Hosts India hardly broke the sweat, as they steamrolled Group B toppers Thailand 73-20, in a semi-final of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup, at the Transstadia, in Ahmedabad, on Friday.
Pradeep Narwal was the hero of the day, as India completely dominated the Thailand in the second semifinal.
Ahmedabad: Hosts India hardly broke the sweat, as they steamrolled Group B toppers Thailand 73-20, in a semi-final of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup, at the Transstadia, in Ahmedabad, on Friday.
On a day when the visitors were totally outclassed by the hosts, Pradeep Narwal conjured-up the highest individual score of the match, with the 14 points to his name. Meanwhile, the likes of Ajay Thakur (11) & Nitin Tomar (seven) also impressed in a one-sided game.
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India got off to the great start, with the captain Anup Kumar bagging a bonus point against Thailand, setting the tone for the rest matches. Consequently, a series of successful tackles and the raids resulted in India rushing to the five-point lead before Thailand could register their first point, which was earned after a successful raid by the skipper Khomsan Thongkham.
It did not take long for the hosts to run among their opponents, as Thailand were All Out at early stage, with then score 11-2. The Thailand team found it very difficult against an inform India side that looked especially sharp in the raiding department.
The Indians got the visitors All Out early on, with a score at 11-2, something that we were able to see five more times in the match.
Thailand managed to steal their score into double figures. However, that was not before Pradeep the Narwal marched into the Thai half, to complete the brilliant super-raid, earning his country three more points.
The battering was ruthless for Thailand, as India conducted one successful raid after the, in the match, finally inflicting the sixth All Out of the game upon a Group A toppers, with the score at 59-10.
India took their foot off from the pedal slightly, as the Thai side managed to claw back with 10 points in the last few minutes of play. The only comfort for Thailand, being that the Indians were not able to break the record that they had themselves set, a few days back.
India set the record for the highest number of point’s difference in the Kabaddi World Cup match – 54 points – after defeating the Argentina 74-20 last week. The way this match was going, it seemed as if the hosts would have easily beaten their own record. Though, that was not to be, as Thailand clawed a few points back, ending the match with the 20-73 loss – 53 point difference.
In the other semifinal match, Iran completed a hard-fought victory over to surprise Group a topper South Korea.
The Koreans were coming on the back of five match winning streak, & were always going to be a difficult challenge for Iran, who are along with India, are considered to be a Kabaddi powerhouse.
Iran captain & lead raider Meraj Sheykh was on form, scoring a seven raid points, while Abozar Mighani marshalled their defense, scoring with four points from tackles.
Though Sheykh opened the scoring with the do-or-die raid, it was Korea, who looked strong in the first half, inflicting an All Out upon the Iran, with a 10-4 lead
Yet, Iran is not a side that gives up that easily and mounted on the strategic comeback, that took them from a six-point to the two-point deficit at half time.
The Iranians used their superior defensive display to the strategically weed-out all the Korean defenders, & finally, in the second half, they managed to claw their way back level on the points, at 15-all, significantly inflicting an All Out upon Korea, in one fell sweep.
There was no looking back from then, as the Iranians went on to capitalize on a momentum, to keep the pressure on Korea in the second half. Iran, who’s style of Kabaddi is very deep-rooted in their traditional wrestling techniques, managed to keep themselves in a lead throughout the second half, as they brought down one of the Korean raiders after another.
Captain Meraj Sheykh also kept the pressure on Koreans at the other end with his successful raids. In the end, Iran’s defensive masterclass was too much for the Koreans to handle, as they have bowed out, after taking it the tournament by storm.
This means that the two traditional Kabaddi powerhouses – India & Iran – are all set to battle it out for the World Cup once again, on Saturday. This is the third consecutive time that the two countries will have to face each other in a World Cup final.
India came out victorious on both the previous occasions, but Iran believe that they have the best chance yet, of beating India, who suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of a South Korea in their first game.