidullah, and they accomplished this feat off a mere 45 balls. The pair adeptly rotated the strike and capitalized on any loose deliveries.

Shahidullah concluded his innings with a resilient 43-ball 49, while Naib contributed 27 runs off 24 deliveries. Their partnership boosted Afghanistan to a total of 112-5 before the rains intervened. Ravi Bishnoi emerged as the standout bowler for India, conceding just 12 runs in his four overs while also bagging a crucial wicket. Arshdeep, Dube, and Shahbaz each contributed with a wicket of their own.

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