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2016 Kabaddi World Cup: India set up final date with Iran, defeat Thailand 73-20

India achieved a thumping victory over Thailand, defeating them by a massive margin of 53 points.

Thailand’s Tin Phunchoo is brought down by the mighty Indian defense

The semi-finals of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup saw the host nation and title contenders India edging out the young brigade of Thailand 73-20. While the Indian team were the firm favourites to clinch the clash against a relatively experienced Siamese squad, the latter went down convincingly without even posing a challenge.

While both teams exemplified passion for the sport, it was India who emerged on top largely due to the efforts of their star-studded line-up featuring the likes of Ajay Thakur, Pardeep Narwal, Manjeet Chhilar, Surender Nada; all led by the mercurial skipper Anup Kumar. 

The match started off on the right note for the home side when the captain won the toss, and himself went into raid to claim a bonus point, which was followed by a successful Pardeep Narwal effort. The Manjeet-Surjeet combine then brought down Wichian on his raid to get the early 3-0 lead for the hosts.

As for Ajay Thakur, he picked up right from where he left off in the match against England to claim two points of two raids in just the 5th minute of the match to make it 6-1. The errors came thick and fast from the Thais as they suffered an ALL-OUT in the sixth minute itself, the skills of the Indian players were misconstrued by the visitors big time as they lagged 11-2. 

11 minutes into the game, India led the fixture 19-3 with every player coming into play, the fans witnessed an Anup Kumar bonus, a strong Surjeet dash, a thigh hold from Manjeet Chhillar and touch points from Pardeep Narwal.

Thailand’s skipper and danger man Khomsan also seemed to be flummoxed with the proceedings as he spent majority of the time off the court. Surender Nada then showed intent when he grappled down the sole Thai ranger on a tackle to enforce the second ALL-OUT and take the scoreboard to 24-3 in the 13th minute.

Something unusual unfolded in the next minute, when Ajay Thakur was tackled by Tin and Wichian managed to sneak in a touch on Anup Kumar to help his team to 6 points as against India’s 25. 

A strong body block from Surjeet sent all-rounder Khunakon packing to the bench in the 16th minute and effectively brought back the tall talisman, Ajay Thakur back on the mat. And if anything was left to be showcased, it was a stunning Super Raid from Pardeep Narwal in the 17th minute which reduced the Thailand team to just one man on-court who was then brought down by left corner Surender Nada to inflict what was a third ALL-OUT, the score 33-7 in favour of the hosts!

The Indians seemed to be on an altogether different level of their own as they went into the break 36-8, with a massive lead of 28 points! 

HALF TIME: India 36-8 Thailand

With one feet already in the finals, India began the second half with an ALL-OUT early on and Ajay Thakur racing to his fourth consecutive Super Ten in the 21st minute itself. The hosts put in number of substitutes, one of them being Mohit Chhillar who put in an exemplary knee hold on Tin Phunchoo in the 23rd minute to make it 44-8.

Pardeep Narwal, another man gunning for glory, also claimed his Super Ten with a running hand touch in the 24th minute! A string of ALL-OUT’S seemed to be the story of the match, since the Thai team suffered yet another one this time off an ankle hold from the atypical Rahul Chaudhari for he is a particularly a raider in his own right, the scoreboard ticking for India, 51-8.

Narwal can be brutal, the Super Raid in the 27th minute stands a testimony to that claim since he picked up three quick points before being brought down in his next raid, two minutes later, off a back hold, the score pegged at 55-10. 

The Thailand team looked all but clueless in front of the Indian team who had come out all guns blazing. The 30th minute witnessed skills galore, from Nitin Tomar as he executed a Super Raid using the lobbies to perfection, on the other shore it was Surender Nada who claimed his High 5 when he put in yet another successful tackle.

The Thai team surrendered another ALL-OUT, their sixth of the match in the 31st minute to push the score to 62-10 in favour of India. In the 35th minute, the young Chanwit Wichian got a rare touch point off the 40-year old Indian youngster Cheralathan, but he was quick to return on court courtesy of a two point raid from local boy Kiran Parmar to take the score to 66-12.

Wichian, however, was not to be silenced, as he came back in the 36th minute to put in another two point raid and send Manjeet Chhillar on the bench and take his team 14 points against India’s 68. With just about two minutes to go for the close of play, the Thai team seemed to come back, when they sent Anup and Manjeet off the court with successful raids while the defense brought down Nitin Tomar to take the score to 71-19.

However, It was India who had the last laugh, with Kiran Parmar claiming the last and final point for the hosts, 73 against 20 to hammer the final nail in the Thai coffin.

FULL TIME: India 73-20Thailand

The most awaited clash of the tournament is now all set for the finals on Saturday wherein India have successfully set up a date with the challengers from Middle East, Iran. Both the teams have already put forth a statement of intent with their performances, but the home fans can surely take a lot of heart from Anup Kumar’s words when he said that, "India does not need to worry, we will ensure that the cup stays in the country!" 

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