Published: November 27, 2017 8:49 am
For the second time in a week, Ajay Thakur proved to be the decisive man for India over Pakistan as the world champions edged the neighbours 36-22 to win the Asian Kabaddi Championship gold medal in Gorgan, Iran on Sunday.
Thakur produced a match-winning showing as India dominated the final completely and Pakistan never came close to bothering Rambir Singh Khokkar-coached side. Sandeep Narwal returned to India’s line-up ahead of Mohit Chhillar who had played in the semifinal against South Korea the same day.
Narwal repaid his coach’s faith with a solid performance on the right corner position and cancelled out any plans Pakistan made of attacking from that side. However, it was Thakur’s raiding skills that got India over the winning line and kept Pakistan team at arm’s length. His attacking spree gave India a strong start and ruined any plans the men in green may have had of exacting revenge of their 18-44 defeat in the group stages.
At half time, India led 25-10 and showed no signs of letting go of their lead. With the game more-or-less in the bag, India had to ensure they remain steady in the second half and keep Pakistan away from scoring big raids – and that is exactly what they did.
India brought in all their experience into the second half as Pardeep Narwal and Maninder Singh chipped in with useful raid points to help Thakur’s cause as well. In the end, India had ensured a comfortable 14 point margin to be crowned champions of Asia.
Earlier in the group stages, Thakur had scored 12 raid points and Maninder Singh chipped in with 11 points to give India a resouding 44-18 victory over Pakistan. Of those 44 points, 30 points came via raids thus highlighting the attacking nature emphasised by the team. In their previous group games, India beat Iraq 61-21, Japan 82-16 and Afghanistan 103-25.
India women beat South Korea for title
Besides the men, the women too triumphed in the women’s side of things at the Asian Kabaddi Championship after beating South Korea 42-20 in the final. India started brightly and kept the score ticking with multiple touch points and took a narrow but deserved 19-12 lead at half time.
In the second half, India increased the tempo and intensity to add more points to the tally and made things tougher for their Asian counterparts. A second all-out soon after the breather killed the game as a contest as the Banani Sahi-coached India ran off with the win by 22 point margin.
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