India, Iran top groups at Kabaddi Masters
By Tapan Mohanta
Dubai, Jun 26 (PTI) Asian heavyweights India and Iran lived up to the expectations by topping their respective groups in the Kabaddi Masters Dubai here today.
Displaying aggressive tackle and a resolute defence that saw them register two allouts, world champions India routed African giants Kenya 50-15 to finish their group A campaign with four wins from as many matches.
In the first match of the evening at the Al Wasl Sports Complex, Argentina were once again no match to Iran but the football-obsessed nation ensured that they put up their best show and go down 57-27 to the World Cup runners-up.
For India, Pradeep Narwal made a fine comeback top-scoring with nine with his incisive raids, while substitutes Rahul Chaudhari (8) and Deepak Hooda (5) made equal impact.
In defence, Surender Nada held his ground with four tackle points as India led 29-5 at half time.
Obiero Victor was Kenya's most impressive player with eight raid points and also executed a super raid that gave them a chance of enforcing an all out.
But time finally ran out and India thwarted Kenya's challenge of enforcing an all out.
Earlier India coach Srinivas Reddy made a few changes to test his bench strength ahead of the semifinal on June 29.
He gave a much deserved rest to Deepak Hooda and Rohit Kumar, giving a chance to Pardeep Narwal while Surender Nada also returned at left corner.
Narwal began with a bonus point raid as India raced to a three-point lead before a solid ankle hold from Surender Nada halted the big man David Mosambayi.
Kenya were represented by identical twins Esau Otieno Elphas Otieno.
Saeid Ghaffari and Kazem Naseri scored seven points each in Iran's dominating show, while Argentina, who started poorly, got into the groove with Manuel Pasqual's six raid points but those were not enough.
Having scored 24 (Iran), 16 (Korea) in their previous two losses, it was their best score of the six-nation meet, even as they suffered an elimination.
The meet is being organised by the International Kabaddi Federation in partnership with Star India Pvt Ltd and Dubai Sports Council