2016 Kabaddi World Cup :: Road to the semis: India still favourites despite opening day loss - Features

Road to the semis: India still favourites despite opening day loss

20 October 2016

India recovered well from their shock defeat to Republic of Korea in the first match of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. They have been clinical and have exhibited a ruthless streak in the remaining games to make sure their opponents never got even a sniff. The hosts have totalled the maximum points in the tournament along with topping the lists for both most successful raids and tackles.

Led by Anup Kumar, the home side has been brilliant as a unit with Ajay Thakur and Pardeep Narwal featuring in the top 10 raiders list with the likes of Manjeet Chhillar, Surjeet and Surender Nada excelling in defence. Let’s take a look at India’s performance so far in the tournament:

A rude Korean awakening

India got an unexpected jolt in the very first match of their campaign, going down narrowly in a tense encounter against Republic of Korea. Despite leading for most of the match, they seemed to be taken by surprise by the late Korean comeback. The 32-34 loss served as an awakening which proved to be bad news for the rest of the teams in their group.

Getting into their stride against the Aussies

India were smarting from that loss to Republic of Korea and Australia were wary of a backlash. It was exactly what was expected of a proud Indian side as they hit the ground running, logging their first win by a handsome 54-20 margin.

Getting past a potential banana skin in Bangladesh

Bangladesh are an experienced kabaddi side with players who had even featured in Star Sports Pro Kabaddi. They were a tricky side and India had to be on their guard against them and it turned out to be more than that. Bangladesh were swept aside by the Indian tidal wave as the hosts stamped their authority for an emphatic 57-20 victory.

No mercy for Argentina

Argentina were improving with fighting second half displays in previous matches and had to be on the money right from the word go to prevent the Indians from running away with the game. Instead, India were clinical and showed no mercy to the South Americans to run out 74-20 winners.

England flattened

England had learned quickly the importance of playing more as a unit but were well aware of the Indians’ strength. There was no messing around from India as they went about confirming their place in the last four with precision, flattening the English 69-18 in the process.

India seemed to be peaking as the tournament has progressed and the narrow opening-day loss only looks to have spurred them on. Thailand will be no pushovers and the Indians surely won’t be underestimating them in their semi-final meeting. The hosts have shown why they are the most feared side in the tournament and will look to be clinical against their opponents.