On Monday, India grabbed herself the semi-final spot, thrashing arch-rivals Pakistan 41-17 in Group A match of the Kabaddi Masters at the Al Wasl Sports Club, Dubai. With this victory too in hands, this would be India’s third consecutive win in this six-nation tournament and second win against Pakistan. Next in line, India will face Kenya in a dead rubber today.
Pakistan was at the receiving end of end of defeat once again by making the same mistakes from their last match against India. We, on the other hand, had a clear strategy of defending rather than to attack on their opponents half. As per a report in Free Press Journal, Rishank, Girish, Mohit and skipper Ajay Thakur continued to impress as they outplayed Pakistan easily. Indian coach Srinivas Reddy commented on the clear blow by the Indian team and told IANS, “I knew the margin will be bigger this time. This time is was completed effort. Rohit’s raid completely changed the match. I just asked by players to enjoy the match and that provided us the result.” He further said, “Our strength is raid. We have best raiders in the world. I asked my boys that every raid is a do-or-die and that paid off,” he added. Coming back to the match, Both teams started off on a good note but India slowly took two points lead through Ajay.”
According to the report in Free Press Journal, plenty of good defence from Mohit and Girish in the corners took few points and also forced Pakistan to play with one man. During the match, Rohit had taken up the task of inflicting the first all out of the match. He also got rid of the lone-man Nadeem, to make it 12-3 in just 10 minutes of play. As the first half of the match was coming to an end, in the final three minutes, Pakistan got another jolt when their skipper Nasir got injured and was replaced. India kept on bulling ahead her lead through some brilliant defending while Pakistan struggled to hold India. At the end of the first half, it was 18-9 in favour of India. Thereafter, the change of ends saw some more gleaming and composed game by the Indian players.
Indian kabbadi star, Ajay once again proved his mete and as to why he is one of the best raiders in the country by inflicting an all-out in just five minutes of the second half play to make scoreboard read 25-11. The rest of the second half saw no match of India. Even the comeback of Nasir, who had got injured during the first half, could not do anything remarkable or striking, as India kept on taking points along with one more all-out towards the end to seal the issue comfortably.
Apart from the Indo-Pak match, in the Iran vs. South Korea match, Iran sealed its place in the semi finals, defeating South Korea 31-27 in a closely contested match. Korea misspent an early lead only to fight back in the second half but it went in vain. The match saw Iran’s player, Mohammed Maghsoudlou score 12 points and another Iranian player, Mohammed Nabibaksh also contribute spectacularly well in attack and defence to lead Iran to victory. South Korean player, Jang Kun Lee scored seven points and Dong Ju Hong scored five points for Korea.
Having grabbed the hot seat in the semi-finals, all eyes are on the cup and India has high hopes of bringing the cup home.