India take on Argentina today in a Group A clash that could seal their place in the semi-final of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. Argentina, having lost all three games they have played, will be looking to post maiden win of the tournament in possibly their toughest match so far. Both teams will have contrasting approaches and targets in mind when they enter The Arena by TransStadia in Ahmedabad tonight.
The tournament began on a shocking note for the Indian team when they were stunned by South Korea in their first match. A couple of matches later, India are finally getting into the groove and their performance against Bangladesh was a much-needed statement from a team that looks invincible on paper. Many had expected Bangladesh to give India run for its money but it ended up being a one-sided contest with India winning 57-20.
Ajay Thakur, Manjeet Chhillar and Pardeep Narwal were destroyers-in-chief for India and combined to stifle the Bangaldeshi defence and attack. The combination of Narwal and Thakur took the game away from Bangladesh while Manjeet Chhillar’s solidity in defence showed exactly why he is regarded as India’s premier defender. Mohit Chhillar and Surender Nada, who had been pretty subdued in the first two games, showed glimpses of their prowess as a duo for a short spell.
Argentina are yet to win a game at the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup and their job does not get easier when they face India. The South American nation, alongside USA, is probably the weakest team in the tournament and this will be nothing but a learning curve for them. Interestingly, Argentina, in all the three games played, have ended up conceding 68 points, which is quite a coincidence.
Their best performance came against Australia when they scored 45 points and showed some potential. The game against India will be their biggest test of the tournament and if they are not careful, the home team could run a riot. India could give a run to Rahul Chaudhari, who has not enjoyed the best tournament till now and Argentina need to be wary of the threat he poses.
India will go into the game against Argentina as overwhelming favourites and rightly so. The game, eventually, could turn out to be about how much damage India causes to Argentina. This will also be a good game for India to give a chance to Rahul Chaudhari, Mohit Chhillar and Surender Nada by bringing them in the starting line-up so that they are match ready before the semi-finals.
Argentina will need to play way out of their league to even make this a close contest but their attacking prowess, which was on display during the match against Australia, could cause some concerns for the Indian defence, which has not looked too comfortable barring the game against Bangladesh. Defence is the biggest problem for Argentina and stopping the likes of Pardeep Narwal, Rahul Chaudhari and Anup Kumar will be difficult for them.
Verdict: India to beat Argentina by margin of 35+
Venue: The Arena by TransStadia, Ahmedabad
Time: 21:00 IST
Live Telecast: Star Sports 2, Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD2, Star Sports HD3, Hotstar
India: Anup Kumar (Captain), Rahul Chaudhari, Manjeet Chhillar, Jasvir Singh, Deepak Niwas Hooda, Pardeep Narwal, Mohit Chhillar, Surender Nada, Surjeet, Ajay Thakur, Dharmaraj Cheralathan, Kiran Parmar, Nitin Tomar, Sandeep Narwal
Argentina: Sebastian Elias Desocio (Captain), Eugenio Fernando Petermann, Facundo Nahuel Jios, Federico Ezequiel Gramajo Ochotta, Julian Andres Perez, Nestor Mariano Pascual, Facundo Nahuel Lopez, Nahuel Alejandro Villamayor, Jorge Daniel Barraza, Matias Martin Martinez, Rafael De Jesus Acevedo Coronel, Aldo Roman Cesaro, Luis Sebastian Canencia, Franco Emanuel Castro