Asian Kabaddi Championships 2017: Pakistan stun Iran 28-24 in last-minute thriller to enter final against India
A critical error in the last minute by the Iranian defence cost them the match.
Pakistan stunned hosts Iran to enter the final of the Asian Kabaddi Championships 2017 in a thrilling encounter that went right down to the last raid of the match on Sunday. They won by a narrow 28-24 margin after displaying nerves of steel in the final minute as Iran failed to capitalize on an all-out opportunity.
Iran started the match on the backfoot as they fell behind 5-1 quickly and also conceded a quick all-out, which meant they chased the game throughout the match. They trailed by over 10 points in the first half and despite a raucous crowd cheering them on with their version of the Icelandic thunderclap, the Iranians were unable to wrest control of the match.
In the second half, they regrouped and slowly but surely, clawed their way back into the match. Captain Fazel Atrachali, supported by all-rounder Meraj Sheykh, was in full flow as he produced some trademark crunching tackles from the left corner.
With less than three minutes to go, Pakistan's lead was reduced to just three at 22-19 but thanks to two brilliant tackles by their defence helped them make it 24-19. However, the Iranians struck back through Meraj Sheykh, who took two points from a super tackle opportunity and reduced the gap to 25-23 and reduced the Pakistan side to one man.
With the all-out on the horizon and the last minute of the game remaining, all the Iran side needed to do was make sure they do not concede a touch point. However, a rash tackle allowed the lone Pakistani man to get two touch points and cross the midline safely, thus making it 27-23 with time for only two raids left.
The match ended 28-24 as the Pakistan players celebrated wildly and the Iranians sunk on to the mat in disbelief. India and Pakistan will now face off in the final, which is expected to take place at 5 PM on Sunday.