Kabaddi World Cup 2016: Thailand rally late, set India semi-final date

Thailand seal semifinal berth with Iran from Pool B as they edge past Japan 37-33 on Wednesday.

Written by Shahid Judge | Ahmedabad | Published:October 19, 2016 11:37 pm
thailand-m Thailand’s superior point average 82 to Iran’s 71 helped the Thais to top the Pool B standings.

Thailand it is. Even after the Japanese led for a majority of the game, Thailand had to wait till the 37th minute – the last four of play – to get the lead that they wouldn’t relinquish, eventually winning 37-33. As such, the South East Asian team became the last to book a semi-final berth, joining Iran, South Korea and hosts India.

As such, the South East Asian team became the last to book a semi-final berth, joining Iran, South Korea and hosts India.

The result put Thailand level on points with Iran, who had lost to Poland in their last Group B match. Yet based on Thailand’s superior point average – 82 to Iran’s 71 – the Thais topped the group. As such, and more importantly from the point of view of the hosts, India will avoid playing Iran in the semi-final. Instead, India will play Thailand for a spot in the final, while Iran take on the Koreans, who had beaten India in the opening match of the tournament.

Instead, India will play Thailand for a spot in the final, while Iran take on the Koreans, who had beaten India in the opening match of the tournament.

On the night though, the youngest team of the tournament required the inspiration of their 24-year-old skipper Khomsan Thongkham, who gave his team the lead in the 37th minute. The six-footer did however, have a slow start to the game, managing empty raids in each of his first three attempts. At the end of the match however, he ended up topping the leaderboard for most number of raid points amassed by a player in the Ahmedabad-based event, 53 from five matches.

At the same time, Thailand’s cover defender Peeradach Jantajam played a significant role, especially when, as the only player left on the mat, he brought down Japan’s Makoto Sawazu in a one-on-one scenario that normally has the defender offer surrender points.

Japan though did find significant contributors through their all-rounder Kazuhiro Takano and right-corner defender Takamitsu Kono.

The Thai players meanwhile were playing with black armbands to mourn the death of their King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed away last week. The team has now qualified for the World Cup semi-final for the first time in the three editions of the tournament.