India's Arshdeep Singh
India's Arshdeep Singh (2nd-L) celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad (R) in the men’s final cricket match during the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang province on October 7, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

Hangzhou: Gifted an arm-chair ride by Asian Games organisers, India took gold in the men's cricket on Saturday 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 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.

With India unable to bat a minimum five overs, play was abandoned soon after 5pm local time (0900 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.

The rankings rule also helped India's gold medal-winning women's team reach the semi-finals after rain washed out their quarter-final against Malaysia.

Bangladesh bag bronze

Rain also hit the 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 medal-less tournament.