Gifted an armchair ride by Asian Games organisers, India have taken gold in the men’s cricket as the rain-hit T20 final against Afghanistan was decided by the superpower’s superior global ranking.
Afghanistan, ranked 10th in the ICC’s T20 rankings versus world number one India, were left with silver on Saturday and powerless to do anything about it after rain halted the match when they were 112 for five after 18.2 overs of the first innings.
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With India unable to bat a minimum five overs, play was abandoned soon after 5pm local time (09:00 GMT), leaving Ruturaj Gaikwad’s team to celebrate victory by default.
Deciding results based purely on teams’ global rankings is almost unheard of in cricket, let alone for finals in major tournaments.
Most allow spare days so that deciders can be completed if rain washes out play in the original match.
If no spare days are provided, a winner is generally declared via tie-breaking criteria based on a team’s performances within the tournament they are playing.
Twenty20 cricket has been played at the Asian Games twice before, at Guangzhou 2010 and Incheon 2014, with Bangladesh and then Sri Lanka crowned men’s winners.
Afghanistan were runners-up both times, but India did not take part.
The rankings rule also helped India’s gold medal-winning women’s team reach the semifinals after rain washed out their quarterfinal against Malaysia. India went on to beat Sri Lanka by 19 runs to be crowned women’s champions last week.
Bangladesh take bronze
Rain also hit the men’s bronze medal playoff won by Bangladesh against Pakistan but held off long enough to at least ensure a contest between the teams.
It turned out to be a thriller as a last-ball four from Rakibul Hasan secured the win, the Bangladeshis having chased down 65 runs in five overs in a victory target adjusted by the Duckworth-Lewis method.
The chase began disastrously, with Pakistan quick Arshad Iqbal removing Bangladesh opener Zakir Hasan and captain Saif Hassan for ducks in the first three balls.
But Afif Hossain (20) steadied the innings with number four Yasir Ali (34), who went on a slogging spree to drive Bangladesh to the brink of victory.
Needing 20 runs in the last over, Yasir smashed 16 of them, including two sixes, in the first four balls before being bowled by Sufiyan Muqeem.
Rakibal then whacked Muqeem to the boundary on the last ball to condemn Pakistan to a medalless tournament.
Source: News Agencies