India won their third match on the trot with a smashing 74-20 win over minnows Argentina in their penultimate game of the group stage of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. The hosts inflicted the biggest defeat in the tournament (in terms of points) on World Cup debutants Argentina, who are still looking for their first win of the tournament.
Having scored a combined 100 plus points in their previous two matches, the home side came into this match on peak form. A concerning aspect plaguing all the upcoming Kabaddi teams including Argentina is the ease with which they concede bonus points. It was no different tonight.
The visitors began the match on the back foot from minute one. Their raiders looked devoid of ideas for most parts of the first half. The Indian defenders didn’t break a sweat while defending. But their tackles did look awkward as the Argentinian raiders struggled to escape from the death holds of Manjeet Chhillar and company.
The inform, Ajay Thakur then peeled his way from his defender to reduce Argentina to one man. No sooner, they suffered their first all out within five minutes of the match as India raced to a 13-3 lead.
Argentina did show glimpses of their defensive strength tackling Pardeep Narwal in his very first raid before taking out Sandeep Narwal, producing a super tackle on the all-rounder. But they certainly didn’t do enough in attack to warrant a tough match.
At the other end, Ajay Thakur gave the opponents a master class in how to raid. In the twelfth minute he pulled of a stupendous super raid peeling away from his tacklers as the crowd went bonkers inside the stadium.
Ten minutes in and Argentina suffered another all out. The score read 22-5 to India. If there was a remote chance that Lionel Messi was watching this match, he would have been utterly disappointed with the footwork displayed by his compatriots, especially while defending.
HT: India 36-13 Argentina
Ajay Thakur scored the first point of the second half, notching up his second super ten of the tournament. Surender Nada who came on then produced a beast of a tackle which was arguably the highlight of the match.
The Indians were dominating in all areas as they inflicted another all out to make it 45-13. Nahuel Lopez then produced an impressive raid to pick up two points. The Argentinian powered his way past the Indian chain.
Like in previous matches, Rahul Chaudhari seemed amused every time his side executed a successful tackle or raid. The Telugu Titans raider scored a quick two points to take the score to 50-15. He came back and scored another, displaying strength and speed.
He returned for a third time and single headedly inflicted yet another all out on Argentina, taking out two players. India scored 10 consecutive points without reply. The score read 60-15 with nine minutes remaining.
The smiling assassin, Rahul continued to toy with Argentina’s defence. All this while Argentina produced just 3 tackles points throughout the course of the match.
Special mention to Nahuel Villamayor. The Argentinian displayed quick feet and picked up 8 raid points on the night. The attacker could be a wise addition to the Pro Kabaddi League. He was the lone man on the mat before being tackled as his side suffered yet another all out. 68-17 to India with three minutes’ left on the clock.
The final minutes produced no magical moments from either side. India fell short by just a solitary point to match the Kabaddi World Cup’s record score of 75 points, which Poland amassed against the USA earlier in the campaign.
FT: India 74-20 Argentina
India will now play England in their final group stage match on 18th October with the winner taking a semi-final spot. Argentina, on the other end, will end their campaign with a tough tie against Bangladesh a day later.