2016 Kabaddi World Cup: South Korea defeat India 32-34 in a thrilling opening encounter
Host nation India succumbed to South Korea in the opening encounter of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. It was a shocking and surprising result on the part of the defending champions who are have been tipped as favourites to win the tournament. The star of the match, Jang-Kun Lee lit up the mat with stunning raids very late in the match to ensure that Korea came in from behind to seal the victory.
Both the teams entered the global tournament looking for a win in the first fixture, which would boost their confidence going forward. But, it was India who managed to secure the lead going into the half-time.
Unlike expectations, India did not get off to a sparkling start with Anup falling prey to the Korean defence in the very first raid but it was Cheralathan who made amends with his tackle to ensure that the captain did not remain off-court.
A close battle ensued until about 5 minutes, with Rahul succumbing to a Tae Doek Eom tackle in the 6th minute and Anup Kumar notching up a Super Raid up his sleeve. Until then, the two teams were neck-to-neck but it was Manjeet Chhillar and Surjeet who came to the fore with their strong tackles and Rahul’s raid which ensured an All Out for the Korean team in the 11th minute for the score line to rest 12-9 in favour of India.
Rahul Chaudhari carried his form from the Pro Kabaddi League into the World Cup in partial terms when he scored a couple of raid points but the South Korean team continued to show their mettle with effective tackles to avoid a second all-out. Pardeep Narwal was brought on by India in the dying minutes, wherein he converted a Do-or-Die raid with the first half concluding, and India managing a 5 point lead.
HALF TIME: India 18-13 South Korea
Anup seemed comfortable with the marginal lead, as India put forth an aggressive approach in the second half to steadily edge past the Korean team, but it was the latter which came back to stun the Indian side.
Early on, Korea narrowed the lead to 3 points with Rahul stepping into the lobby. Manjeet Chhilar announced himself on the mat, with successive tackles at a time when the team was reduced to three men in the 25th minute. The famed all-rounder Deepak Hooda was sent in with Surjeet being substituted in the 31st minute, and immediately proved his worth with a back hold on Jang Kun Lee and a bonus point while raiding to take the score to 25-21.
But come the 36th minute, India stared at a possible all-out when Korea managed to put in two successive raids and India being reduced to one man in Ajay Thakur at first, and Anup Kumar when the all-out was actually inflicted, the scoreline 28-25 still in favour of the hosts.
A match of twists and turns, the real drama unfolded with just under a minute to go when Jang Kun Lee sneaked in a super raid to make it even stevens at 30-30. Subsequently, despite Anup managing a successful raid, Kun Lee managed a reverse with two other points to put the final score line 32-34 in favour of his team.
FULL TIME: India 32-34 South Korea
While the Koreans will be ecstatic with their win over the defending champions, the Indian team will surely go back to the drawing board to figure out what went wrong. Was it the starting line-up, a lack of defensive stronghold, or a poor choice when it came to raiders?
They will definitely attempt to rectify the mistake, for in less than 24 hours they take on Australia in their next encounter, wherein on the other hand Korea will rest atop the table in Pool A and savour this opening victory.