Dubai: India sealed the semi-final spot, thrashing arch-rivals Pakistan 41-17 in Group A match of the Kabaddi Masters at the Al Wasl Sports Club here on Monday. This was India’s third consecutive win in this six-nation tournament and second win against Pakistan. Men-in-Blue will now face Kenya in a dead rubber on Tuesday.
It seemed like Pakistan had not learnt from their last defeat against India as they were making same mistakes on the mat. India, on the other hand, had a clear strategy of defending rather than to attack on their opponents half. Rishank, Girish, Mohit and skipper Ajay Thakur continued to impress as they outplayed Pakistan easily.
Commenting on the crucial tie, Indian coach Srinivas Reddy said: “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.
“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.
Some good defence from Mohit and Girish in the corners took few points and forced Pakistan to play with one man. Rohit took the task to inflict the first all out of the match and got rid of lone-man Nadeem to make it 12-3 in just 10 minutes of play.
With just three minutes left in the first half, Pakistan got another jolt when their skipper Nasir got injured and was replaced. India kept on swelling their 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. The change of ends saw some more brilliant and composed game by the Indian players.
Ajay, once again proved why is one of the best raiders in the country, when he inflicted an all-out in just five minutes of the second half play to make scoreboard read 25-11. There was no match of India in rest of the second half. Even the comeback of Nasir, who got injured, could not do anything impressive as India kept on taking points along with one more all-out towards the end to seal the issue comfortably.
In the other match, Iran also sealed their place in the semi finals, defeating South Korea 31-27 in a closely contested match. Korea squandered an early lead only to fight back in the second half but it was in vain. Mohammed Maghsoudlou scored 12 points and Mohammed Nabibaksh also contributed in attack and defence to lead Iran to victory. Jang Kun Lee scored seven points and Dong Ju Hong scored five points for Korea.