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Asiad cricket: India pummel Bangladesh to reach finals

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Hangzhou: India stormed into the finals of the Asian Games 2023 men’s cricket after beating Bangladesh in the semifinals at the Pingfeng Cricket Field by 9 wickets on Friday.

Batting first, Bangladesh were reduced to 96/9 in 20 overs, riding high on a fantastic spell from left-arm spinner Sai Kishore, who finished with figures of 3/12 in 4 overs. Right-arm off-spinner Washington Sundar also bagged two wickets.

In reply, a cracking partnership between Ruturaj Gaikwad (40* off 26 balls) and Tilak Verma (55* off 26 balls) saw India get past the paltry 97 runs target in 9.2 overs.

Captain Ruturaj Gaikwad won the toss and sent Bangladesh into bat, and this decision made a killing. The Bangladesh openers had their nose to the grindstone, and before the power plays went by, they lost three wickets.

Sai Kishore provided the breakthrough by dismissing Mahmudul Hasan Joy in the fifth over before Washington sent Saif Hassan and Zakir Hasan packing in the sixth.

Other spinners Ravi Bishnoi (1/26), Tilak Verma (1/5) and Shahbaz Ahmed (1/13), capitalised on double-paced pitch to curb the run flow of Bangladesh in middle overs.

A late charge by Jaker Ali (24* off 29 balls) and Rakibul Hasan (14* off 6 balls) helped Bangladesh post 96 runs in 20 overs.

In reply, Yashashvi Jaiswal lost his wicket early on but that did not daunt the Indian batsmen. Gaikwad and Tilak Verma rattled the Bangladeshi bowlers with array of boundaries.

Gaikwad started off with a boundary in the first over, and then pillaged 21 runs off Rippon Mandal in the third over.

Tilak Verma also did not fall behind, he capitalised on the short boundaries and field restrictions, and raked up the chase in aggressive fashion. The duo

raced to a 50-run stand in only 18 balls, taking India’s total to 67 in 5 overs.

Tilak Verma, playing his eighth T20 international, brought up his first half-century in 25 balls.

Post-powerplay, however, the duo put down their shoulders and played responsibly to take India past the victory line.

India will face the winner of the second semi-final between Pakistan and Afghanistan for the gold medal on Saturday.

Brief score: Bangladesh 96/9 in 20 overs (Jaker Ali 24*, Sai Kishore 3/12) lost to India (Ruturaj Gaikwad 40*, Tilak Verma 55*).

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