India overwhelms Thailand to make 2016 Kabaddi World Cup final

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India overwhelms Thailand to make 2016 Kabaddi World Cup final

Posted on : Saturday 22nd of October 2016

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India toyed with Thailand to score a runaway 73-20 win and make a grand entry into the final of the Kabaddi World Cup at ‘The Arena’ here on Friday after Iran had defeated Korea 28-22 in the first semifinal.

A bonus point earned by Anup Kumar on his opening raid and quick points thereafter through a combination of raids and tackles were clear indications as to which way the match would head.

The first two all-out points were earned in the sixth minute, with the Thailand captain and last man standing Khomsan Thongkham sportingly shaking hands with Pardeep Narwal near the centre-line.

Then, a super-raid by Narwal that ejected Thongkham and two others led to a third all-out, with the entire Indian team pouncing on a hapless Santi Bunchoet.

In all, Thailand conceded six all-out points.

Pardeep Narwal who scored 14 points, Ajay Thakur with 11, Nitin Tomar who accounted for seven, and Anup Kumar and Surender Nada who tallied five each were the top performers for India.

It was skipper Meraj Sheykh who delivered the goods in a crunch match to paved the way for Iran’s entry into the final.

Trailing 4-11 at one stage and 11-13 at half time, Iran clawed its way back with Gholamabbas Korouki and Mohsen Maghsoudlou showing terrific skills in executing their raid plans, and Abozar Mighani effecting firm tackles.

While Iran found its teamwork falling in place and helping it pick up crucial points to bridge the gap, it was the electrifying display by Sheykh — who skilfully collected touch-points in quick succession by kicking with his right leg and stretching his right hand — that helped the team nose ahead.

Once it went up 16-15 early in the second half, the Asian Games silver medallist never trailed again in the match.

With Farad Milaghardan excelling in tackles and Kouruki too getting stuck in, Iran gained the upper hand even as Korea wilted away, especially with its star player Jang Kun Lee failing to make enough productive raids.

Eventually, it was the 11 tackle points that changed the game Iran’s way. Fazel Atrachali came up with an ankle-hold in the closing minutes that showcased Iran’s capacity to win defence points.

India will meet Iran in the final on Saturday.

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