Kabaddi World Cup 2016, India vs Thailand Semi Final Preview: Match Prediction, Time, Playing Squads & Live Match Telecast info
The recurring battle of David-vs-Goliath and Favourites-vs-Underdog will be on display at the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup when India take on Thailand in the second semi-final today in Ahmedabad. Home side and top title contenders India will face surprise package and confident exuding Thailand, who have personified energy during the course of the tournament. The game is largely billed to end in the favour of the home side but if the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup is anything to go by, nothing can be ascertained.
India will start this match as overwhelming favourites and will be expected to smash Thailand, thereby making it to the final. The 2016 Kabaddi World Cup did not start on the right note for the host nation and they were stunned by an energetic South Korea side in the opening match. However, it turned out to be the wake up call that brought India out of what seemed to be a sluggish slumber.
Following the loss to South Korea, India destroyed all opponents that came their way during the group stage to finish second in Pool A but with a huge score difference of +174. All doubts after the defeat were put to bed by a string of comprehensive performances and individuals putting their hands up to be counted. Anup Kumar, Ajay Thakur, Pardeep Narwal, Manjeet Chhillar and Surjeet have outshined other individuals in the Indian team during the group stage.
India are likely to stick to the same starting line-up as previous matches with Pardeep Narwal and Ajay Thakur forming the attack while Manjeet Chhillar and Surjeet guarding the defensive end of the mat. Having stars like Mohit Chhillar, Surender Nada and Rahul Chaudhari on the bench is going to be a huge plus for India and they can make alterations in case something does not go right.
Thailand, for their sheer energy and commitment, deserve a special award and, reaching the semi-final from a group that included Japan and Kenya is a big achievement for them. A mere look at the points scored by Thailand will tell you that they are a prolific side, be it in attack or defence, which likes to take the game to the opposition. In the games they have won, Thailand have produced high scores (65 vs Poland, 53 vs Kenya and 69 vs USA).
Considering their scores, it is not surprising that Khomsan Thongkham is the leading raider in the tournament while Tin Phonchoo has starred in defence. Though it would have been better for Thailand if they would have faced South Korea but India will not be taking them lightly, come what may. Thailand will be looking to continue their surge in the tournament and need to be relentless throughout the match.
India are likely to attack from the word go and Thailand would be looking to do the same, meaning we could see a really high scoring game tonight. There will be no sense in conservatism from either side and spectators are in for loads of entertainment.
The game, in the end, will boil down to how the big players in both teams perform on the day. Needless to say, the Indian team is full of superstars and the likes of Ajay Thakur, Anup Kumar, Pardeep Narwal, Sandeep Narwal and Manjeet Chhillar could be too much for Thailand to handle.
The domination and control is likely to come from India, and Thailand, if they are to win, would need to stay in the game by chipping away with the points. Also, in their attempt to take the game to India, Thailand should not risk conceding a lead out of their reach. The first half, in all likelihood, will decide the outcome of the match and if India end up leading by more than 10 points, there will be no coming back to Thailand.
Manjeet Chhillar, the “I will do it all myself” man, is likely to have his eyes on Khomsan Thongkham and keeping him off the mat for long periods of time will surely turn the match into India’s favour. From Thailand’s perspective, they should be looking to keep Anup Kumar off the mat to have a psychological advantage over India. If they can manage to keep Anup out of action for a significant amount of time, we might have a game on our hands.
Verdict: India to beat Thailand by a margin of 20+
Venue: The Arena by TransStadia, Ahmedabad
Time: 21:00 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
Thailand: Khomsan Thongkham (Captain), Aniwat Phakphian, Chanwit Wichian, Phodsawi Sawangyai, Pramot Saising, Santi Bunchoet, Sarawut Hopet, Warit Songsri, Kittichai Kanket, Peeradach Jantajam, Phuwanai Wannasaen, Sasithon Rungsawang, Khunakon Chanjaroen, Tin Phonchoo