India outclass Pakistan in Kabaddi Masters Opener
India stood up to their reputation, thrashing Pakistan 36-20 in the opening match of the Kabaddi Masters Dubai at the Al Wasl sports club here on Friday.
The Ajay Thakur-led side started off sensibly, gauging the weakness and strength of Pakistan in the initial minutes before thrashing their arch-rivals to notch up a tsunami of points.
Reeling under pressure, Pakistan gifted away some easy points as they lacked any co-ordination and confidence on the mat. India will now take on Kenya in their second match on Saturday
Both teams started on a positive note but after few minutes, Pakistan sent back India’s star raider Rahul Chaudhary to take an one point lead. But Indian skipper Thakur equalised handsomely through a gentle touch on the opponents side. At one point, India got a chance to reduce the opponents to three players but Sandeep failed to dog so.
With both teams registering points one after the other, Chaudhary led India’s defence to take a four-point lead with just seven minutes to go in the first half. He stood up to his reputation and pressurised the Pakistanis to that extent that one player stepped out from the playing area to hand India one point.
A comfortably placed India then had the excellent opportunity to get Pakistan all out and they did that in style. Rohit, who was the substitute for Surjeet, came for the raid and inflicted an all-out to make it 14-8 with only four minutes remaining. In the 18th minute, Rohit got a brilliant opportunity to make his opponents reel on the floor and he made it with an excellent raid to force Pakistan to play with one player.
By the time, the first half ended India deservingly made a lop-sided affair with a whopping 22-8 lead. The change of sides saw Thakur making it worse for Pakistan as he inflicted another all out in the opening second of the second half.
It was clearly visible that the Pakistan players were feeling the heat as they gifted some easy points, helping India swell their lead to 27-8. But Pakistan did not give up easily, threatening India by getting four players out but Chaudhury splashed water on their plans and took some crucial points to maintain the lead.
Towards the end, Pakistan managed to sneak in a few points but that was not enough to overhaul India’s lead as the Thakur-led side kicked off their campaign in style. Despite having a good side, Pakistan lost the issue, Asked about on which front Pakistan lacked, India coach Srinivas Reddy said: “Our raiders are better than Pakistan and that is the only difference between both the teams.”
He also said that this Indian side has a strong bench strength which also helped in Friday’s match and will help in the upcoming matches. In other match, Iran produced a clinical all-round performance to beat South Korea 35-20.
Iran’s raiders and defenders combined well whereas South Korea’s over reliance on their star man Jang Kun Lee was exposed. Lee scored 10 raid points whereas his teammates could muster just three raid points combined.
For Iran, Mohammed Malak scored six tackle points and marshaled the defence superbly. Mohammed Nabibbaksh and Mohammed Magshoudlou were the key raiders for Iran.
Earlier, India’s Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore unveiled the trophy in presence of Bollywood actor and Jaipur Pink Panthers Kabaddi club owner Abhishek Bachchan. (IANS)