Team India dominates Bangladesh, advances to Asian Games Cricket final with authority
In the second semi-final, Pakistan is set to face Afghanistan, and the victor will compete against India in the gold-medal match tomorrow.
(L) Ruturaj Gaikwad; (R) Tilak Varma (Via AFP)
Like the proverbial road roller crushing terra firma below, Team India put on a show of arrogance to crush Bangladesh by nine wickets and enter the cricket final at the Asian Games in Hangzhou on Friday.
Two boys who have been in the news often in 2023, Tilak Varma and Ruturaj Gaikwad, showed their firepower against Bangladesh in a low-scoring semi-final.
On this day, the weather was cold, and sunshine was absent. The track was also seemingly tough to bat on when Bangladesh had been put in. The way R Sai Kishore and Washington Sundar sliced through Bangladesh was remindful of a hot knife slicing through butter. For Bangladesh to put on a score below 100 was a disaster.
There was some happiness for Bangladesh when they got rid of Yashasvi Jaiswal early. If they thought that would be a tonic, the aggression on the show from Tilak and Ruturaj had to be seen to be believed. This is a small ground in Hangzhou. Whacking the white ball was not a problem, which is why sixes were galore when India batted.
A word of praise for these Indian cricketers who are sampling the Asian Games atmosphere for the first time in China. One can get overawed in this environment where there is so much to see. Yet, to show a professional approach and compete has been fresh.
A pressure-free batting display by Team India
The Indian cricketers have won trophies at various stages in their careers. Yet, the lure of an Asian Games medal is special. The medal is certain just that the color will be known on Saturday after the final. There were a few Indian flags aflutter in Hangzhou in a small stadium situated in a university.
Quite clearly, the gameplan was simple. Even after Yashasvi Jaiswal fell early, there was no pressure for the Indians. If anything, Tilak and Ruturaj were speeding like a Ferrari on a highway. Cricket fans were treated last night to a thriller from Devon Conway in Ahmedabad. Surely, the two Indians must have gained inspiration from that match in the World Cup opener.
To be sure, there is a huge difference in standards between India and Bangladesh in the second level. A half-ton for Tilak is proof he is not going to stop whacking runs till he barges into the main Team India soon. As for Ruturaj, he is using the chances that are coming his way. The key is to remain relevant and deliver.
If one talks of the bowlers, the Indian spin variety was spicy. Sai Kishore and Washington Sundar have that zest in them and the ability to exploit conditions. Boy, did they make life miserable for Bangladesh, spinning them out so magically?
Perhaps, the Indian cricket team can go and watch a few other sporting events today in Hangzhou. This is a big day.
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