India vs Afghanistan: Preview and Prediction
The Indian team has been in brilliant form so far as they have recorded comfortable victories over the likes of Nepal and Bangladesh under the leadership of Gaikwad. The likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shivam Dube, and Rinku Singh have shone with the bat while Ravi Bishnoi and Avesh Khan have been brilliant with the ball in hand so far in the Asian Games.
On the other hand, Afghanistan has also surprised the world of cricket by its performance. With the likes of Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi occupied in the ongoing World Cup with the rest of the first-choice side, the second-string side led by the experienced Gulbadin Naib has brushed aside Sri Lanka and Pakistan on the way to the final.
What have they done so far?
India commerced their 2022 Asian Games Campaign against Nepal, who blatantly thrashed Magnolia by 273 runs in their group stage match. However, Nepal failed to work similar magic against the Indian cricket team.
After winning the toss, the Men in Blue decided to bat first. Gaikwad and Jaiswal gave India a solid start with a 103-run partnership. Jaiswal scored an unforgettable century in just 48 deliveries. After the skipper was dismissed, Tilak Varma and Jitesh Sharma lost their wickets early in the match.
Nevertheless, Rinku Singh also gave a late cameo by scoring 37 runs off only 15 deliveries. As a result of the valiant efforts from the whole batting unit, India posted a target of 203 runs for Nepal. The Men in Blue eventually managed to grasp a comfortable victory over the neighboring country by 23 runs as Ravi Bishnoi and Avesh Khan took three wickets each.
In the next match, they squared off against Bangladesh. However, the Tigers also failed to give proper competition to India. Being only able to score 96 runs after 20 overs, the Men in Blue had a relatively low total to chase.
Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore took three wickets leaking only 12 runs in his complete spell. As the Indian opening pair came to bat, Jaiswal was dismissed for a duck. However, Gaikwad (40) and Varma (55) were enough to seal the victory for India in less than 10 overs.
On the other hand, Afghanistan faced Sri Lanka in their quarterfinal match of the 2022 Asian Games. Despite not getting a stable start, Afghanistan’s Noor Ali (51) and Shahidullah (23) managed to lead their side to a defendable total of 116.
When Sri Lanka came to bat, no other batsman than skipper, Sahan Arachchige managed to cross the 20-run mark. As a result of the batting failure, the Sri Lankan team lost the match by eight runs.
In the next match, Afghanistan played against Pakistan. The Green Shirts were batting first, however, they failed to settle their feet throughout the match. Fareed Ahmad took three wickets by giving away only 15 runs.
Pakistan eventually managed to score 115 runs in 18 overs, before getting all-out. Chasing the target, Noor Ali again stepped up to Afghanistan’s rescue by scoring 39 runs. Afghanistan’s skipper, Gulbadin Naib added the finishing touches and secured a victory for his side by four wickets.
Head to Head Record
The Men in Blue have faced Afghanistan in the shortest format of cricket on only four occasions. Consequently, India has managed to win on all occasions.
However, India and Afghanistan will be locking horns for the first time at the stage of the Asian Games and also at the ZJUT Cricket Field, which is situated in Hangzhou, Zhejiang.
Ruturaj Gaikwad (India): The skipper of the Indian cricket team, Ruturaj Gaikwad is playing a much greater role in the batting. The 26-year-old complimented Yashasvi Jaiswal’s aggressive inning by rotating the strike.
On the other hand, he also supported Tilak Varma with a 40-run innings against Bangladesh in the semi-final. Hence, the Indian is the player, who can be relied on during the big match.
Noor Ali (Afghanistan): Noor Ali has been the sole lynchpin in Afghanistan’s batting line-up. The 35-year-old made his debut for Afghanistan in 2009 against Scotland. However, he never got the opportunity to be a regular player in the main squad of the team.
Nevertheless, he found the chance to represent his nation at the 2022 Asian Games and he has managed to capitalize on the opportunity. In the first match, Ali scored 51 runs and in the semi-final, he played another reliable innings of 33 runs.
India: Ruturaj Gaikwad ©, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Rinku Singh, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, R Sai Kishore, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh
Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Sediqullah Atal, Afsar Zazai, Noor Ali Zadran, Gulbadin Naib ©, Shahidullah Kamal, Karim Janat, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Fareed Ahmad Malik, Zahir Khan, Qais Ahmad
The Indian cricket team is the favorite to win the men’s cricket gold medal in the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou. Afghanistan sank the likes of Pakistan, who were initially the favorites to reach the final and face Ruturaj Gaikwad’s Indian side.
Afghanistan can potentially overcome all the odds by defeating India, however, it’s highly unlikely to happen, considering the current form and depth of the Men in Blue.