Kabaddi World Cup is into its last stage, with two-time defending champions India taking on Iran who are eyeing a reversal of fortunes in the summit contests. Both teams reached the final in contrasting styles as Iran edged past South Korea 28-22 in a low scoring thriller while India thumped Thailand by a big 73-20 margin.
Here’s a closer look at India’s road to the final in the Kabaddi World Cup 2016.
India vs South Korea
India began their 2016 Kabaddi World Cup campaign in disappointing manner as they lost 32-34 to South Korea. A hushed silence fell as India crumbled under pressure in the last two minutes to lose their opener. Koreans looked down and out in the second half but it was Jang Kun Lee who produced a terrific performance in the last two minutes to turn the game in his team’s favour. Captain Anup Kumar scored eight points for India but it wasn’t enough for his team.
India vs Australia
India bounced back in style as they crushed Australia 54-20 to record their first win of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. After losing to Korea in their opening match, India needed to make a statement and they did it in an emphatic manner. In the match against Australia, India benched Rahul Chaudhari and Jasvir Singh and started with Pardeep Narwal and Sandeep Narwal in their place. Indian substitutes played a key role in the victory as the bench contributed 20 points. Ajay Thakur was top scorer for India and scored seven points – all scored after coming on as a substitute.
India vs Bangladesh
In what was a do-or-die situation for India after Iran won 33-28 over Kenya, the Anup Kumar-led unit displayed a solid effort of both offensive and defensive kabaddi to keep the team in the hunt for the semi-finals. India easily beat Bangladesh 57-20 with the second half a better showing of India’s might with the neighbours looking meek and tired as Pardeep Narwal and Ajay Thakur grew ever into the game. Narwal picked up eight raid points and Thakur picked up a combined 11 points to stand out for the Indian side that is picking up the pace after losing to South Korea on the opening night of the Kabaddi World Cup. Thakur picked up 10 raid points and a tackle point to finish with 11. To add to his effort, he was coming off the bench for Balwan Singh-coached India.
India vs Argentina
India won their third match in a row by defeating Argentina 74-20 as the home raiders flexed their muscles to notch a Kabaddi World Cup record 54-point margin win. India hardly broke sweat as Rahul Chaudhari and Ajay Thakur combined to score 25 raid points between them. Also, the duo clinched Super 10s with their brilliant raids while Manjeet Chhillar, Surjeet and Surender Nada scored High 5s – the highest in a match ever.
India vs England
India’s final group match against England ended with a big win, 69-18 being the final scoreline. With five all-outs inflicted on the English, the home team cruised to a comfortable victory without much hassle. Pardeep Narwal and Ajay Thakur bagged Super 10s, while Surjeet got an impressive High 5 in defence for the Indians.