Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018 Semifinals Roundup: Indian raiders brush off South Korea, Iran defence triumphs against Pakistan
Both India and Iran stretched their winning streaks at the Kabaddi Masters tournament in Dubai to five matches, as they won their semifinals against South Korea and Pakistan, respectively.
While both were rater tightly contested matches, India and Iran, who are considered to be two of the strongest teams in kabaddi, came through in the end, to set up a mouthwatering clash that would see a swift Indian raiding department face off against an ever-so-strong Iranian defence.
Young Iran outplay experienced Pakistan
Iran maintained their winning streak at the Kabaddi Masters tournament, stretching it to five matches, as they earned a 41-20 victory against the team from the subcontinent.
Iran's Mohammad Nabibakhsh was the pick of the lot from the Iran side, as he notched up a total of six points to his name. Four of these were raid points (out of five attempted raids), while he also chipped in with two successful tackle points at a 100 per cent tackle success rate.
Muhammad Nadeem, who has been one of Pakistan's best raiders this tournament, had an off-day, as the Iranian defence seemed to have figured out how to stop him. All of his eight attempted raids were unsuccessful.
India overcome tough Korean challenge
After an initial hiccup, it was India who came off with a win against South Korea in the semifinal, defeating South Korea 36-20. With this win, they set up a finals date with Iran
It was Korea, who started off the match brightly, as they shot into the lead in the early exchanges. Central to their attack was Jang Kun Lee, who scored eight points.
However, the Indian raiders came to the rescue, bringing back the players who had been touched-out during the game, as well as earning the crucial points to finally level the scores at 7-7.
Once the World Champions got their rhythm back, they managed to surge into the lead and only went on to increase it from thereon. Coach Srinivas Reddy had started with star raider Pardeep Narwal, but the Patna Pirates man fell flat yet again, after promising performances, and was soon substituted by his former teammate Monu Goyat, who came up with the goods, notching up six points.
While Ajay Thakur was at his usual best, scoring 10 raid points and one tackle point, it was Girish Maruti Ernak, who was the star of the show, picking up as many as seven tackle points for the match. His presence on the left corner helped India negate the threat posed by the quick Korean attackers.