In the final, Afghanistan was put into bat and found themselves at 112 for five when rain intervened at Zheijang University of Technology Cricket Field on Saturday. Unfortunately, no further play was possible, leading to India being awarded the gold medal due to their superior world ranking.
This no-result situation meant that Afghanistan had to settle for the silver medal, marking their third consecutive Asian Games silver after their efforts in 2010 and 2014. Cricket was not part of the 2018 edition in Jakarta.
Malik, with experience in 15 ODIs and 28 T20s in his Afghanistan cricket career, had played a pivotal role in the victory over Pakistan in the low-scoring semifinal, posting impressive figures of three wickets for 15 runs in three overs.
“Aadha aadha kaat dena chaiye tha (laughs). The gold should have been shared as the game was abandoned. Awarding on the basis of rankings, lets just say it wasn’t ideal. Match hota to maza aata. It would have been a lot of fun,” Malik, who linked up with the Afghanistan team on Tuesday, told PTI.
Sharing the medal is not unprecedented in multi-sport events. Legendary Italian high jumper Gianmarco Tamberi and Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim had shared gold in the Tokyo Olympics after both jumped 2.37 metres. However, that competition was not hit by weather like the Asian Games cricket final.
Malik, team’s skipper in the 2019 World Cup Gulbadin Naib, and Sharafuddin Ashraf arrived together from China and were part of the nets on Tuesday. Malik, the 29-year-old from Jalalabad, bowled with full intensity to the in-form Rahmanullah Gurbaz and hurried the opener on a few occasions.
Talking about the experience of playing in a non-cricket nation like China, Malik said: “It was nice but people in the stadium did not have a lot of knowledge about the game. They were clapping for everything whether someone got out or when a six was hit.”
The food was an issue in China but Malik and his team members were able to find a Muslim restaurant in the vicinity.
“Nahi toh masla ho jata (it could have been an issue),” he added.
(With PTI Inputs)