South Asia

Bangladesh wins first Asian Games gold medal

Bangladesh cricket players celebrate their victory
Image caption Bangladesh ended the Afghan cricket team's dream

Bangladesh has won a first-ever gold medal in the Asian Games, with its cricketers defeating Afghanistan in the Twenty20 competition in China.

They defeated Afghanistan by five wickets in the men's final with just three balls to spare.

Bangladesh restricted Afghanistan to 118-8 but had some anxious moments in the reply before chasing down the total.

The Afghan cricketers made the final when they unexpectedly beat Pakistan.

The Bangladeshi captain said the pressure of playing in a final in a major tournament had been enormous.

The team's coach said Afghanistan's rise had been "remarkable".

"We are celebrating, but I hope Afghanistan will celebrate too because they deserve the silver medal," Imran Sarwar said.

"They are a very good side and I am sure they will become a top team in the near future."

Mohammad Shabbir hit successive straight sixes off the 19th over as Bangladesh raced to the winning target of 119.

Afghanistan's 118-8 off 20 overs was largely thanks to an unbeaten 38 off 36 balls by Mohammad Asghar and a battling 25 by Shabbir Ahmed.

"Afghanistan fought really hard, but it's exciting for us that we have won our first ever gold medal at the Asian Games," Shabbir said after the match.

Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by six wickets for the bronze medal.

India were the only senior cricketing nation in Asia not to send a side to Guangzhou.

The first team has been hosting New Zealand in a Test series, but critics said they should have sent a young squad in a bid to help develop the game in other parts of the continent where there is limited interest.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites