It may not have been a good day for the group of Afghan cricketers in New Zealand, but today was good for the group in South Korea, as Afghanistan have reached the Asian Games men's cricket final for the second time in a row after they beat Hong Kong in the first semi-final today in Incheon.

Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi won the toss and put Hong Kong into bat on a damp and overcast morning, with the weather having already delayed the start of play. Hong Kong struggled, with the Afghan bowling attack never allowing them to settle. Afghanistan were well on top when rain interrupted the Hong Kong innings with the score on 65-6 after 15 overs.

When play resumed, Hong Kong were able to bat out their remaining five overs, but could only score another 23 runs to take their total to 88-8. A further rain delay between innings meant that Afghanistan had to chase 72 in 15 overs.

Afghanistan started their run chase slowly, and were only on 13 when Karim Sadiq was bowled by Nizakat Khan in the fifth over. That wicket brought Mohammad Shahzad to the crease, and he certainly doesn't do his run scoring slowly. Shahzad proceeded to smash an unbeaten 41 from just 28 balls to take his team to an 8 wicket win in 11.3 overs.

The other semi-final saw 2010 gold medallists Bangladesh playing Sri Lanka. Bangladesh scored 59-3 in 11 overs before rain ended the match. Tournament playing conditions mandated that the game be decided by the tossing of a coin. Sri Lankan captain Lahiru Thirimanne correctly called tails, and Sri Lanka went through to the final.

The medal matches will take place tomorrow, with Hong Kong looking to have a repeat of their World Twenty20 win when they take on Bangladesh for bronze. Afghanistan will look to go one better than their 2010 silver when they play Sri Lanka for gold.


Afghanistan beat Hong Kong by 8 wickets (D/L)
Yeonhui Cricket Ground, Incheon, 2 October
Hong Kong 88-8 (20 overs)
Afghanistan 73-2 (11.3 overs, target 72, Mohammad Shahzad 41*)

Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by coin toss
Yeonhui Cricket Ground, Incheon, 2 October
Bangladesh 59-3 (11 overs)