It's the same old story for Afghanistan. Bowlers get them into a great position, but the batsman let them down by displaying a complete lack of intelligence in their batting. Such was the case - again - in the Asian Games gold medal match today in Incheon, South Korea.

Batting first after winning the toss, Sri Lanka lost Upul Tharanga in just the second over of their innings, but recovered with Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne putting on 72 for the second wicket. That partnership ended when Chandimal was out for 33 in the 11th over, and Mohammad Nabi had Thirimanne out lbw for 57 in the next over.

Gulbadin Naib took the next two wickets in consecutive overs, and Afghanistan were back in the game, with Sri Lanka on 110-5 with less than five overs to go. The tail was dispatched without much trouble, with Mohammad Nabi taking three further wickets to finish with 4-18.

The final Sri Lankan wicket fell in the last over of their innings as they were bowled out for 133, with only three of their batsmen able to reach double figures. The target should have been one that the talented Afghan batsmen should have been able to chase easily.

Sadly though, they lacked the application and intelligence to go with their talent. Displaying poor shot selection almost throughout their innings, they were bowled out for just 65, only 10 runs more than the inexperienced South Koreans made against Sri Lanka the other day. Jeevan Mendis was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers with 3-13.

Whilst Afghanistan may be pleased with another silver medal, they really should be going home - or to New Zealand - with gold medals. They were in a winning position today, and their batsmen threw it away. They have done well to get to the final with so many players missing from a full strength side though, and will no doubt be angry that the ICC scheduled their World Cup preparation tour to coincide with the tournament.

A few of these players will now travel back to New Zealand for the remaining matches of that preparation tour, though they're unlikely to arrive in time for the match against Auckland tomorrow.

Earlier in the day, Hong Kong were unable to repeat their World Twenty20 win over Bangladesh in the bronze medal match, losing by 27 runs to the side that lost their semi-final on a coin toss yesterday.


Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan by 68 runs
Yeonhui Cricket Ground, Incheon, 3 October
Sri Lanka 133 (19.1 overs, L Thirimanne 57, Mohammad Nabi 4-18)
Afghanistan 65 (17.4 overs, J Mendis 3-13)

Bangladesh beat Hong Kong by 27 runs
Yeonhui Cricket Ground, Incheon, 3 October
Bangladesh 162-6 (20 overs, Shakib Al Hasan 46, Mahmudullah 35*, Nadeem Ahmed 3-36)
Hong Kong 135-7 (20 overs, M Chapman 38, Arafat Sunny 3-22)