Bangladesh cricketers won their nation's first ever Asian Games gold medal by
ending Afghanistan's dream run in the inaugural final on Friday. Mohammad
Ashra-ful's men ensured their place in history with a five-wicket victory in a
thrilling Twenty20 final in front of 2,000 excited spectators at the Guanggong
The Afghan bravehearts, who had stunned Pakistan by 22 runs
in Thursday's semi-final, fought till the end despite being restricted to 118-8
after they won the toss and elected to bat.
Bangladesh were reduced to 75-5
by the 16th over, before the sixth-wicket pair of Naeem Islam and Mohammad
Shabbir put on an unbeaten 44-run partnership to secure a memorable win.
19 needed off 12 balls, the pair hammered 17 runs in the penultimate over bowled
by off-spinner Karim Sadeq, including two towering sixes by Shabbir, to seal
Naeem returned unbeaten on 34 and Shabbir smashed 33 not
out off 18 balls to clinch victory that will spark wild celebrations in the
cricket-mad South Asian nation.
Afghanistan, a non-Test playing nation, took
part in the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean this year and narrowly missed
qualifying for the 2011 World Cup.
Naeem had earlier taken two wickets for
eight runs from three overs to keep Afghanistan down to a modest
Afghanistan were 66-6 by the 13th over, before Mohammad Asghar revived
their chances with an unbeaten 38 off 36 balls, sharing a crucial stand of 44
for the seventh wicket with Shabbir Ahmed (25).
Asghar boosted the total with
16 runs in the 17th over bowled by Nazmul Hossain that included a massive six
over the straightfield.
Pakistan, meanwhile, clinched the bronze medal with
an emphatic six-wicket win over Sri Lanka. Skipper Khalid Latif led Pakistan's
charge with an unbeaten 53 off 42 balls which helped his team overtake Sri
Lanka's 135 all out with two overs to spare. Sri Lankan captain Jehan Mubarak
dismissed suggestions his team, with 11 international players in their ranks,
took the tournament lightly. "Not at all, we all wanted to win, but I think we
did not adapt to the conditions quickly enough," he said.