Ajay Thakur and Pardeep Narwal were in fine form as India ran riot against England to secure their spot in the semi-finals of the Kabaddi World Cup. At the end of forty minutes, the score read 69-18 to the men in blue.
The permutations and combinations were heavily stacked against England. India headed into Tuesday’s crunch encounter, having scored a massive 219 points in their four games. They had conceded only 94 points in return.
But India’s coach, Balwan Singh engaged in his pre-match ritual of praying, knew very well that an upset wouldn’t be farfetched. Having travelled more than 5,500 miles, the visitors were keen to put up a respectable show on the mat.
Defender, Dharmaraj Cheralathan executed a weak tackle to give the visitors an early 2-1 lead. But Sandeep Narwal eased his side’s nerves with an immaculate super raid to make it 5-2. The inform, Ajay Thakur then took out two players and reduced England to two men on the mat.
The inevitable transpired as the visitors were handed their first all out in the sixth minute. The score read 12-3 to India. Ajay continued to toy with England’s defence without breaking a sweat. Iran and Pro Kabaddi’s star all-rounder, Meraj Sheykh was studying India closely from the stands.
Captain, Anup Kumar decided to sit back for this match. He used himself sparsely and attempted just two raids in the first half to pick up a single bonus point. Pardeep Narwal ran riot. It almost seemed as if he and Ajay Thakur were in a friendly raiding battle of their own. Who would secure a super ten first?
They took turns to attack England and consistently picked up points. The visitors then suffered their second all out as India lead 33-5 with less than four minutes’ left. It was the Patna Pirates man, Pardeep who reached his super ten first. U Mumba defender, Surjeet then quietly secured a super 5 to give his side the biggest halftime lead of the tournament.
Half Time: India 45-6 England
India made 5 changes in the second half as coach Balwan Singh decided to test his bench. England’s raiders seemed nervous in their approach. They kept shuffling during their raids far away from the baulk line and posed minimal danger.
The home side reached the 50-point mark after 25 minutes as England were staring at yet another all out. Surjeet then tackled England’s lone raider as India now led 57-8. All this while England still hadn’t managed to notch up a single tackle point 30 minutes deep into the game.
The visitors finally reached the double figure mark with seven minutes remaining on the clock. India seemed to take the foot of the gas. Their raiders were content at times with empty raids. Special mention to Temi Tope Adewalure of England. He became the first raider to pick up 50 points in the Kabaddi World Cup.
The final minutes of the game didn’t produce any write worthy moments. With this win, India finished the group stage of the Kabaddi World Cup, positioned second behind Korea on the points table in group A . But more importantly, they become the third team to enter the final four of the competition.