Sai Kishore, Washington Sundar shine as India rout Bangladesh to qualify for gold-medal match in Asian Games 2023
India, who made their debut appearance in the discipline at the Asiad this edition, will now vie for the the elusive gold medal.
If the Nepal match was a test of survival in the quarterfinals of men's cricket in 2023 Asian Games, the semifinal match against Bangladesh was of stark contrast as India made a light work of the 2010 champions to make the final for the first time ever in history. The combination of Sai Kishore and Washington Sundar helped India fold Bangladesh for a paltry 97 before the second-wicket pair of Tilak Varma and captain Ruturaj Gaikwad comfortably chased it in just 56 balls, scripting a nine-wicket win. India, who made their debut appearance in the discipline at the Asiad this edition, will now vie for the the elusive gold medal.
It was indeed a good toss which Gaikwad won after the early morning rain in Hangzhou and the ply to play that extra spinner on the moisture-laden track too seemed to have turned out perfectly for India. The wicket was sticky and was difficult to play the shots as India trouble Bangladesh batters with 16 overs of spin with Sundar (2/15), Kishore (3/12) and Ravi Bishnoi (1/26) bowling their full quota of four overs while the likes of Tilak (1/5) and Shahbaz Ahmed (1/13) bowled two each, picking eight wickets between themselves.
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Kishore opened the floodgates in the fifth over with the dismissal of opener Mahmudul Hasan Joy before Sundar struck twice in the final over of the powerplay to send Bangladesh three down for just 21. The two-time Asian Games medallist failed to counter the spin attack from India as wickets fell at regular interval. Only three men reached double figures - Jaker Ali's 24* was the highest score while Parvez Emon made 23 and Rakibul Hasan scored 14 off 6 - as Bangladesh set a paltry target of 97.
There as a moment of immediate joy for Bangladesh at opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, who had scored a ton against Nepal in the previous game, was dismissed for a four-ball duck in the very first over, but the pair of Gaikwad and Tilak ensured no more wickets fell for India as they stitched a 97-run unbeaten stand to successfully complete the chase with 10.4 overs to spare. Gaikwad smashed 40* off 26 while Tilak scored a fifty en route to his 26-ball 55*.
India will now await their opponent for the gold-medal match with Pakistan slated to face Afghanistan in the second semifinal later on Friday. Bangladesh meanwhile will be hoping to retain their bronze when the face the losing side from the other semifinal game.
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