Kabaddi World Cup 2016, India vs Iran Final Preview: Match Prediction, Time, Playing Squads & Live Match Telecast info
After a fortnight of non-stop action, the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup will come to an end today with one of Iran or India walking away as champions in Ahmedabad. Sentimental favourites and hosts India will take on Iran in match that is going to be tactically engaging, full of sub-plots and kabaddi brilliance from both sides. Both teams have lost one game apiece in the tournament and would be looking to avoid a second loss.
India reached the final yesterday by thumping Thailand 73-20 in a pretty one-sided semi-final, which seemed more of a statement of intent. Iran, on the other hand, came from behind to overtake a well-disciplined and top class South Korean team by beating them 28-22 in a closely fought contest. These contrasting battles in semi-finals will have certainly helped India and Iran in different ways.
India looking to exert their dominance
After their loss to South Korea in the first match, India have literally destroyed every opponent that came their way, eventually making it to the final as expected. Their performances against Bangladesh and Thailand were quite impressive in particular. While the first one came under tremendous pressure, the latter was a warning signal to Iran, their opponents in the final.
Though India have played well as a team, it would be unfair to not laud some incredible individual performances. Ajay Thakur, by far, has been India’s best player at the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup and has shown why he is regarded as one of the best raiders the country has ever produced. Tactically smart, aware of his strengths and focused, Thakur has taken the game to opposing teams and made them look pretty ordinary.
While Ajay Thakur has been exceptional, Pardeep Narwal, Surjeet and Manjeet Chhillar are not far behind. It would be safe to say that Pardeep Narwal has done in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup what everyone expected Rahul Chaudhari to do. Showing why he is one of India’s most talented youngsters in sport, Pardeep has raised his game to the next level on the biggest stage.
In defence, the partnership of Surjeet and Chillar have affected 41 successful tackles between them. Though the scores might suggest India has a great attack, it is the defence that has actually laid the impetus for all wins.
Can Iran cause an upset?
Iran, from the beginning of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup, have produced a near perfect performance in all games save their loss against Poland that was both bizarre and unbelievable. An aggressive side with incredible brute force, Iran have played to their strengths, which is defence, and will be looking to provide a finishing touch by winning the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup.
Meraj Sheykh, their talismanic captain, has been superb with his leadership skills and has produced points in crunch moments. However, Iran is all about how well they defend and the presence of a certain Fazel Atrachali, who has the strength of a bull and the solidity of a wall, is going to play a huge role in the final tonight and is likely to have his eye on both Ajay Thakur and Pardeep Narwal.
In the raiding department, Iran would be relying a lot on captain Meraj and Abolfazl Maghsodlou, both of whom have different strengths and make for a variety combination. Neutralising India’s attacking strength is going to be a huge factor in today’s match, which is going to be a battle between India’s attack and Iran’s defence.
Neither India nor Iran have faced such strong opponents in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup yet and that will certainly be a key factor. India, after learning a lesson against South Korea, are not going to hold back and will take the game to Iran from the word go. Though the Iranian defence is strong, Anup Kumar and his men are not likely to hold back, especially in a final.
Iran, apart from having incredible strength and power in their side, have a great think tank that helps them play out games in a shrewd manner, wherein they remain in the match even if they are trailing in terms of points. We are likely to see Anup Kumar raid a lot more than he has in the past few matches as picking up the bonuses and keeping Ajay Thakur and Pardeep on the mat will be crucial.
The Indian defence will also need to be wary of the speed possessed by Iran’s attack, comprising the likes of Sheykh, Maghsodlou and Mohammadesmaeil Maghsoudloumahalli. Having Surender Nada back in the starting line-up is certainly going be a huge benefit and he will play a huge role with his ankle holds. India will be wary of the Fazel Atrachali and Abozer Mighani duo, which will be lurking continously to take out raider.
We are set for an incredibly tactical battle that is likely to come down to which team manages to hold its nerve better. India will certainly have the advantage due to depth in squad and if they can manage to keep Sheykh and Atrachali quiet tonight, the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup is going nowhere. On the other hand, Iran will be looking to spoil the party for India by causing a huge upset, which is something they are quite capable of doing.
Match prediction: India to beat Iran by a margin of 5-8 points
Venue: The Arena by TransStadia, Ahmedabad
Time: 19:45 IST
Live Telecast: Star Sports 2, Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD2, Star Sports HD3, Hotstar
India: Anup Kumar (Captain), Rahul Chaudhari, Manjeet Chhillar, Jasvir Singh, Deepak Niwas Hooda, Pardeep Narwal, Mohit Chhillar, Surender Nada, Surjeet, Ajay Thakur, Dharmaraj Cheralathan, Kiran Parmar, Nitin Tomar, Sandeep Narwal
Iran: Meraj Sheykh (Captain), Abolfazl Maghsoudlou Mahalli, Gholamabbas Korouki, Mohammadesmaeil Maghsoudloumahalli, Mohammadtaghi Paeinmahali, Mohsen Maghsoudloujafari, Abozar Mohajer Mighani, Fazel Atrachali, Hadi Tajik, Milad Sheibak, Soleiman Pahlevani, Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh, Farhad Rahimi Milaghardan, Saeid Ghaffari