India and Afghanistan set for thrilling clash in Asian Games cricket final


In a historic showdown, India’s men’s cricket team, former T20 world champions, is poised to face Afghanistan in the final of the Asian Games 2023 men’s cricket tournament. This momentous event is scheduled to take place at the Zhejiang University of Technology Pingfeng Cricket Field in Hangzhou, China, on Saturday.
India’s journey in the Asian Games began in the quarter-finals, where they triumphed over Nepal with a 23-run victory. They continued their winning streak, convincingly defeating Bangladesh by nine wickets in the semi-finals. Bangladesh, who could only manage a total of 96/9 while batting first, faced formidable resistance from Indian spinners Sai Kishore (3/12) and Washington Sundar (2/15). Tilak Verma’s maiden T20 international fifty propelled India past the target in just 9.2 overs. The Indian men’s cricket team is determined to emulate the success of their female counterparts, who secured a gold medal on their continental debut by defeating Sri Lanka in the final last month. Afghanistan, two-time silver medallists at the Asian Games, also embarked on their Hangzhou 2023 campaign in the quarter-finals. They claimed a close-fought victory against Sri Lanka by eight runs and pulled off a remarkable upset win over former T20I world champions Pakistan in the semi-finals. After bowling out Pakistan for 115 runs, skipper Gulbadin Naib and Noor Ali Zadran guided the Afghanistan cricket team to a four-wicket victory. Notably, Afghanistan has reached the men’s tournament final at the Asian Games in all three editions where cricket has been featured. In previous encounters, India and Afghanistan have faced each other four times in T20I matches, with India emerging victorious on every occasion.
Former Zimbabwean cricketer Christopher Mpofu, in an exclusive interview on the DAFA NEWS cricket show on NewsX, shared statistics regarding this impending clash. He mentioned that Twenty20 cricket has been part of the Asian Games twice before, in Guangzhou in 2010 and Incheon in 2014, with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka being crowned champions. Afghanistan finished as runners-up both times, but India did not participate. Weather-wise, AccuWeather reports that Hangzhou is likely to experience occasional rain and drizzle in the morning on Saturday, October 7, with the rest of the day being cloudy and cool and an 80 percent chance of precipitation. However, the rain is unlikely to disrupt the India vs. Afghanistan Asian Games 2023 Final match. The pitch at the Hangzhou Cricket Ground is known to favor batsmen, but it also offers ample opportunities for fast bowlers and spinners to excel. Hence, a versatile bowling squad is crucial for success on this pitch. In the last two semifinal matches held at the venue, the winning teams won the toss and opted to bowl. Players to watch include Afghanistan’s Noor Ali Zadran, who has been their top batter with scores of 51 and 39 in two games, and India’s Ruturaj Gaikwad, who displayed promising form with a knock of 40 against Bangladesh. Ravi Bishnoi, with his formidable spin bowling, poses a significant threat and is a standout choice as India’s top bowler.